By: Danie B
At last night’s GRAMMY Awards, Adele said what so many Beyoncé fans and bey-hivers felt: the GRAMMY for Album of the Year should have gone to Beyoncé.
No, I’m not saying this because I’m a huge Beyoncé fan. Honestly, there’s no bey-hive membership for me; I’m saying this because it’s true.
On the surface, a number of people think that Beyoncé’s Lemonade is a simple story of a woman finding out that her husband was cheating on her… eh, not so much. Yes, that may have been the main story line of the visual album, but that project represented so much more. It’s an homage to black women.
Lemonade is the story of how the various nuances of life – our fathers, our husbands and boyfriends, our children, our jobs, etc leave us as women, particularly black women, broken and forgotten. It’s about how we give everything of ourselves to the world only to be served last and sometimes not at all.
It’s the story of how we as black women perpetuate family cycles by marrying and dating the same type of men our mothers and grandmothers married, and how we must break the cycle so that the next generation of women have a chance at pushing our families forward in love. It speaks to the hurt and rage that black mothers possess when their babies are taken away from them because of the institutions of societal racism, violence, and ignorance. It also speaks to the pain black women hide in order to be the head matriarchs of their families and the backbone and support system for black men.
Beyoncé also honors influential black women in Lemonade like Gwen Carr, Sybrina Fulton, and Serena Williams who represent our resilience and power; and she showcases black girls like Zendaya, Amandla Stenberg, and Quvenzhané Wallis who show how promising our future can be.
I could talk all day about the powerful imagery that makes Lemonade an amazing body of work. For instance in one part, she references the Igbo Landing, which was an act of resistance against slavery. She also visually mentions African and Hindu goddesses that are also referenced in her GRAMMY performance, and she saw fit to include Malcolm X’s words about the plight of the black woman in the project, words that are still resonate in today’s world.
This is why Lemonade was so great, and this is again why Adele said what she said to Beyoncé on the GRAMMY stage. That album empowered women, more specifically black women everywhere to be their unapologetic selves and to press on to greatness in spite of their circumstance. So yes, Adele is amazing, and all the other nominees released amazing works of art too, but no one else’s album stirred controversy, influenced a movement, infiltrated pop culture, and proactively empowered a group of people to “get in Formation” like Lemonade did.
Art has the ability to make an impact and be motivating and be inspiring and empowering, and when an artist purposely uses their work to do just that, shouldn’t that at the very least be recognized as great?
I guess not. No worries, though. I appreciate and applaud Beyoncé for her efforts and all the thought she put into the Lemonade visual album, and I hope that she continues to use her work to inspire us to be our very best and unapologetic selves. In the mean time, I’ll be over here using these GRAMMY lemons for lemonade.