Students are about to get school'd by Beyoncé.
The University of Texas at San Antonio is bringing Beyoncé's album "Lemonade" and her “Formation” music video to the classroom. According to UTSA magazine, a new course called “Black Women, Beyoncé, and Popular Culture” will be taught by Sombrilla and English professor, Dr. Kinitra D. Brooks. The course description states:
LEMONADE is a meditation on contemporary black womanhood. The purpose of this class is to explore the theoretical, historical, and literary frameworks of black feminism, which feature prominently in LEMONADE. We will use LEMONADE as a starting point to examine the sociocultural issues that are most prominent in black womanhood through black feminist theory, literature, music, and film.
Brooks has detailed in her syllabus that each week will focus on a different theme relating to each track from the album. A whole semester of Beyoncé seems like a dream come true for her hardcore Beyhive. Listening to her songs, dissecting them one by one, and talking about the visuals showcased in the music videos — what more could you want?
If we had a chance to take the class, we’d know exactly what themes we’d want to focus on studying.
Different images of Black womanhood.
In each video we see a different side to Beyoncé: her sexual side, her angry side, her forgiving side, or her loving side. She touches on the message that Black womanhood is about accepting all these sides of yourself that make up who you are. Part of the curriculum could include analyzing how stereotypical representations of Black womanhood are portrayed as monolithic and how society tries to force Black women to adhere to one identity.
Black Girl Magic.
Beyoncé chose specific Black girls and women that have had to deal with the media picking on them for their Blackness. Based on their careers and accomplishments, women such as, Serena Williams, Zendaya, Amandla Stenberg, and Quvenzhane Wallis have been described as being "Black Girl Magic." A whole class could be devoted to the meaning behind “Black Girl Magic” and the effect it’s having on how Black girls and women see themselves and one another. Also, evaluating the supernatural references to witchcraft and other forms of religion that are practiced among Black women would be a plus.
The Suffering of Black women.
and presently, demonstrate how Black women have dealt with traumatic instances of suffering, while acknowledging
the suffering that rarely is talked about, such as depression and suicide. For
example, seeing Beyoncé throw herself off the ledge, and succumbing to the pain she
felt over love. Also, providing visuals of racial violence with police officers lined up, while
a little Black boy dances in front of them or featuring the Black mothers who have lost
sons to police brutality.
The role of the South.
Identifying the South as its own character in “Lemonade,” such as how Beyoncé uses the South to acknowledge the trauma Black people faced there during slavery, Jim Crow, and even Hurricane Katrina; showcasing the Black people that currently live in the South; and reflecting on how she treats the South as home to many Black traditions and Black women.
Influences of Black culture.
how popular references and people in Black culture work within “Lemonade.” For
example, the images of Black women in period clothing from the antebellum south
from “Daughters of the Dust,” or Angela Bassett’s character lighting a
car on fire from “Waiting to Exhale,” as well as displaying numerous visuals of how the African diaspora,
slavery, segregation, Hurricane Katrina, and the “Black Lives Matter” movement relate
to the dehumanization of Black people.
Beyoncé questions if Jay Z has cheated on her and goes through different stages of grief based on that uncertainty, so ideally the could would study Black love from the perspective of the
Black woman, and examine how race and sexism intersect with one another in Black relationships. Additional elements for study would also include trying to preserve Black love over taking care of yourself; forgiveness in
infidelities; the preconceived roles of the Black woman and the Black man; and
how Black masculinity and femininity attribute to those roles.
a range of Black girls from all ages, sizes, hair textures, and shades sitting
on a porch together, dancing with one another and representing a matriarchal
society, creates the perfect imagery of Black sisterhood. It details the
importance of Black sisterhoods/girlhoods especially when they’re being
undervalued and marginalized in society and how Black women need to support one
another and care for each other. This would be rich for examining past examples of how Black sisterhoods have overcome their hardships and
achieved their own greatness and accomplishments by working together.