The Pain And The Power Of 'Lemonade'

A call and response with Melissa Harris-Perry

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What would happen if we took the hopes, dreams, pain, joy, loss, bodies, voices, stories, expressions, styles, families, histories, futures of black girls and women and put them in the center and started from there?

Lemonade happens.

Or rather, Lemonade is one outcome. Surely there are other possibilities that are utterly obscured because we rarely even try to place the black woman at the center of the puzzle.Lemonade disrupted our inner ear, throwing us off balance as we confronted the breadth of all we have missed, ignored, and submerged by pushing black womanhood, even our own, to the margins. As a black feminist scholar I have been thinking, teaching, and writing about the intersections of race and gender for two decades, but the sheer force of Lemonade's visual and sonic artistry is still unfamiliar terrain.

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The call-and-response tradition is so deeply embedded in black cultural practice, so to help understand the meaning of this moment I sent out a call of my own to writers and thinkers who center black women and girls in their work. They responded. I like to think of this as MHP's lemonade stand, getting in-formation about Bey's latest contribution.

It is no secret that I am a platinum member of the Beyhive. Recently and publicly I said, "to hell with any job where I can't talk about Beyoncé!" So, let's assume I am not a neutral arbiter of the relevance of Lemonade. But this is not just another music video. It is not just another Beyoncé video. Something different happened here, didn't it?

It is the most vulnerable, raw, and artistic album that she has ever made, and with the passing of Prince just days before its release, it makes me feel that true artistry, musicianship, and risk-taking didn't die with him.

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—Danielle Moodie-Mills is CEO of Politini Media

I think, finally, we are seeing the real Beyoncé. It wasn't that she was not real before, but she is consciously lifting up a carefully constructed image that has obscured her true feelings and hurts. Many artists have their life issues thrashed out in the press, but I believe this visual album is a true look into an introspective woman who has decided to deal with a very deep hurt in a creative, but direct way. Her love of black women, her family, and her people show throughout Lemonade, and she is a person who thinks deeply about the past and the connections to the present day problems we face. I have always been a fan, but I have a newfound respect for her creativity since "Formation" and Lemonade. 

—Anthea Butler is Associate Professor of Religion & Africana Studies UPenn

I missed Lemonade's premier—not so much defiantly as indifferently. And then around 8:15 on Saturday night, the universe (i.e., black Twitter) told me to get my life. Roughly four hours after that, my girlfriend ensured that I would when she text me to say Lemonade made her cry. In the four years I'd known her, I had not seen her cry once.

—Mankaprr Conteh is a junior at Wake Forest University

I think it's some of Beyoncé's best work—it's honest and open, and much of it is beautiful (especially the piano ballad "Sand Castles." But if I have to pick a favorite, it would be a tie between "Hold up" and "Don't Hurt Yourself," the song with Jack White. I have to admit I'm a fan of Angry Beyoncé, liberating herself and giving people hell. I also love that she weaved reggae and funk/rock riffs into those songs, and tried other innovative things on the album, including a really good country song in "Daddy Lessons." 

—Joy Ann Reid is MSNBC national correspondent and author

I'm glad she continued to tell her story from her own point of view. She created a whole album talking about what SHE wanted to talk about. Love, infidelity, intuition, anger, rage, redemption, black women's lives and losses. And none of this looks like a get the Coin 101. She looks like an artist willing to lose some fans to say what is really on her mind. It looks like an artist having her say and making it plain. Folks always want to say that Beyoncé isn't smart, but this is smart. She's given us weeks worth of material to think about. And as the co-chair of the academic wing of the Beyhive, I'm thankful. This is boss stuff right here.

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—Blair LM Kelley is Associate Professor of History at N.C. State University

For years I used Beyoncé as a talisman to compensate for my fears. When I felt inadequate I summoned my inner-Beyoncé and channeled her fierceness. She told me I could survive, run the world—slay. I know the social and emotional violence that result from idealizing, black women as irrepressibly strong and uniquely independent, while expecting them to suppress their own needs to care for others. I did not do it consciously, but I wanted to set her aside and believe at least one black woman was not handed lemons, but lemonade, already chilled and sweetened. This video project forced me to halt the charade and to reckon with the brokenness of Beyoncé. Is it possible Lemonade represents a more durable inheritance of strength?

