Music · Social Justice

A Winner Don’t Quit on Themself

Get ready for a looong post.

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Last night, Beyonce, (or as her fans are now calling her, King Beysus) dropped her brand new, and long awaited, visual album, Lemonade, on Tidal. LET ME TELL YOU!! This album is BOMB. Even in subtle ways, Beyonce still shows us in this star-studded album, that she’s still representing us, and loving us unapologetically. (THIS GIRL HAD A RECORDING OF MALCOLM X IN HER SONG, TALKING ABOUT HOW THE MOST DISRESPECTED WOMAN IN AMERICA IS THE BLACK WOMAN!!!)

I wasn’t an actual fan of Beyonce until Formation, I thought she was talented, but I couldn’t understand the hype. She was just a singer I grew up hearing, singing about things that I didn’t feel were necessarily groundbreaking. But after Formation, I understood. This FREAKING QUEEN put her heart and soul into this. And I can see that! Some of the songs themselves are kind of slow, very mellow, but they hold a certain kind of power. (Like Hold Up or 6 Inch) See, I’m used to Nicki Minaj, (another queen), where when a song is supposed to be bold and empowering, everything is extremely aggressive and in your face. These songs are soft, and some of them almost sound romantic, poetic, or seductive, but the lyrics can be so angry, striking, and empowering, it’s a gentle kind of strength that I want to hear more of. Her song Daddy Lessons was actually a country song. And you know what? I wasn’t that upset with it. We also got some reggae, R&B, soul, and hip hop. I’m in love with the muffled drums in songs like Love Drought and Don’t Hurt Yourself.

Before each song, Beyonce treats us to spoken-word verse, written by Warsan Shire, that goes along with each upcoming song. And each song refers to a specific emotion. Some of the album seems to be about adultery. She brings up how her father cheated on her mother, and she speaks as if she herself knows her S.O. isn’t being faithful. (I’mma just sip my tea and think of Solange and the elevator incident for a moment.) These songs make me angry at the boyfriend I don’t have. But as the album goes on, she seems to forgive him and move on from that anger, focusing on other, more important things.

The music videos were AMAZING! It’s full of girls wearing dresses that are inspired by southern women of the past. SO MANY BLACK GIRLS! Girls with different hair styles and textures, skin colors, ages, and body types! I am so for it, you don’t understand. Serena Williams, Winnie Harlow, Amandla Stenberg, Quvenzhane Wallis, and of course, Blue Ivy are all seen in this collage of black girl magic. (lowkey upset I’m not famous bc I wanna be part of this album so bad!) It’s visual aspects and aesthetics are very southern, more specifically, it’s roots are in New Orleans. (something I can’t relate to, but I wish I could, it seems lit)

I think my favorite songs have to be Don’t Hurt Yourself, Hold Up, and Freedom. (Formation is kind of a given, tbh)

Now, with this amazing album that showcases the strength and power of black women, it’s not unlikely that it’s going to face some un-needed critique, on how it’s not “relatable” on a universal scale. Let’s get one thing straight. Beyonce is a black woman. The songs she sings and the videos and references she makes are because these are aspects of her life. The struggles she has faced, and the struggles of the people like her. It’s not fair that she should be put in a box and write songs that are universally relatable just because she’s famous.  It’s also not fair to black girls, who have struggled with loving themselves to be told that nothing can be specifically for us. That we can’t have songs, let alone albums that praise our beauty, and our strength. And, let’s be real. Having the privilege to even say her songs should relate to everyone, and to have that statement taken seriously, is even less relatable than a video full of black girls. Having enough privilege to start an un-needed discussion on whether or not a black woman shouldn’t sing about what she wants to sing about isn’t something most of America has. So that might be something to think on before complaining about this album.

But seriously. 12/10 would recommend. This album is great, and the songs are so strong. (idk which one’s gonna be a single bc they all could, honestly)

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