Beyoncé’s LEMONADE is Sweet Tea
This is a far cry from “Crazy in Love” Bonnie and Clyde Beyoncé. Hell, it’s a ways away from the FLAWLESS Beyoncé. She had a growth spurt. You know when your kid goes to summer camp in June and when they return in August, you barely recognize them? Yes. Bey. And LEMONADE is proof of this growth.
Beyoncé takes us through the stages of life, love, heartbreak and healing (and more) in LEMONADE.
Intuition. Anger. Apathy. Emptiness. Accountability. Reformation. Forgiveness. Resurrection. Hope. Redemption.
When she dropped Formation, I said that was the best thing she’s ever done. Two months later, I give that crown to this visual album of hers. This ground-breaking, heart-humming, ode to vulnerability and the magic of Black womanhood. THIS is Beyonce’s best thing yet. Actually, this gives Formation more context. AND we now know that the “hot sauce” in her bag might be the baseball bat she used to break things.
Basically, I cut off my locs right on time, because I don’t even have any edges for Bey to snatch. It’s like I knew. I’ve watched LEMONADE once. I feel like I need to watch it again, but in order for me to get my thoughts out before 2017, I decided to write this immediately after viewing. I haven’t sat in it to process it and I know there’s things I may have missed.
Still. I am hella impressed. Because what Beyoncé did here was break out of whatever artistic chains she had herself in before. She even threw in a country song (Daddy’s Issues). More importantly, she is breaking the wall she’s built between her, THE FLAWLESS BRAND and the people who consume her music.
Bey is at her most vulnerable and transparent ever, to even do this project. She is pulling back the curtains from what has been a relatively controlled persona. She has been the untouchable, and people lust after her life. We all know nothing is perfect but few things have led us to think that about Bey’s personal life. Now, she is not only opening the door, she’s basically having a townhall meeting about her marriage, even if it’s in hypotheticals.
Did Jay-Z cheat for real? It almost doesn’t matter. She created a whole album with visuals, around dealing and healing with infidelity. Beyoncé is nothing if not crystal clear about her messaging. IF he really cheated, this is her telling us the story of how they came back from it. IF he didn’t cheat, this is her warning shot of TRY IT IF YOU WANT TO. I, like everyone else, am leaning towards “he cheated.” The lyrics are very direct, and the motive is to make us think he cheated. This is what she can’t say in interviews, on display in movie form. It definitely gives some context to Solange wilding out on Jay-Z in that elevator a couple of years ago.
Our men cheat and we tell our closest friends. Beyoncé’s man cheats, and she makes a movie. Bey is LEVELS. This is her “Waiting to Exhale” moment and she is here to fuck shit up.
She (and her team) put a lot of thought into this. I love how she weaves spoken word throughout, written by the aching words queen Warsan Shire. Lines from her incredible For Women Who Are Difficult to Love. I remember the first time I heard that poem. It made me stop and go “WELL DAMB.” There’s a line that I wish Bey woulda used in this film. It goes: “You can’t make homes out of human beings. Someone should have already told you that.” WHEW.
Beyonce is at her best, at her most grown, at her most creative and LEMONADE is the shit. Legit. Like… I’m trying to find a word for it like “amazing” but I feel like I need to describe it in cuss words. It’s the fucking shit. For so many reasons. Let me count them.
It’s visually stunning
In the beginning when she falls off a building and lands in water, I almost gasped. That entire sequence was scrumptious. The team behind this film are badasses.
Again, I thought Formation was shot really well. But THIS? This is new layers of amazing. I am not a big visuals geek and this was like a party for my eyes. The mini-movie traveled through various styles for each song on the album. Sometimes, it was in color, sometimes black and white but the entire time, it was an eye feast. It was gritty when it needed to be, pretty as hell in other places, dark when it called for it, and even if I watched it silently, I’d probably still find it interesting.
I mean, Beyonce is gorgeous to look at but her face wasn’t even a distraction from the rest of the dopeness around her. It was just beautifully shot from start to finish.
The lyrics are gut punches
As I was watching LEMONADE, I took 9 pages of notes. A lot of my notes were lyrics from the songs, which packed a powerful punch. This wasn’t about being polite. It was about speaking some truths, no matter how ugly they are. It was about anger, betrayal, and responding to beloved’s fuckshit and roaming peen.
There were some dope one-liners all up through this thing. Each song had at least one line that had me go WHOA.
My favorite is of course: “He better call Becky with the good hair.”
CALL HER GOOD HAIR HAVING ASS IF YOU WANT TO. THAT’S GON BE YOUR ASS!