There is a definite and, at times, aggressive melancholy born of broken marital and social contracts. Lemons. There is also a righteous certainty about her value and, by extension, the intrinsic value of Black women and all of our myriad experiences, from apathy to freedom. Lemonade. "Spun gold out of this hard life."

—Alondra Nelson is professor of sociology and gender studies at Columbia University

"You can taste the dishonesty/It's all over your breath" That lyric gave shivers! What was so brilliant in that line is that we have all at one time or another been that desperately in love and betrayed. 

—Danielle Moodie-Mills is CEO of Politini Media

But this don't even have to be about Bey & Jay. She did this for all of us. The album and the visual art alongside it became a representation of the betrayal, anger, and despair that Black women (at least me personally) feel from the world and feel from Black men collectively and individually. But she didn't leave us in that hollowed out space. By the time she gets on that stage in the yard and started belting out FREEDOM before the mothers of slain sons I thought. "Anybody else just wanna run in these streets and break everyone's chains?" When it was all over I sat on my couch and "...only church folk will understand this. You know that high you feel after the spirit moved? That's me right now, just rockin" on my couch.

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—L. Joy Williams is President of Brooklyn NAACP

The mix of lyrical and plaintive, and a fierce and urgent claim of her terrain. It felt like an occupation. The unequivocal occupation of herself in her life's tapestry. She is composing, situating, making art, being messy, exercising a fierce craftiness, and making it—like gumbo? like jazz? The improvisational impulse of her own artistry.

—Karla Holloway is professor of English and Law at Duke University

It was a staggering statement of the fragile-resilience of the black feminine self. I say "fragile resilience" because Lemonade is defined by these performative shows of strength amidst demonstrations of how difficult it can be to hold on to your mental wellness when not only a society steeped in racism and sexism lives on your back, but also the betrayal of the love of your life. I kept feeling like—amidst the political, the southern black iconography, the fires, and the proudly "crazy" imagery—I was hearing Al Green's "How Can You Mend A Broken Heart" on a loop in the background.

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—Dave Zirin, is sports editor for The Nation

Lemonade was marked of striking visual image layered in unexpected ways often vastly discordant with the music. I barely know where to begin, but I am interested in your initial reactions. What did you see that you couldn't shake hours later? For me, it was the jump. I never caught my breath after watching Beyoncé hurl herself from that ledge and having to take that long plunge with her. It was a terrifying answer to a question I have asked myself with frightening regularity in recent months. What if I just gave into the darkness I feel by going over the balcony? To suddenly take that journey rendered me numb. To realize I am not alone in having imagined the fall is what finally let me feel again. What are the visual moments that most affected you?

The red room scene that happens between "Sorry" and "6 Inch," where she's reciting a poem on loss, and the red halls and the portal of light are a vagina. The first moment that room appears on screen, the dots in the far-off look clitoral, and then as the shot pans down the hallway, with poetic references to "blaming the moon for causing the flush of blood," I realize that I'm being led through a Black woman's vagina, perhaps a menstruating one. I'm not sure what to say about this. But the visual is historically significant, because Black women's vaginas have never been represented on their own terms. 

—Brittney Cooper is assistant professor of women's and gender studies and Rutgers

What really stuck out to me was Beyoncé riding a horse. That might seem random to most, but if you're Houston, you are not a stranger to the sight of people—yes, Black people, too—riding horses down the street or on a sidewalk. Like many things she does, it reminded me of home. I love how committed she is to showing her Texas and Louisiana roots. We share a background in that respect and it always make me happy to see the biggest star in the world be so damn country. Said with love.

—MichaelArceneaux is a columnist at Complex

"What's worse / being jealous or crazy?" Beyoncé asks in the song "Hold Up," the second featured on Lemonade. "I'd rather be crazy," she decides, a fire suddenly blazing behind her as she walks, maniacally, crazily around town, thrashing car and store windows. The moment appears to be an homage to a scene in the 1995 film "Waiting to Exhale," when Angela Bassett's character lights her cheating husband's car on fire. Black women (Ahem MHP) know the scene well, it has become somewhat of a refrain for us when we intend to, or are, burning shit to the ground. Whether it's our cheating husbands, boyfriends, girlfriends, patriarchy, racism, classism, sexism, it's a visual manifestation of the black woman's power. It's us up front, the burning car torched behind, in the rearview. We are exercising our right to be angry, without any qualms. How do we look to men, especially white men? Nah, who cares?

