I'm a Beyonce fan. Not a stan. I do believe she is uber-talented, I don't believe she walks on water or defecates rainbows and skittles. I like her music, I admire her hustle, I appreciate the fact that she pours her messiness into her art and not all over TMZ (excluding that elevator incident that appears to make a little sense now). I recognize the fact that we probably see only what she wants us to see and half of that is no doubt well choreographed illusion. I'm good with that. She's entertaining, I can sing along, shake my booty or point with attitude to the left to the left when I feel like it.
But this here? This Lemonade thing? This is next level. In one of my books, Sweet Little Lies, there's a character nicknamed Grown Man Steven. This album? Grown Woman Beyonce. We've come a long way from Bills, Bills, Bills and turned quite a corner from Drunk in Love. This is full spectrum Bey and I'm here for it.
I don't know if this is her truth that she's sharing or if she's just shining a light on so many known black girl truths. Maybe it's a combination of both but the visual album combined with the music itself spoke to me in a way I can't recall feeling in some time. It's an emotional renaissance. It makes other artists' offerings look lethargic and lazy.
It's a history lesson, it's a view into the future. It's truth and it's fiction. It's black girl magic and vaunted womanhood all wrapped into one. A dear friend of mine that passed away last year used to say, "As professional educated and intelligent black women, we are unicorns... so why are we so often treated like pack mules?" Preach. Lemonade asks the same question while demanding a spotlight seat in the VIP section of your consciousness.
I'm not a crier but I sniffled like a child with a newly skinned knee listening to "Pray you catch me" - I had an almost visceral flashback of standing in a bathroom holding my breath while straining to hear what "he" was saying into his phone in the other room. I wanted to hear him but I didn't. I wanted him to catch me eavesdropping, but I didn't. Wooooo.
And I'm sorry (I ain't sorry) but SORRY is my track. Just wrap that song up with a bow and deliver it as a gift of unadulterated truth to so many folks. If the catchy "boy bye" refrain didn't hook you, watching Serena in all her glory getting her jiggle on was awe-inspiring. Thigh day at the gym just got all the way real.
"What's worse being jealous or crazy, jealous or crazy?" She asks in Hold Up. I've been both and I have to agree with her, I'll take crazy. It's like we're at a girl's night in swapping truths. Her lyrics wrap around you with stunning familiarity. Your heart breaks a little for the commonality of shared pain. But as we are known to do, we pick ourselves up and keep moving.
Love Drought and Sandcastles are absolutely masterful. Really the whole experience is beautifully sophisticated. Some of it is nuanced and some is in your face raw. I laughed earlier when someone said - You remember that debate about Bey vs. Ashanti? Yeah... Beyonce won.
Have you heard the music and absorbed the visual album? What were your thoughts?