Beyonce’s Lemonade hit me like a ton of bricks.
It left me in a puddle of memories past and empowered to the journey ahead. I liken the feeling to when I read “For Colored Girls” or when Lauryn dropped, “The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill.” I was left speechless, drowned in emotion, too much to say, yet with no words to say them, so I’ve tried with these Five F’s of Lemonade:
Falseness (noun): lack of faithfulness
“I tried to make a home out of you, but doors lead to trapdoors, a stairway leads to nothing.” ~ Warsan Shire
From childhood women are groomed to embrace the typical tradition of school, wed, mother and any other path is a shame that should be carried and marked in red on your sweater. Here in lies, the beginning of the miseducation of women and the breeding ground for the worship myth that is accompanied by the completeness of one’s self in the connection to a man.
Beyonce’s “Pray You Catch Me” lays the groundwork for LEMONADE and the falseness that lies next to her at night, her husband and the falseness in herself. She hauntingly prays that her foundation does not become threaten, yet she prays that she catches him to eliminate the agony of suspicion that weighs on her, she needs to know, needs to confirm. But the truth is, she already knows. She knows so much that she prays for him to catch her…catching him. Why? What a contradiction, you may say. “What luck, what a fucking curse.”
Beyonce symbolically shows the power given to this one person in catching her and saving her life, because it’s him who gives her life, with a pause, before she jumps.” I’m praying you catch me…”
But he doesn’t, her foundation has broken away, now she must face her, the goddess within to find her footing…to find herself.
Fidelity (noun): faithfulness to a person, cause, or belief, demonstrated by continuing loyalty and support.
“I tried to change, closed my mouth more, tried to be softer, prettier… less awake” ~ Warsan Shire
In “Hold Up” Beyonce, emerges from the water, after sitting in a placenta state of herself, symbolizing Oshun, the African goddess of water and love. Oshun is associated with the concepts of femininity and the power of women. More widely, she is sought after in times of drought or severe poverty.
After emerging from the sweet waters, Beyonce breaks through with a hydrated faithfulness to herself. She’s awakening to herself, her water has broken, giving birth is inevitable. “Hold up,” is a phrase not to bring just awareness to her unfaithful lover, but to herself. In speaking to herself as a reminder of her worth, “Hold Up”…she’s not going to sit on the sidelines while you’re happy and free, and she just sits, waits for you to define her by the lesser of two evils, being jealous or crazy. She’s both, she’s in labor and being walked over doesn’t fly with a woman who is on the brink of her power. She is no longer scared…she’s crazy, yup, she’s fearless.
Fearless (adjective): Lacking Fear. Synonym: Ballsy
“We can pose for a picture, all three of us, immortalized, you and your perfect girl.” ~ Warsan Shire
Bey carries the theme of fidelity of herself to a god-obsession in the knowing and acknowledgment of the connection between the black man and black woman. I am faithful to myself and the God within me. When a man and woman marries, she and he are the physical expression of God in human form, to touch in a human realm…spirit to spirit.
Don’t hurt yourself, don’t hurt yourself
When you love me, you love yourself
Love God herself
From this point the tables has turned, Beyonce equates the black woman to being God, where she formally worshiped the man, now she has found the God power within and sorry beautiful man, you’re now not enough…
I am not broken, I’m not crying, I’m not crying
You ain’t trying hard enough
You ain’t loving hard enough
You don’t love me deep enough
We not reaching feats enough
Blindly in love, I fucks with you
‘Til I realize, I’m just too much for you
I’m just too much for you
The only way union can happen at this point is if he now begins to love God Herself…thereby loving himself.
“The knowledge of another life beyond this existence releases you from the fear of dying, and it’s at this point when freedom begins. ~ AJ Williams”
Feminism (noun): the advocacy of women’s rights on the grounds of political, social, and economic equality to men.
“So what are you going to say at my funeral now that you’ve killed me… here lies the body of the love of my life, who’s heart I broke without a gun to my head.” ~ Warsan Shire
“Sorry” introduces a woman who is indifferent, yet empowered in being man and woman herself. She’s now a new wo-man and the focused is being all things to herself. She gives the verbal confirmation of owning her masculine side while holding court, a King embodying a Queen, fuck a vagina which is viewed as weak, but balls…pause, with the following line;
I don’t give a fuck, chucking my deuces up
Suck on my balls, pause, I had enough
I ain’t thinking ’bout you
She then drops the symbolism of her and Serena Williams circa her and Jay-Z ‘s video “Upgrade U.” This being the biggest middle finger up that she had now upgraded herself. Think… “Two can play that game.”
She then stops and pays homage to the beauty of the black woman, not being defined by media stereotypes of what beauty is or what determines success for a black man is to obtain “Becky with the good hair.”
She no longer wants to be accepted by you and what your definition of beauty is aka white with long hair. She is ACCEPTANCE and owns herself… why does she need you? Why does she have to be defined by you? She defines beauty, sexuality, bossness…herself.
She mentions, “Stop interrupting my grind,” which on the surface can be viewed as grinding aka twerking, but is it? Because in her next song “6-inch Heels,” she glorifies the woman who is turned on by the grind…
Stars in her eyes
She fights for the power, keeping time
She grinds day and night
She grinds from Monday to Friday
Works from Friday to Sunday
This is the epitome of the feminist movement, the merging of gender stereotypes into just a person, who does it all… for HERSELF.
Freedom (noun): the power or right to act, speak, or think as one wants without hindrance or restraint.
“You remind me of my father a magician, able to exist in two places at once. In the tradition of men in my blood, you come home at 3 am and lie to me.” ~ Warsan Shire
Therapy is something that is still taboo in the Black community, yet it’s something that is necessary to free yourself from the past. Therapy can be served up in many forms as long as the ultimate goal is to reflect on patterns and why you proceed to repeat or leave certain patterns alone. Often it’s said that the groundwork for any future romantic relationships with a woman is based on the relationship with her father.
Beyonce addressed the conflict of admiration and anguish in the issues of her father, a man whom she loved fiercely and who loved her but is the example also of what man not to love in her future. She frees herself and resolves her issues with her father by the following suit in the advice he’s given her:
My daddy warned me about men like you
He said baby girl he’s playing you
He’s playing you
Cause when trouble comes in town
And men like me come around
Oh, my daddy said shoot
There is nothing more freeing that being healed. Once a broken wing is healed, the bird is free to embrace her true purpose… to FLY.
The Final Act:
“I wake as the second girl crawls head first up my throat, a flower blossoming out of the hole of my face.” ~ Warsan Shire
“In Freedom,”Beyonce stands hands down by her side, showing the constriction and birthing of freedom. It does not come without a fight, liken to the Bible verse, “And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and the violent take it by force.” Matt. 11:12
She admits at the beginning she has been running and blinded by the truth, the myths of man, the imposing descriptions of expectations.
Now, at this moment, the voice, power, freedom emerges. No longer the same, but more, no longer broken, but strong, no longer defined by him, her, just defined by freedom.
“i found god in myself
and i loved her
i loved her fiercely.”
― Ntozake Shange