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—Collier Meyerson is a reporter at Fusion

I was most struck by the images in several sections of the visual album of black women and girls, of all hues and dazzling hair textures and shades, in period clothing evoking antebellum Louisiana but infusing it with modern girl power. Those images were so visually rich, because they are so divorced from modernity, but the women themselves were thoroughly modern in their obvious strength and attitude. I also loved the way the gorgeous water sequences in the "Denial" section that erupts into a frenzy of jubilant, bat-wielding destruction in "Hold up." And of course the women with faces painted in a send-up to Yoruba culture adds to the notion of that inextricable link between Africa and the American slave narrative.

—Joy Ann Reid, MSNBC national correspondent and author

When a little dark-skinned girl looks at Beyoncé longingly in "Accountability" under a voice-over of Bey reciting the line "You look nothing like your mother," she acknowledges the colorism that haunts us. In jumping to her death, she confronts the reality of suicide among us. Over and over again, Lemonade reminded us of the intertwined, continuous, diasporic suffering of black folk. When I saw a woman in a southern-gothic dress made of West African Ankara fabric overlooking the newly renovated Superdome, my heart dropped. "The past and the future merge," Queen Bey had foreshadowed earlier. No one image better captured the heartbreaking truth of that line. The violence of colonialism in Africa, of the enslavement of West Africans, of the dehumanization of their ancestors in Katrina, and of our continued erasure through capitalism and gentrification—all depicted in mere seconds.

—Mankaprr Conteh is a junior at Wake Forest University

I keep coming back to the image of Beyoncé on the porch with Amandla, Zendaya, Ibeyi, and Chloe and Halle. The rich colors, the range of Black girl beauty, the signification on the porch, and the strength of that frame brought tears to my eyes. The first shot of Beyoncé in that golden yellow dress and water pouring out as she exits the building—Oshun. The scenes with multiple generations of Black women loving on one another conjured memories of the women/femme centered spaces in my own life. The Spanish moss interspersed throughout—I felt like I could smell each scene. The landscape shots provoked all of my senses. The face and body art struck me as well. The art on the bodies, not unlike the rest of the visual album felt deeply rooted in a plethora of African diasporic traditions and practices. This visual album offered an abundance of beauty, pain, vulnerability, love, rage, loneliness, kinship, sadness, and resiliency through complex, rich, and deeply intimate, but shared imagery of Black womanhood/girlhood/femme-ness. Also, Serena twerking and serving baddest chick in the game realness beside Bey as Baddie Bey re-imagines Ntozake Shange's "Sorry"—it don't get much better than that.

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—Treva B. Lindsey is Assistant Professor of Women's, Gender, & Sexuality Studies at The Ohio State University

Ok, We have to pause for a moment because Treva brought it up. The Serena Williams sequence gave me life. Initially I was thinking of it as a fabulous, relevant, reinterpretation of the Michael Jackson, "Remember the Time" moment with Iman, but somehow it is far more than that. What did you read in it?

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Of course I love Serena twerking, and then I love the moment that Bey lets Serena occupy the throne. In the Black Girl Magic Kingdom, thrones are for sharing.

—Brittney Cooper,

As for Serena, she is her generation's avatar of not only surviving but thriving in hostile environs. Tennis—particularly women's tennis—is an even more acute version of white beauty norms, power, and marginalization of all who don't conform. Serena is the one who kept it 100 and emerged triumphant. Tempting to write that she is the Beyoncé of tennis or maybe Beyoncé is the Serena of music, but I think in the context of Lemonade, Serena is an aspirational figure for Beyoncé because she is not feeling triumphant. She's trying to get to that place where Serena already resides but saying that she still has rivers to cross, and her love can join her on that journey or he can get to steppin'.

—Dave Zirin is sports editor for The Nation

Now, let's take a moment and think about how very Southern Lemonade is. As the director of the Anna Julia Cooper Center, I appreciate that this black woman's voice is also a voice from the south, just as Cooper's turn of the century book was titled Voice from the South. It is worth noting that Beyoncé's black womanhood is not representative of all black aspects of womanhood; she is situated in a particular history, a history that resonates with power legacies of both oppression and resistance. Think of Bree Newsome scaling that flagpole in South Carolina to bring down the Confederate Flag on a cloudless blue sky day last summer. It was genuinely beautiful to see that flag in her hands. Then think of the nine people whose massacre precipitated that beauty. The South is both of these realities. What did you think of how Lemonade represented the South?