“You can taste the dishonesty. It’s all over your breath” – Pray you catch me
I bet it smells like funyuns.
“I don’t wanna lose my pride but I’ll fuck up a bitch.” – Hold Up
Some bitches deserve to be fucked up, Bey. They try it often.
“I am the dragon breathing fire. Beautiful mane I’m the lion.” – Don’t Hurt Yourself
See? I knew she was the Khaleesi. Let em know! (as you see, I’m ready for Game of Thrones tonight)
“Looking at my watch, he shoulda been home. Today I regret the night I put that ring on.” – Sorry
It be like that sometimes.
Basically, she comes for Jay-Z’s neck HARD. Told him that she’s the baddest in the game and his God complex still ain’t letting him act right. BLOOP. The lyrics are the right amount of shady and I’m here for them.
The costumes are fierce
Bey has never been one to slack on her #ALPHETS. This video is no different. The yellow dress in “Hold Up” was delicious.
The lace onesie with a cape in “6 Inch.” The red dress with the silver head piece that she wore as she sat amidst flames was everything. The ankara dress she wore throughout, and ended the video rocking. I mean COMME DES FACKONS and have us swooning, why don’tcha?
In the Blackest year ever, Beyonce continues to turn up the levels of Onyx. LEMONADE was an ode to diasporic Blackness. It starts with Bey rocking some braids with baby hair, to prepare people for all that Nubian. She had women in all types of hairdos sprinkled through the film. There’s righteous afros, luscious weaves and braids, standing around looking like an army of ancestral blessings.
But what stood out so prominently in this Black ass video was Bey’s homage to afro-spiritualism. From her “Sorry” song up, she featured elements of Ifa religion, with dancers, the face painting, and even a water ritual. In the words of Yoruba people, “awon omo egbe” showed up.
Her connection to that divine was as Black as she could get. She talked about generational curses, and breaking them. She gave glory to the Orishas throughout this video. SO BLACK.
This project is FUBU. For us, by us. It doesn’t give a damb about white gaze. It is for Black people. Black women, to be specific. Everyone else can watch but it ain’t for you. She even quotes Malcolm X saying “The most disrespected woman in America is the black woman. The most unprotected person in America is the black woman.” TELL THE TRUTH AND SHAME THE DEVIL.
The Black Girl Magic Cameos
This video was created by and starring Black Girl Magic. It centered us, saw us and praised us. It acknowledged our pain and gave room to our struggles and told us we could be mad about it all. It also showed that we can heal, surrounded by beautiful, bold, broken, Black women who find their way to wholeness.
Serena Williams came through and twerked and I relished it. This is a woman who is constantly put on the defense for her body, her talent and her entire being.
She dares to walk with her head straight, beat bitches’ asses on the tennis court and find beauty in her body. People come for her constantly and give her a thousand reasons to doubt herself. For her to be in this video, dropping it down in a onesie and daring someone to say some shit? I LIVED. Her and Beyonce sitting on their throne next to each other was perfect.
Then in the song Freedom with Kendrick Lamar, we saw the mothers of fallen Black boys like Trayvon Martin and Michael Brown, holding their sons’ pictures. We SEE you. We feel your pain. And we rise from all of it.
And then Beyonce had us get squad envy, sitting on a porch with Zendaya, Amandla Stenberg, Ibeyi, Chloe and Hallee.
Quvenzhane Wallis was holding Blue Ivy’s hand in one scene and I wanted to jump through the screen and high five everyone. From the elders to the young’uns. There was multi-generational love.
The video got extra meaning as we watched Hattie, Jay-Z’s grandmother celebrate her 90th birthday. She tells us “I was given lemons so I made lemonade.”
This isn’t just a collection of “Fuck that dude” songs. This is Beyoncé’s exploration of what happens when we place our hearts into the hands of men and boys who can’t live up to expectations. Beyond husbands and boyfriends, there are the fathers who break our hearts too. There are the brothers who disappoint us. What happens when we lose ourselves in the men in our lives? How do we come back from the brink of destruction?
It is beyond infidelity. It is about love in all its flaws and disappointment, but also in its ability to lift us up and our ability to move past it all.
Above all of that, it is a permission slip for those who have been hurt to show out. Bey ain’t necessarily saying that you should go bust out some windows. She is saying that the anger is part of the healing. Sit in the fire at night but come out of it in the morning. AGAIN: KHALEESI.
