I failed to mention that my lemonade post would be in two parts; one for the audio album and the other for the visual. Well now you know, so suck it up lol! So while the audio album dropped with 12 songs on Jay-z’s music streaming service; Tidal, the visual album or should I say movie for the album premiered on HBO, it was an hour long special.
Without the visual I had some appreciation for the album, but after the visual? Boy did I know my life was complete. The movie has 11 chapters, showcasing the best and worst of the queen herself with various intermissions of spoken word by Beyonce written by Somali-British writer Warsan Shire. The movie gives a whole new perspective to interpreting the music and seeing into the minds of the geniuses behind this visual masterpiece. Honestly I didn’t know what to expect but 10 minutes in, it was hard to believe that this was the same woman dancing around her apartment in the 7/11 music video. It’s like a whole new vengeful Beyonce emerged the moment it began.
This is the very first of 11 chapters, it starts with the song pray you catch me. Showing scenes of what looks like a plantation, an abandoned landmark and Beyonce on her knees singing the soulful in what looks like a theatre (or at least the stage). Right in the middle of the song, Beyonce starts to speak. She speaks on how her female intuition makes her have a hunch, coupled with sneaky behaviour by her husband that she was being cheated on. For the setting I completely have to agree with her when she says “the past and the present merge to meet us here”. It’s a mix of modern settings and women convicted and united not just sitting in a plantation but owning it.
This chapter begins and we are greeted by a scene with Beyonce in what seems to be an ocean. From there we transition to a room filled with water. While this is going on Beyonce recants the events that take place while she refuses to believe that she was being cheated on. It was surreal because the raw emotion in the words and the visual made me feel like I was reliving moments I had never experienced. Her ability to convey such a deeply agonizing message in such a short span of time is profoundly unbelievable. What I think is peculiar about the next scene (which is the video for HOLD UP), Beyonce channels the Yoruba water goddess OSUN. Osun has been said to have an unpredictable temper and Beyonce clearly shows this “temper” when she goes around with a baseball bat busting windows, smashing everything and leaving destruction in her wake.
This chapter is kind of my favourite chapter of them all. So it begins after HOLD UP while Beyonce speaks “is this what you truly want? I can wear her skin over mine, her hair over mine, her hands as gloves, her teeth as confetti, her scalp a cap, her sternum my bedazzled cane” from this point the visuals began to give off a very dark aura. She speaks on after suggestive words, she talks about abuse and she asks “why can’t you see me? Everyone else can”. The song DONT HURT YOURSLEF begins to play and we are welcomed by a very cocky Beyonce who sings the first verse with a fiery persona. The song cuts to a speech by Malcolm X telling a story about the trials of black womanhood. Bey compares herself to a dragon breathing fire, a befitting comparison to the attitude around this chapter. She ends the song throwing her ring at the camera.
Beginning with the words “so what are you gonna say at my funeral now that you’ve killed me?” this chapter holds a certain element that captured my attention. The song playing in the background sounded like one of those songs you would hear from a music box in a horror movie and I loved it! Following the intense spoken word, the song SORRY starts playing with a cameo from the ever flawless, Serena Williams. Very much like the message from the song, Beyonce is surrounded by beautiful women who are having fun and not thinking about their problems, a clear depiction of the joy in true friendship. When the song becomes more subtle her body movements become very robotic and that was quite interesting.
Gosh!!! Another very intense scene. This part was quite intriguing because it takes the darkness of the anger chapter and amplifies it. What she talks about before 6 INCH IS how men and women involved would say things that they don’t really mean when they were together. We are taken to a dark red hallway with a light at the end and taps into the darkness of the moon and what happens under its protection to heighten the moment. 6 INCH reminds me of partition but here’s the twist it’s her long lost evil twin sister.