The South, a main character in Beyoncé's Lemonade, signals a beginning to the album's meta-narrative: the history of black women in America. A long and menacing chain hangs alongside a shed, eerily knocking against wood. It's the first reminder to black women that we are of this place—the sticky, sordid South that has left an indelible mark on us and we on it. Our collective body and memory stands in its tall grass, on its creaky stairs, outside of its slave sheds. Moments after we are introduced to its landscape, three black women appear in fine dresses from the antebellum period. The second woman sits on the wooden stair attached to a tiny shed, taking up space, a striking image of a black queen during slavery, or is it after? Over the image, Beyoncé says "in the tradition of men in my blood you come home at 3 a.m. and lie to me / What are you hiding? / The past and the future merge to meet us here." What we're seeing and what we're hearing aren't incongruous, but a foreshadow of the next 54 minutes: White men have erased us from their history books, from the families we were forcibly made a part of, from their riches. So, Beyoncé has done unto them what they have done unto us for centuries—in Beyoncé's South there are no white men. But the physical erasure of white men in Lemonade does not take away the pain, suffering, and victimization they have inflicted upon us. The South represents black women in all our complicatedness—we are as much impacted by the chains as we are lifted up remembering ourselves as queens.

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—Collier Meyerson is a reporter at Fusion

I love Beyoncé's South. Her south is hot sauce, postbellum swag, and grandmothers who remind you that you gone be alright. That Spanish moss hanging from trees is all things New Orleans, Savannah, and Charleston. … History and the original practice of anti-Black state violence happened on these shores. It was in these spaces that Black women's lives, bodies, pleasures, and prerogatives became tethered to the project of white supremacy. So it is incredibly important to go back to these places to wrestle with and wrest from them notions of freedom that matter. 

—Brittney Cooper is assistant professor of women's and gender studies at Rutgers

Beyoncé is centering the South and also connecting this to the Black global South. She is unapologetic in her Blackness, her woman-ness, and her Southerness. Lemonade is an archive of Black womanhood/girlhood honed in the South. The South emerges as the past, present, and future of Black womanhood. The visual album rejects the holding of the South as solely a place trapped in history. The project asserts a complex, variegated, and infinitely generative space of Black kinship, creativity, resistance, and freedom dreams. This is incredibly valuable intervention, as it contributes to a tradition of southern Black women writers, artists, performers, and mothers/aunties/grandmothers/godmothers sustaining families and our communities through their creative genius and unbound imagination.

—Treva B. Lindsey is Assistant Professor of Women's, Gender, & Sexuality Studies at The Ohio State University

What I love and will continue to love about Beyoncé is that she has always pulled from her southern Black culture. Even when others weren't aware of what she was pulling from music (New Orleans bounce, screw, and certain kinds of flow) or just choreography or even aesthetic (B'Day era), she's very much a southern Black girl and keeps all of those mores and customs out front. I find it valuable in that there's no one on her level who has managed to include so much of that culture in their work and have this kind of global appeal.

—Michael Arceneaux is a columnist at Complex

Beyoncé is giving a very different South that is usually portrayed in music videos. It follows a theme all the way back to "Deja Vu." The juxtaposition between a Southern Louisiana Landscape (her mother is from New Iberia, LA) and the gulf coast, with scenes from New Orleans (and also Houston, with the country song and horses), is a much more complicated "Southscape" than what we are used to seeing. The flipping between time (late nineteent early twentieth-century dress and the present day) speaks to the generational issues with "men" in her family and many other black women who have had to deal with the same issues of infidelity, etc. I also loved that she did a country song, about learning to "shoot" from her father. [This] is an important element of southern life, not only for hunting, but for protection from white mobs and others who would try to come and take away black-owned land. 

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—Dr. Anthea Butler is Associate Professor of Religion and Africana Studies UPenn, Philadelphia

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She locates herself in a southern terrain from a space of unlimited geography. It's a claim and a specifying which some would want to separate her from, but she makes evident this is her ancestral space. And that "looking south" matters.

—Karla Holloway is professor of English and Law at Duke University

It looks like she went home to the South to be born again as who she really is and not the facade that has been well sculpted through the decades. 

