Image credit: twitter.com/beyonce
In Beyoncé’s most recent and perhaps most notable endeavor to date, she offers us an itinerary through the stages of love. Before I continue with my analysis and absolute bias opinion, allow me to utterly disclaim that I am the self-proclaimed, official, unofficial president of the Beyhive and she can do no wrong in my eyes. Up to this point, I’ve heard completed unwarranted and uninformed opinions about the body of work, although valid to those making the claims. And that is okay. As an artist and a lyricist, not only did I resonate with it, but I empathized with it. For those that viewed the piece as narcissistic, it oxymoronically was. Because this was her story, from her perspective. Yet to the contrary, it wasn’t because it was more than just her story, but mine and yours and a host of others, past, present and future.
“To fully appreciate the art you must first understand it.”- DeJa K. Johnson
Queen Bey walked us through 10 stages of love: Intuition, denial, anger, apathy, emptiness, reformation, forgiveness, resurrection, hope and redemption.
“What luck! What a fucking curse.” –Warsan Shire (via Beyoncé)
While many may argue that the Queen’s montage inflicted political undertones, prefaced by recordings of Malcolm X, I would argue that unlike Formation, she was merely addressing the plight of women, mothers and any woman who has ever loved and lost. You see, from my perspective, this entire body of work is a love story, showcasing a varied platter of love in every color, context and orientation. After all….
“The scar heals into a smile.” – Beyoncé (c/o Warsan Shire)
I project that the two best tracks of the album will come from the depths of denial and anger that she chronicled in the spoken prelude to Hold Up and Don’t Hurt Yourself, which happens to be my personal favorite song on the album. Not only are the lyrics dope AF, but the emotion from whence they were birthed finally reveal Beyoncé to be more than the beautiful, untouchable and stoic creature we believed her to be. For the first time, I saw her as relatable. Her pain. Her passion. Her insecurities, much like my own. The anger expressed, dissipated into apathy, ushered in with a lullaby. Feelings of inadequacy known to me in many forms. Like sleeping with the enemy. And yes, those are my lyrics, not Warsan’s. But I understand the eulogy that she gave. “Here lies the body of the love of my life whose heart I broke without a gun to my head. Here lies the mother of my children, both living and dead. Rest in peace my true love who I took for granted. Most bomb pussy who because of me, sleep evaded. Her shroud is loneliness. Her god was listening. Her heaven will be a love without betrayal. Ashes to ashes. Dust to sidechicks.”
She was vulnerable and completely naked (literally and figuratively speaking) in ways that we had never seen her before. It was courageous to expose her fears of emptiness to the moon, preying on the darkness and ghosts of heartbreaks past. Indeed, “she murdered everybody and I was her witness”. And as it turns out, 6 Inches is my official personal theme song and will be playing in my head whenever I walk into a room. #DontBelieveMe #JustWatch
And to answer your question, in conclusion, why lemonade? Beyonce blessed us with not only a classic recipe to a summer staple libation, but also one for life’s resolutions that you heard first, probably from your grandmother. When life hands you lemons… #UKnoThaRest
And as Beyoncé would probably concur, the antidote to freedom, to hope, to resurrection and redemption is love.
Her musical range transcends genre. Octaves unheard before. Her vocals as imperfect perfections.
The melody of instruments was an extension of the spoken word
Which aided in the execution of the visual art experience
Music is heard even in silence. With quiet chatter. Lights humming.
Birds chirping. Rain patters and tambourine rattles.
Was that Saint West? Rhythmic clapping and croaking frogs are God’s instruments of nature.
–TheRealBlackCarrieBradshaw via DeJarnette K. Johnson
Footnote: Did you know that Beyoncé’s name is included in spell check? Try not putting that mark over that “e” if you want to.