Beyonce needs no introduction. Time and time again she has stopped the world with her amazing talent, precise timing with her marketing and overall #beyhive magic. This piece isn’t a 24 hour review. I took time to listen to Lemonade, and discuss and dissect it with the men and women around me. I played the album every chance I got the auxiliary cord in the car with my girls, on a road trip with my family ( the clean version of course) and nights alone in solitude.

You can immediately hear and feel the graduation of emotion and sincerity with this record; the visual aspect of it takes it to an even higher caliber, raising the bar for artists across the board. Reminding us what talent, along with quality - not quantity actually sounds like.

Due to Mrs. Knowles-Carter’s unencumbered position as a household name, and one of our century’s greatest entertainers she is held at idealistic standards for what it means to be a woman, a black woman, a woman of color in our society. For many years fans and critics yearned to hear political and social opinions to be voiced from Queen B, myself included. I didn’t understand how she had such a large platform world wide but even more specifically in the black community but didn’t discuss in depth pertinent issues. Until now.

Yet, it is seen and understood that in order to speak in the way that she has; a specific position of power and influence has to be ascertained beforehand. 

With this most recent album, Beyonce has created a narrative that resonates, and set the table for a much necessary dialogue. Being that Lemonade is an auditory and visual experience, the audience is taken through a myriad of genres and perspectives.

“Don’t Hurt Yourself” is a perfect example of this musical transformation. The reclamation of Rock & Roll with the accompaniment of Jack White provides an entirely new sound. Reminiscent of Curtis Mayfield’s 70s flair, Beyonce takes this track and rips a seam into her lover’s heart chords. A brash yet oddly romantic PSA pertaining to neglect and the loss of love. We can hear her anger and disdain for infidelity and the lack of moral compass. I don’t know a woman alive who hasn’t felt this way. That is the entire brilliance behind the compilation. Feeling, and the fact that it was able to be so keenly articulated into this body of work continues to blow my mind.

The seemingly effortless assembly of her political stance in addition to release of private grief and healing made me, as a fan and admirer feel comfortable.

Formation, being the first single for the album set the precedent for what was to come. But it made everyone (society) so uncomfortable. People were genuinely bothered by her open association with her blackness and assemblance to unify our community, even if it was solely through song. A medium by the way, that for years has knitted our people together in the most trying of times.

“I like my baby heir with baby hair and afros. I like my negro nose with Jackson 5 nostrils. Earned all this money but they never take the country out me.” Those three lines alone exude her affirmation within herself, her career and her family. Frankly it’s telling the haters to mind their business. People were comfortable putting Beyonce in a box. She didn't have initial political rifts, was racially ambiguous and charitable. That notion alone may have helped her with her initial success but it wasn’t the final say.

Depicting controversial imagery of “Hands Up Don’t Shoot”, New Orleans after the levees broke, and wealthy black aristocracy from the days of slavery shifted the tables of representation. It gave a clap back to the stories that we were given, and rewriting them with truth of spirit and solidarity.

Others can say what they’d like, and Lemonade is full of nuance and debate but I must say that I believe this is Beyonce’s best body of work to date. Her pain, personal plights and the presence of growth opened my eyes, serving as a beacon of light, love and renewal. That of itself was channeling the African Orisha Oshun, personified specifically in “Hold Up”, whose core being is based upon those very same principles.

Lemonade is a soul album that should remain undefined by genre but instead by raw emotion. Each lyric and narration of poetry alongside vibrant imagery is a story that was served as a banquet of camaraderie. I personally extend this as a thank you for representation.

Queen B, back at it again breaking records and not giving a damn.

{image cred: beyonce - lemonade}