—Danielle Moodie-Mills is CEO of Politini Media

She shows us scenes of both everyday people living their lives in the South and images of famous black women from across the United States and the Caribbean sharing sisterhood and solidarity in the South. Black people have a complicated history in the South. It is our Ellis Island, where many of our ancestors entered the country through slave markets and later during the Great Migration fled to other parts of the country to escape violence and to seek better economic opportunities. But in recent years many of us moved back to the South where now more than half of the Black population lives. We have a history of pain there as well as rich roots and traditions that make us who we are. Beyoncé honors the South and in Lemonade she takes us back home and she invites us to embrace our roots there. 

—Sherri Williams, Communications Professor and Writer

Beyoncé uses supernatural elements and often portrays the actresses as damaged or delusional, while unveiling the issues of black women face in the American South. In the end, she reminds us that even though "the South" presents us with some terrible feelings, it is undeniably home. The visuals of plantations and unkempt scenes of urban areas paint a picture of the painful history that the South holds. However, it is the culture, and the dialect of the South that help the complex characters make sense of the world around them. Southern black sisterhood helps black women understand how to navigate the horrors of the South and bring into perspective the trauma and joy that it holds. 

—Camry Wilborn is a graduating senior at Wake Forest University

Then comes the most undeniably political sequence in Lemonade. What do you make of the inclusion of the mothers of slain young black men who are most identified with the Black Lives Matter movement? 

You can't deal with the Old South—especially with those obvious antebellum references—without addressing racialized violence. And agree or disagree, these boys and men, starting with Trayvon, and including Michael Brown and Eric Garner, have been linked in the minds of many black Americans with past victims of racialized violence like Emmett Till (whose family even attended many of the early marches in Florida for Trayvon's family). So given the progression of her Old South narrative, it made perfect sense. And it fits with Beyoncé's increasingly open embrace of black liberation imagery and messages.

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—Joy Ann Reid, MSNBC national correspondent and author

We know these women because of the unbearable pain they continue to endure. Their inclusion is both a way of bearing witness and of loving out loud the women whose pain bring them into a kinship based in state violence. But they press on and we must press on because their pain is a call to love, a call to fight, a call to never forget, and a call to imagine a world in which Trayvon, Eric, and Mike could survive, live, and thrive.

—Treva B. Lindsey is Assistant Professor of Women's, Gender, & Sexuality Studies at The Ohio State University

What I love is that Bey took the time to make public space for these Black mothers to grieve. And including them, particularly Sybrina Fulton, a full four years after Trayvon's death, reminds us that though some of us may have moved on, these Black mothers must live with this grief every day. 

—Brittney Cooper is assistant professor of women's and gender studies at Rutgers

Seeing Sybrina Fulton, Lesley Mcspadden, and Gwen Carr holding the pictures of their slain sons left me speechless. To see them in formation with other black women in the next scene talking about freedom brings light to an issue that we have discussed in my Black Lives Matter class—black women are not allowed to grieve. For black women, even grief is political. Seeing a single tear fall from Lesley Mcspaddens eyes reveals that the undealt grief is still there and we must acknowledge that. She is fighting, but she is fighting while hurting—a feeling that most black women can relate to.

—Camry Wilborn is a graduating senior at Wake Forest University

I appreciate their inclusion, though I wonder if she will reach out to the mothers of Renisha McBride and Sandra Bland for something in the future. I mean, I don't know the details. She may have already tried, but since Black women are often susceptible to police brutality, I'm curious to see when might Beyoncé take them on from a Black women's perspective in her art.

—Michael Arceneaux is a columnist at Complex

Those images were arresting and they stayed with me. We know the names Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, and Eric Garner. We've often seen their faces and heard their stories. But we don't see enough focus on the women who brought them into the world, the women they left behind, the women who continued to fight for justice for them—their mothers. The presence of Sybrina Fulton, Leslie McSpadden, and Gwen Carr holding photos of their dead sons forced viewers to acknowledge their loss and their pain. The mainstream media cycle is telling new stories, but in Lemonade Beyoncé uses her massive reach in the media space to remind us of their loss and the nation's ongoing problem of police brutality.

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—Sherri Williams, Communications Professor and Writer

As a mother of a slain child, I found this, how can I say it … Gratifying. She gave our grief a visible space. Too often grief wants to be buried alongside our children. But it survives, and she noticed it

—Karla Holloway is professor of English and Law at Duke University

I think many of us were surprised to discover how glorious and complicated and painful and awe-full the story of our worlds might be with black women at the center. Can you reflect a bit on what Lemonade might teach us about black womanhood?

