“The most disrespected woman in America is the black woman. The most unprotected person in America is the black woman. The most neglected person in America is the black woman,” Malcom X and his words instilled within the most angry song entitled “Don’t Hurt Yourself”. Black women and power – key words of note, and Ms Carter’s latest visual album to offer, Lemonade, which is cinematic and highly representative of Ms Carter’s life and her state of existence, or so we may think it is.
Critics have so far given their verdict to this cinematic piece, stating that Ms Carter is “more preoccupied with the state of her marriage than the state of the world.” However, any which way we judge, in the end, this is about womanhood, being black and fighting back for rights and respect. A necessary trend, if we are going to be honest, given the upcoming US nominations with Clinton, seen as a beacon to all feminists out there, whether or not her campaign is heading in this direction, but that’s for another story. Perfect timing either way, given the current climate, and if anything, Beyonce is elevating her status as a potential nominee for all black women out there with Lemonade.
So speaking about the “visual” album itself, there is an appearance of a younger generation of black women, taking their message to the people. Model Winnie Harlow (21 years old), known for proudly showing her vitiligo makes an appearance, as well as Beasts of No Nation Oscar-winner, 12-year-old Quvenzhané Wallis, just to name a few. What is particularly striking within Lemonade, is the “spoken word,” the modern version of what we consider poetry, written by 27-year-old British-Somali poet, Warsan Shire, which is featured at various interludes of the album. The words are adapted from perhaps Shire’s most well-known work, “For Girls Who Are Difficult to Love”: “You are terrifying / And strange and beautiful / Something not everyone knows how to love”.
Beyoncé Knowles Carter has definitely set a new standard for storytelling at a political level. Beyoncé’s feminism is developing, and so is her political voice. Lemonade is a testament to Beyoncé’s command over the public imagination and an ambition that exceeds normal expectations. Who wouldn’t like it?