had a hand on the bat she swung in retaliation for her hurt.
We free-fell off of the building ledge with her and swan-dived into unseen waters below.
We channeled Oshun in a gorgeous goldenrod dress. We rocked out in cornrows and fur ensembles. We parked on the armrest of Queen Bey’s throne while Serena flexed her goddess body.
We were there with Beyoncé on Saturday evening, full of excited conversation — and, for some of us, premeditated criticism — as a sorority knitted together for one hour to see how this newly, outwardly, I-don’t-have-any-f*cks-to-gively Beyoncé was going to build on the electricity of self-love and Black girl pride she catalyzed months ago with "Formation."
And Lord have mercy, did she serve? Beyoncé
Giselle has morphed into a free Black girl. Now, when are the rest of us going
to get there?
Every Black woman owes herself a "Lemonade" experience, a purposeful — if need be, confrontational — analysis of your life and the variables influencing its current level of satisfaction. Have you ever cut open the messy, septic, un-pretty parts and exposed them to open air to heal? Are you really healthy? Are you really whole?
We've witnessed Beyoncé get incrementally loosed from the Mathew Knowles marionette strings and we've been happy for her. In "Lemonade," we watched her, in brave and open honesty, do a 12-song rectification of life as a Black woman, including the multi-emotional fallout of a disloyal husband, and we were happy she got liberated from that, too.
cheered her on as she's processed through, even as some of us need to get
unbound from our own uniquely oppressive circumstances.
There were many lines of Beyoncé's beautiful lyrics and warsan shire’s exquisite poetry that struck me, but when she said, "Why can't you see me? Everyone else can," I felt that. You may have, too, that pleading to be recognized and appreciated and worthy, and not always just from a man, but from family, industry, community, the world.
You could stop almost every Black woman at almost any given time and uncover dozens of strategically concealed wounds on her person. From the pains of heartbreak and disappointment. From relationships of all kinds that silence us and shrink us down.
From years of training in how to accept mistreatment, abuse and neglect as a consequence of existing. From health scares and betrayals of the body. From the outrage of racism and sexism and classism and just-trying-to-stay-alive-ism.
overachieving and overcompensating. From children who don’t do right the way you
raised them to do. From jobs that undervalue and underpay, overlook and
overstress us. From renegade religious mores that keep us boxed into
subservience and manufactured rigors that have us striving to be good and
chaste and holy not according to God, but to man.
We were there for "Lemonade" the visual album. But the breaking open and living out of that 12-step footpath to freedom could be ours. What would freedom look like for you? Feel like? We each have the opportunity to figure it out for ourselves.
Something is happening, a rising up of Black
women's awareness of how powerful we really are, that's creating a dynamic
shift. Some of us are getting it sooner than others, but the ones at the front
of the line have a duty and an obligation to play telephone and pass the
information back to the sisters bringing up the rear.
In the past I, like so many other journalists, had been critical of Beyoncé’s media interviews for being dry and guarded and boorish. One is just as uninformative as the one before it and you never walk away knowing anything new about her, I complained, so she might as well stop doing them altogether. Soon as I said that, she did.
In "Lemonade," she took control of her own
story and I am reminded of two things: she doesn’t belong to anybody but
herself and she is at liberty to dispense what she wants to share when she
wants to share it how she wants to share it. She can reinvent herself from who
she was before. She can respond or choose not to respond. She can become who
Same goes for you. Same goes for me.
What I know is this: art aligns with reality in a particular space of time for a reason. "Lemonade" dropped just as I am stepping into the work of shouldering my way past tired old hang-ups, paralyses and narratives, foolishness other folks have projected onto me and I’ve dutifully carried around because I’ve martyred myself out of fear. Beyoncé got me plugged all the way into that now.
It's the summer of the Black woman. And we have a whole album of get free anthems.