I also enjoy how LEMONADE ends, with displays of love in all forms. Black love, love amongst people of different colors, queer love, straight love and HER love. She shows her mom, Tina Knowles Lawson and her husband Richard Lawson. She shows home footage of her, Jay-Z and Blue, looking as cute as they can. We see video of her and him getting their IV tattoo on their ring fingers. Because things that fall apart can still come together again. At the end of all of this, she is still Beyoncé Knowles Carter, so “Ashes to ashes, dust to side chicks.”
LEMONADE is Beyoncé’s tea and it’s the perfect type of sour that ends sweet. Redemption came and it’s made me appreciate her so much more.
We said we crave artists who are pushing their limits of creativity? Well, let’s not overlook Bey. She’s growing, she’s woke and she’s here. Her voice is clear, her message is strong and our girl is taking no prisoners.
P.S. I will try one month membership to the BeyHive. I drank the kool-aid and the LEMONADE.
P.P.S. But, I still won’t be subscribing to TIDAL.
P.P.P.S. Yes, Rachel Roy shoulda just STFU because her posting and Instagram caption with “good hair, don’t care” made her seem like the Becky that Bey was talmbout. Now she’s getting dragged all up and down. In the words of Bunk from The Wire “There you go giving a fuck when it wasn’t your turn to give a fuck.” People don’t know that shutting the fuck up is always free. She shoulda been quiet.
P.P.P.P.S. White journalists or writers who are about to whine about LEMONADE, please stop right there. Put the pens down because NO ONE CURR.
I’ve been waiting ALL DAY for this. I just finished watching Lemonade in its entirety and I am standing up doing the slow clap. I was in tears when I saw Zendaya and Amandla perched in that tree. And again with Blue and Quvenzhane holding hands… the symbolism abounds and I agree, for us by us.
You just shouldn’t mess with Creatives or you run the risk of being in their “book” (song, painting, what have you…). “Becky” and Jay have suspect intellect.
You made me cry again Luvvie.
Luvvie, there are no words, you summed up everything perfectly.
Didn’t she, tho?!
I’m sitting here nodding and going, “Yep…Yasss!” all the way through. PERFECTION.
Ma’am I applied for my temporary beyhive visa jist this morning. I fluffed out my afro, found the most rebellious tee I got and cut it up and have been doin all the conjuring, ancestral dances durin my house cleaning today. What a journey. Scuse me while my #blackgirlmagic hangs out.
TRANSCENDENT. the word you are looking for is transcendent. it is absolutely beyond.
Perfect. Absolutely perfect. Thank you for putting into words what I was way too emotional to convey.
“This is Beyoncé’s exploration of what happens when we place our hearts into the hands of men and boys who can’t live up to expectations.”
This right here spoke to me. I am dealing with this fact right now. So this project touched me. I felt it. I felt it all. I am so in awe of the growth Beyonce has shown. Proud member of the BeyHive
Push ALL THE WAY through with this Luvvie!!
Bey knows she got me reveling in my Black womanhood today. My twist out is bomb, my melanin is poppin severely and these white kids are gonna have to deal with me stomping around this campus in my combat boots and Black Lives Matter shirts ALL DAYUM WEEK.
Queen slayed ever inch of my life and I thank God I have friends in the Hive who are willing to share their Tidal password.
Damn Luvvie. I mean damn. Everything, everything you said and she did. I have no words but I comprehend completely. My soul and heart sing it.
This here “This is Beyoncé’s exploration of what happens when we place our hearts into the hands of men and boys who can’t live up to expectations. Beyond husbands and boyfriends, there are the fathers who break our hearts too. ”
Truth. My sister recounted a conversation she had at the kitchen table with her baby daddy one EARLY morning.
She was up early because he hadn’t come home – out tricking as we say. And she and his mother were alone in those early moments of sunlight and revelation, Ma’dear saw her pain and embarrassement in that quiet moment in the Manless house.
And she dropped some realness on her (that reflects how sadly universal this kind of disappointment can be)
“These ni**as ain’t bout shit.
And my sister gasped her breath and quietly nodded in accepting the reality of that moment in being disappointed and hurt by someone she cared about so much (at the time).
Wow. That’s so powerful. Damn. 🙁
And right there is the beginning, middle and end of a novel. Beautiful.
You deserve a Masters in breaking ish down. I swear you’re pure genius at being able to analyze lyrics, shows unlike anyone else.. Thanks !!!
When some ish is about to drop :
1) get excited to experience it.
2) get more excited to read what Luvvie lays down about it.
and repeat and repeat!!
I guess we all have accepted Beyoncé as our personal Lord and Savior….
lol. Nah…Bey said it herself in the video, “God is God and I am not.”
