Getting in Formation: Lemonade as Told by Texts
On April 23 Beyoncé granted us peasants with a tall glass of Lemonade—her new visual masterpiece that premiered on HBO. Like many, I was holding my breath for the release of her latest album since she launched us into FORMATION back in February and announced her summer tour. When her minute-long promotional video revealed that Yoncé was ready to grace us with her art, I knew that April would bring a spiritual awakening for me.
The visual album is broken up into 11 parts, each corresponding with one of the 11 tracks from the studio version (not including Formation, which comes in during the credits). The parts are each introduced with the titles Intuition, Denial, Anger, Apathy, Emptiness, Accountability, Reformation, Forgiveness, Resurrection, Hope and Redemption. As far as the cinematography, direction and artistry behind each section, Beyonce and her team delivered breath-taking visuals and graphics throughout the piece. The use of color, symbolism and movement bring to life the story each of the songs portray. Through the masterpiece, we see how evolved and matured Beyonce’s vision has become since the start of her solo career.
The message, however, conveys most explicitly a new Beyonce, one that the public has yet to fully experience. For the majority of her career, her songs have focused on generic subject matter. Rather than sharing a deep experience, her songs were mainstream pop tunes. Through Lemonade, Beyonce broadcasts her change of chosen audience. She is singing and tailoring her art for someone else: women of color. Her newest album celebrates women of color, delivering the message that they are worthy of love and respect. It counters American society which often fails to give the message a prominent platform. This shift in her music gives anthems to minorities deserving of music that can speak to their difficult reality.
So, if you haven’t treated yourself yet to indulging your ears and eyes to Lemonade, I’m here to convince you to get that 30 day free TIDAL trial to experience the glory for yourself. While watching Lemonade through for the first time, I texted back and forth with my best friend from home, who I lovingly refer to as Kelly Rowland, all of my thoughts and feelings regarding my own journey through Lemonade. Flowery language and excessive use of caps lock included.
A bit of context to start: that evening, I worked until 10:00 pm, while the album premiered at 8:00 pm. Apparently, the album release wasn’t considered a “real” religious holiday, so for two hours, I painfully sat in an office, unable to hear Beyonce’s latest work, until time allowed me to clock-out. Hence, why I’m “RUNNING HOME NOW,” and probably why I’m justifiably over-dramatic. Enjoy.
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