Lemonade, a film album depicting the battles of building confidence in the face of betrayal, evokes substance from ashes.
This call to break open the chest and with conviction express ownership of your sense of Self worth—the cauldron of Beyoncé’s 12-track opus. It pulled sentiments out of the ether and conceptualized an emotive journey. It woke me up to my latent tendencies and sparked a fierceness I dare to call boldness to get with the program that’s been my prowess since day one.
I’m lit. Ignited.
We’ve seen the last three years a force of cultivation and execution in her work. Lemonade is so much more than a scandal, wrapped in marketing shroud, baiting the superficial hunt down for Becky with the long hair.
This evocative story about an emotionally nuanced experience lends itself to the cultural landscape of the consumer today: visually driven and short attention span. It is the actualized success of an innovator, elevating the standards around her. An artist re-defining her output through multi-media storytelling.
“I’m always thinking about women, and what we need to hear,” said Beyoncé in Life is But A Dream. She made a declaration of commitment to the content she wanted to evoke. She set out to do and is doing.
Her vocal production in Lemonade explores the characters of our emotions as we navigate betrayal, our sense of self worth, and owning the strength of our voice. Our Self. Commanding in our owned conviction. The vocal textures in each track and emotive journey of the album incites because it grinds out the emotion without a loss of power attributed to its expression.
These statements of confidence build up the anthems against the feminine submissive.
You interrupting my grindin’!
These calls rev my drive to self-actualize and unleash that groove where I slay.
She whispers a solemn request in “Pray You Catch Me,” mulling over the truth. Hiding from it. When she breaks free out of her perpetual drowning, she is assured. Her conviction is her prowess, she isn’t begging for love, she is recognizing her worth.
I am the dragon breathing fire. Beautiful man, I’m the lion.
I am not crying. I am not crying.
I’m just too much for you…
The visual storytelling capitalizes on film cinematography building resonance to a layered body of work, making the entire album relevant.
My chest constricted watching her submerge under water, leaning back with prayer hands and those bubbles go into her nostrils as she breaths in water. Imagine what that feels like? How about the getup of that opening scene with the fur, her arm raised, her braids, and the slight rumble of a car revving that echoes a lion’s growl?
The red velvet curtain, the lights go on, as she uncurls on a stage.
A powerful nod to the birth of storytelling with Warsan Shire’s spoken word layering the emotive connotation to the film. Her powerful verbiage punctuated every sentiment and cemented some healing conversation starters with my Self.
That nod to the orators that passed along history and tradition and wonder and lessons; exercising the imagination, it lends itself to the honor Lemonade placed on heritage. From my mother’s womb I am, from my womb mine is, and so on and so forth.
“We have to reshape our own perception of how we view ourselves,” Bey said at Billboard’s Run the World show. “Step up and take the lead.”
A collective statement is reflected through the supporting cast of feminine presence. I am so appreciative of the stories told of women relating to other women. The scenes were images of alliance, of solidarity and support. It evoked the substance and value of camaraderie and the honoring and nurturing of girlhood and womanhood.
This work aligns with the global shift we are experiencing. There are women making strides and turning a major page in our cultural progress. They are affecting our collective thinking and our cultural landscape.
Beyoncé established her message, she’s rallied her audience and given a foundation to a movement in rumble to elevate to another level.
Her visionary management and the masterminds at work around her reflect an evolution in her artistry. They are a part of art that speaks about its time, and will transcend its time by defining a tone in cultural conversation.
This is the call she belts to the wild world we walk upon. I stand there in solidarity with my own healing, under the stars in a concert stadium somewhere in my small part of the Universe. Chanting with her. Beating the floor beneath me. Calling forth my own force. I can get down with that uplift of my power. —Ria Reigns