THE LEMONADE ERA
Written by Miss Hani on May 31, 2021
Now anybody who knows me knows am a big goofball for Beyonce. My love for queen B surpasses a lot of things. She has managed to become one of the most iconic artists of the 21st century and still looks hella fine while doing it! From making Friday the official music release day to becoming the most nominated woman in Grammy history Beyonce has changed the game forever.
In 2016 the queen dropped her very long-awaited sixth studio album dubbed LEMONADE. It was released on April 23, 2016, by Parkwood Entertainment and Columbia Records, accompanied by a sixty-five-minute film of the same title on HBO. It is Beyoncé’s second visual album. Lemonade was first made available on the online streaming platform TIDAL on April 23, 2016, and for digital download the following day. It was released for CD and DVD on May 6, 2016. A limited-edition box set titled How to Make Lemonade was made available for pre-order on August 18, 2017, containing a six-hundred-page coffee table book, featuring a set of pictures and behind the scene content showcasing the making of the album, and a double vinyl LP of Lemonade
But what is most intriguing about Lemonade you may ask? Well, I’ll tell you! The album was created with so much diversity from videos to the collabs but the most diversity is found in its genres. Primarily an R&B and art-pop album, Lemonade comprises a variety of genres including reggae, blues, rock, hip-hop, soul, Americana, funk, country, gospel, electronic, and trap. It also showcases a variety of artists in its features such as Jack Black, Jack White, Kendrick Lamar, and the Weekend. Beyonce also featured samples and interpolations of a number of hip-hop and rock samples.
Lemonade is a concept album with a song cycle that relates to Beyoncé’s emotional journey after her husband’s infidelity in a general and racial context through its music, lyrics, visuals, and poetry, that is performed as an elaboration of the Kubler-Ross model, with the tracks corresponding to the eleven chapters of the Lemonade film: Intuition, Denial, Anger, Apathy, Emptiness, Accountability, Reformation, Forgiveness, Resurrection, Hope, and Redemption. Lemonade has three concepts and themes which include
Infidelity and trauma in black relationships where she addresses the trauma she went through and the historical impact of slavery on black love and what it has done to black families and black men and women. The theme is seen throughout Lemonade with Bey’s grief, trauma, and struggle being associated with that of her families’ ancestors. The fifth track Daddy’s lessons act as a turning point for the album with her linking Jay-z’s infidelity to that of her fathers to her mother.
Black feminism the film envisions a space where there was never oppression of women of color, whereby Beyoncé and other women of color form a self-sufficient community in which they can heal together. Here we see the queen gathering and leading women of color throughout the film as well as relating her relationship story with her husband. To create Lemonade, Beyoncé drew from the work of a wide variety of women of color who are often overlooked or forgotten. The music draws inspiration from Black female blues musicians such as Shug Avery, Bessie Smith, and sister Rosetta Tharpe, who also used their trauma to empower women of color, as well as samples songs originally recorded by women of color, namely Memphis Minnie and Dionne Warwick, but whose most famous recordings are by male or white artists. Lemonade also describes the relationship between women of color and American society. Don’t hurt yourself contains a section of the who taught to hate yourself speech by Malcolm X. The women of color public figures Beyonce features all have successful careers despite experiencing misogyny and racism in the media. Miriam Bale for billboard called Lemonade “a revolutionary work of Black feminism” as “a movie made by a woman of color, starring women of color, and for women of color.
African American history and culture Beyoncé uses Lemonade as a form of recognition commemoration and celebration of the culture and history of in the deep south and in America as a whole. In love drought, Beyonce walks her dancers into the sea alluding to the Igbo landing of 1803 ere the slaves took control of the ship and opted to drown themselves sing and dancing tan submit to slavery.
The album contained 12 songs of which five were singles namely FREEDOM (one of my favorites) ALL NIGHT, HOLD UP, SORRY, and FORMATION which was top ten on the USA Billboard charts and still should be if you ask me! Lemonade was nominated for 9 Grammys including album of the year, the record of the year, and song of the year but won best urban contemporary album and best music video and lost to Adele’s 25. This was the year Adele broke her Grammy in half and offered it to Bey. The visuals too received 11 nominations and won 8 at the MTV video awards, breaking long-form video, video of the year, and the cherry on top the album won a PEABODY AWARD in entertainment.
Beyonce released Formation of free on Tidal and its accompanying music video on her official YouTube channel. The next day she performed the song at the super bowl halftime show alongside Bruno Mars and cold play and immediately after a commercial aired announcing the Formation world tour which kicked off in Miami Florida. But her performance wasn’t received all well by some people, she received a lot of criticism for her formation and the black panther influenced costumes she and her dancers wore during the performance. As a result, the #Boycottbeyonce and #istandwithbeyonce began trending on social media platforms. A group of protesters planned a rally dubbed Anti-Beyoncé rally outside the NFL HQ in New York but to no avail, instead, Beyonce fans and supporters held a rally for her. This all took place on the day the general ticket went on sale for the formation tour.https://www.instagram.com/p/COLFqoHD8-e/?utm_source=ig_web_copy_link
When asked what she wanted to accomplish with the next phase of her career in an interview with Elle, Beyoncé said: “I hope I can create art that helps people heal. Art that makes people feel proud of their struggle. Everyone experiences pain, but sometimes you need to be uncomfortable to transform.” Honestly guys I stan a queen and this era was an era of enlightenment in music, cultural politics, and day-to-day struggles, but above all enlightenment for WOMEN OF COLOR all around the globe.