I believe wholeheartedly that Beyoncé made this album for black women. For all of us that are expected to deal with our open wounds quietly while society keeps ripping them open again and again, by killing our sons, raping our daughters, making us invisible. Beyoncé with this album doesn't just say "I see you," she says "I am you." 

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—Danielle Moodie Mills, is CEO of Politini Media

I think it's important for us to realize when we're talking about Beyoncé, we're talking about dozens, maybe hundreds of people. We're talking about Melina Matsoukas. We're talking about Warsan Shire. We're talking about the songwriters and choreographers and designers and hair stylists and make-up artists and business people that have and continue to create her brand, many of whom are also magical black girls. I hope they get as much credit for their remarkable achievements as she does.

—Mankaprr Conteh is a junior at Wake Forest University

I love the multigenerational conversation that Bey constructs on this album. And that multigenerational conversation gets cinched for me in hearing Ms. Hattie at the end talk about "being served lemons and making lemonade." In the end, every Black girl I know is saved by what the Black women who came before her bequeath to her in the way of making a way out of no way. And it reminded me of one of my last conversations with my grandmother, as she almost with urgency, tried to tell me everything she wanted me to know about sex and pleasure and the value of constructing a full life. Seeing Ms. Hattie made me miss my grandmother, and made me so grateful for her at the same time. 

—Brittney Cooper is assistant professor of women's and gender studies and Rutgers

What I see in Lemonade is Beyoncé collapsing the notions of separate humanities for black womanhood. This visual album is Beyoncé telling us that she doesn't see a distinction between the sexual, political, spiritual, and artistic selves. In the scene where she is standing in front of a fire wearing some antebellum inspired lingerie, the image is asking us to consider not only Beyoncé as a product of black Southern traditions that tend to go ignored in the diasporic experience, but also that the women responsible for those traditions were not unlike Beyoncé. We have assigned political meaning to their experiences of slavery and its aftermath, but rarely do we consider what pleasure—particularly sexual pleasure—may have looked or felt like for them. We don't ask about their pain beyond what is politically useful for us. We attempt to shame black women in the present based on our projections of our limited imaginations onto our foremothers. Beyoncé is asking us to not separate her from that cultural lineage because she has embraced her sexual self (or her angry self, her hurt self, her forgiving self) but to challenge ourselves to rewrite our understanding of our ancestors. She moves through many different images of black womanhood and each asks us to do the work of not separating one from the other, as they are all not only legitimate expressions but a part of the same tapestry. Serena Williams twerking and Sybrina Fulton grieving do not exist on a spectrum, or as entities in competition with one another. For black women, they are one whole experience.

—Mychal Denzel Smith, author of Invisible Man, Got the Whole World Watching

Beyoncé's undeniable virtuosity—she is mining several genres and creating new ones, in addition to singing and writing all of the tracks and co-producing the album and its videos—ensures that this work transcends any banal "woman scorned" script. She is performing at her own pace, to her own beats, and on her own terms. But this is not happening in isolation. She is launched from and supported by the formations of Black women that are a recurring visual theme and embody the creation of "alternative communities that empower," to use feminist sociologist Patricia Hill Collins phrasing. This current of Black women's community-making that runs through the album makes the inclusion of the mothers of slain Black men moments of despair but also painful possibility.

—Alondra Nelson, professor of sociology and gender studies, Columbia University

Lemonade presents an arresting array and diverse tapestry, marked by complexity, regarding black womanhood that—in its variety—defies monolithic or stereotypical representation of black women. In essence, the range in representation operates even in Beyoncé's own persona, which varies throughout the visual album, in that she embodies a range of emotions and dynamics that humanizes rather than presents her as a type lacking dimension. As such, whether intentional or not, the personalized narrative (marked by disillusionment, anger, and reformation) has such depth that it resonates as a universal set of circumstances with which folks, regard of race, could identify. Yet, that does not deny the fact that Lemonade is clearly a tribute to and celebration of black girlhood and womanhood in all its beauty and despair, triumphs and tribulations, singularities and solidarities in sisterhood. Lemonade affords black women the dimension we deserve yet seldom get

—Trimiko Melancon is an award-winning author, professor, Beyoncé enthusiast. She lives in New Orleans

THIS ARTICLE WAS WRITTEN BY MELISSA HARRIS-PERRY AND ORIGINALLY APPEARED ON ELLE.COM

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