After watching the Lemonade visual album on Monday and listening to the lecture, my opinion of Beyonce was completely changed. I watched her performance at the Grammy’s three weeks ago and thought that it was a bit over the top. I liked her music but never understood why a lot of people would worship her so strongly. I was not very phased when Adele won Album of the year. Now, after discussing Beyonce and her work with the visual album, I have a newfound respect for her. I learned that her music is complex art that tells stories of a lot of things that have happened to her, and are happening today. The messages she sends to her audiences are very fascinating and admirable.
I really liked how her visual album went in the order of events in her life and her feelings that followed. It is very impressive how she was able to share her story openly. We discussed that this might not have been her full truth, but there is a lot of evidence that points to it being for the most part, her autobiography. One thing that bothered me was how she received a lot of judgement from different sources saying that she is not a real feminist because of her decisions. She received a lot of criticism for taking her husband back after he cheated on her. Her song "Sandcastles" expresses her decision to take her husband back and how she truly loves him and can see beyond his mistakes. A lot of women today feel the same criticisms when they get back with men who have cheated. Her story reminds people that they have the right to make the decision to be with whoever they chose. Beyonce's work has the ability to influence the audience and is very relatable to a lot of people. Out of all the sources Mrs. Nardone outlined that criticized Beyonce, I was most intrigued by bell hooks comments. She said “Ultimately lemonade glamorizes a world of gendered and contradiction. It does not resolve.” She thought that Lemonade portrayed women in different environments that women are not normally seen in effort to just make her album more entertaining than worthy of making change. She thought that just “glamorizing” this world does not fix any problems women, and specifically black women face in society. It is true that Beyonce does not make her message as evident as she could have to the average viewer. However, even though Beyonce is demonstrating women in a slightly unconventional way, it is still very empowering to women watching and can be a discussion starter for political change.
Beyonce is not a very typical feminist. She gets her feminist ideas across by calling attention to specific stereotypes and then completely “blowing them up” in the words of Mrs. Nardone. We were able to see this in a recent photo of Beyonce pregnant with her twins. She is pictured in flowers and a veil, and holding her stomach to look like a "Madonna". She is fitting the stereotype for women. However, she then “blows it up” by wearing a bra and underwear and showing off her body. One quotation that Mrs. Nardone shared with us was from Audre Lorde who said, “The master’s tools will never dismantle the master’s house”. This means that it is impossible to destroy a system by playing into it. Her photo plays into the system. Mrs. Nardone interestingly noted that Beyoncé would not have become famous if she did not play the system. We learned that another way Beyoncé plays into the system is by sharing her thoughts on capitalism. Her playing with capitalist ideas is very prominent in her music and plays a large role in how she breaks stereotypical barriers. I found this very interesting because I had never noticed before how she did this. In her song Formation she says, “the best revenge is your paper” meaning that money is a big factor in being successful in life. By her saying this, it shows that even though she is a black women she still is able to be independent and not rely on anyone but herself for income. Her message instills in all women that they should work to do the things they love and earn their own living. Another way she uses the technique of playing into the capitalist systems is that she appealing to consumers. In her movie she shows off her dancing and musical talent in scenes with strong images and vivid stories that made it very entertaining and worth buying. Lemonade is only available on Tidal which is a very capitalist ideal because she will generate the most money from keeping it this way.
Mrs. Nardone presentation has shown Beyoncé in a brand new light and I would not have learned this much without her incite. Beyoncé is really worth the worship she receives from her fans. I am really glad I watched Beyoncé’s visual album and I think that it is something that everyone needs to do. Her album can really educate people everywhere and perpetuate political change.