Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Beyoncé Lemonade

 Beyoncé wowed the world by dropping of her album Lemonade, but her one hour long video to the album delivers a powerful message. It is clear Beyoncé cares about feminism, even from her previous albums such as "I am Sasha Fierce". Her song "If I were a Boy" talks about the inequality among genders. In the video album of Lemonade, Beyoncé makes a statement about the injustice black females feel. They are shamed for showing their bodies, called names, and in some societies are expected to act submissive to their husbands. Beyoncé captures this notion in her film, and there is an image of her jumping off a building. For a moment I thought it symbolized her killing herself because  she talks about her body image and criticizes herself for it. However, she ends up falling into water. From this point on in the film, Beyoncé embraces her body, and the beauty of herself. There is a specific scene in the film when she is wearing revealing clothing and walking down a street. She picks up a baseball bat and starts smashing cars, and fire hydrants. Women and men are watching her in disbelief, but she is laughing and enjoying it. In some ways I thought this was a turning point in the film. It is the first time we see her being rebellious and really making a stand against what is considered to be "normal" or "acceptable". By the end of this scene, the women who are watching her are laughing too, indicating Beyoncé has started a revolution. Once she smashes the last car and struts past the men, I thought it would move into a new scene and song, but, Beyoncé emerges on a tractor and runs over all the cars. I thought this was symbolic because one of Beyoncé's main messages in Lemonade is that It does not stop here, meaning Beyoncé wants to change the way black women are treated, by empowering them. I also picked up on how Beyoncé chose to incorporate other black women figures in the film. Serena Williams is featured twerking, which may seem unlikely because she is a professional tennis player. Model Winnie Harlow is also featured in it, showing off her rare skin case of vitiligo. She does not cover it up with makeup, but she embraces her natural skin even though it is blotchy. I think by Beyoncé incorporating other women figures in this film it strengthens her message.

I was actually sick for Ms. Nardone's presentation on Lemonade, however I did read Bell Hook's essay "Moving Beyond Pain". Hooks talks a lot about Beyoncé's focus on the black female's body in this film. One of the main struggles that is brought up in this film is that some black women are not comfortable with their bodies. They are victimized and Hooks says they are "dehumanized". What I find interesting about Hooks essay is how she talks about the promising messages in Lemonade as well as the criticisms Beyoncé makes on the injustices black women face. Beyoncé mentions Jay Z's grandmother in the film who said she has survived this by "taking the lemons life handed her and making lemonade". To me, this message is promising. Lemons are bitter and lemonade is sweet. Beyoncé tries to justify naming her album behind this. "When life gives you lemons.." is a popular saying and I think Beyoncé is saying make lemonade with it, just as Jay Z's grandmother would have wanted.


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