This features the song titled DADDY LESSONS. This chapter speaks on how little girls want to be like their mothers and there is a cameo from the youngest person nominated for an Oscar Miz Quvenzhané Wallis . B also talks about how women are so flexible and are changed, made to morph (so to say) to suit the wants of men in their life. The song begins and Beyonce is adorned with a beautiful dress which seems to be made from the ever popular Ankara material. It features visuals of various places and people in Texas and also a video of a young Beyonce and her father. From hood niggas, to church goers at a funeral service this video had a very country feel.
Beyonce lays down on a field where she had performed earlier this year (super bowl halftime).she speaks about how infidelity hinders people from experiencing true love. LOVE DROUGHT begins and Beyonce in line with other women are walking through the shallow waters of a beach dressed in white which I think symbolizes them purging themselves of all the anger and frustration and beginning the journey to forgiveness. Reformation marks the beginning of the second half of the album which talks about rebuilding a stronger relationship from the ruins of the past.
“If we’re gonna heal, let it be glorious”. This chapter shows that even after being cheated on, reconciliation is still very very possible. Nina Simone’s silk & soul plays in the background as Beyonce speaks on the wonders of childbirth. Beyonce bares it all for this song as she seats in front of a piano, plays the chords and sings SANDCASTLES. Husband Jay-Z makes an appearance in this video and we can see the remorse, affection and love between the two as they intimately touch each other.
Greeted by a mass of beautiful black women, this chapter begins with a voice over of a woman saying “I’ve never seen so many back women” and she asks “how are we supposed to lead our children to the future” can you guess the answer? We have appearances by Amandla Stenberg, Beyonce’s prodigies Chloe X Halle, twin sister Lisa-Kaindé Diaz and Naomi Diaz. FORWARD begins to play and a series of visuals begin. We have mother of Trayvon Martin, Sybrina Fulton; Eric Garner’s mother, Gwen Carr; and Michael Brown’s mother, Lezley McSpadden holding pictures of their murdered sons. They among others hold pictures of the ones they have lost to police brutality and other crimes against the black race.
This chapter has cameos of the above listed with the addition of actress and fashion icon Zendaya and model Winnie Harlow. Women are seated watching Beyonce sing the first verse of FREEDOM which has such a powerful meaning. The beauty of this all can be seen in the very many black women in this scene who have been criticized in one way or another about their blackness (including precious Blue Ivy Carter). They show that they are beautiful not in spite of their blackness, but in their blackness. They praise the black heritage by choosing to wear their hair in the natural kinky way which has been look down by not only the whit community but some of our very own. Before this chapter ends they stand all together in a united front.
Beyonce all but mentions that what she talks about in the start of this chapter refers to why the album is titled “LEMONADE”. Cut to a scene at Hattie White’s 90th birthday, Jay-z’s grandmother says “I had my ups and downs but I always find the inner strength to pull myself up. I was served lemons but I made lemonade”. Beyonce talks about healing and coming back united as ever when she says “then my torturer became my remedy”. ALL NIGHT begins marking the end of the album. A video of Bey and J getting their “IV” tattoos among videos of other couples who clearly in love backed by the lyrics of all night just conveys the main message that we are all meant to take home from this album. This chapter is my best because it tells us that there is always hope and there are no lost causes, no matter how dark it may be there is always a light at the end of the tunnel.
This visual album really did set a higher standard for pop-story telling in the highest scale possible. As I said earlier, the music had significant meaning on its own but the visual adds even more depth to the music. The album is so much more than Beyonce speaking out on her husbands’ infidelity. She uses her personal struggle to tell the story of many a black woman who has silently died on the inside because they saw their relationships burn to ash right before their eyes. From begging to be caught eavesdropping and reading text messages to proclaiming healing and redemption, no part of this visual lacked significant meaning. The decision to use spoken word to string the songs together and make them build up into one another was a stroke of pure genius and it is safe to say that we haven’t seen a purer form of self expression than lemonade. Beyonce keeps on outdoing herself in however way possible and that is true talent.
Thank you for reading, hope you enjoyed it. Don’t forget to like, comment, reblog, share and FOLLOW for amazing content. Till next time my beautiful bitches, stay slaying!!!