Yeah, watching this was amaze-balls. It was trippy as hell and gorgeous and scary all at the same time. I loved seeing Serena looking like a grown-up “Single Ladies” backup singer / young Chaka Khan. And yep, the yellow dress made me gasp. 🙂
Thanks for your words and thoughts and perspective.
Scary why? Just curious.
My soul sings, “Yes!!!!” This and Lemonade were exactly what I needed to slowly bring me out of my purple haze of mourning His Royal Badness. ~ THANK YOU!☔️????????????
I was just wondering if that was Matthew Knowles and his youngest daughter jumping on the bed in one scene. If so, that’s a pretty big moment that no one is discussing. Overall, it was a nice video.
That was him and Blue Ivy.
I doubt she’ll ever acknowledge her other siblings.
When that “my daddy was a magician. He could be in two places at once” was recited, I was like, “Yep. Mr. Knowles and his outside kid.”
Totally , 1000% percent agree with all you have said!
“P..S. I will try one month membership to the BeyHive. I drank the kool-aid and the LEMONADE.
P.P.S. But, I still won’t be subscribing to TIDAL.”
Small Dixie cup sized sips of dat kool aid.
As usual Luvvie, you came through with the truest of breakdowns!!! There was Beyoncé – the teenage star, Beyoncé – the coming of age adult, Beyoncé – the Diva and then this – Beyoncé – The Grown Ass Woman! There was so much beauty in our sisters, pain in our hearts from the loss of life of our brothers, our children to the hope for forgiveness, renewed love and the desperately needed Love of the Black Woman! I am here for every bit of it!!!
“You look nothing like your mother, you look everything like your mother”
My 77 year old mother and I watched this together and were mesmerized. What a beautiful, moving tribute piece this is. The words and the feelings even resonated for two old white women. It wasn’t written FOR us but it spoke to us just the same.
This gave me so much life yesterday. I went ahead and gave J my coins for the Tidal family plan. I’m seriously eyeing mini me’s 529 account for them Chicago Bey Tix. I mean, she can always go to school in Europe right?
“This is Beyoncé’s exploration of what happens when we place our hearts into the hands of men and boys who can’t live up to expectations.”
Like her husband?
(So confused right now. So, so, so confused.)
Her husband and her father.
Perfection!! I am so all in my feelings this weekend. I didn’t need to see Lemonade yet but I couldn’t resist. You summed it up perfectly! FUBU! I am posting your link to another site where once again THEY are losing their minds for no reason. It’s not for them.
AweLuv, this is my first time gracing your page, and I must say, you words are awe-inspiring, moving and I am affected.
More tired propaganda from beyondme. Magic is what a witch performs on people. this is more voodoo from her “brand”. Im not buying into it.
I agree. When someone says “I plugged my menses with pages from the holy book”, you have to question why is she using the bible as a tampon? And when did this become art and not blasphemy? Ehh….she said she levitated and saw the devil too. Are we going to ignore the disturbing nature of the words and images though? She sat in a ring of fire and proudly displayed her ankh necklace around her neck. It was demonic and wasn’t fooled by the fake messaging of infedility. It was beyond that alright.
I soooo agree!!! The album is lovely but ENOUGH with all the Beyoncé is everything already! For fucksake she needs to sell an album! She knew that people were past the whole life is wonderful and I am so hawt bullshit! She needed to put out a ‘real’ album! Give it to her marketing team – they know she needs to push sales. But we are not so lost that we can’t see that – no??? Kai!
Thank you!!! I was starting to think everyone was deaf and blind.
So? There are other faiths than Christianity. And other holy books…. If Beyonce’s not Christian, I’m here for it
LOVED er’ry bit of it! I’m not a Stan but this was Bey all grown and smelling herself. I say YES!
I couldn’t wait to read your thoughts on this. And as usual you slay!
Lemonade was captivating. From the first second through the last. I may be getting too deep in my introspection but I saw Beyonce channeling several great artists in various scenes… M. J. when she was smashing car windows and standing on top of cars….Kelis when she ran the big monster truck over several cars…Missy Elliott when she did the “jerky” yet dope choreography with the tribal face paint…Lil’Kim (when she was still black) sitting on that throne while Serena was twerking…Luvvie your synopsis was EVERYTHING. It helped me understand some of the symbolism that went WAYYYYY over my head. Overall is is a genius work of art. I think Jay is going to get me for a few of my coins.. I’m going to have a get a Tidal membership. DAMBMIT!
You have a great eye. I will have to watch it again with these references in mind.
I have never been one for the hive. I like some of her music but just felt she was there for the younger generation. Ms. Bey, let me be one of the first to welcome you to the “Grown Women’s ” club. As I stand here giving you the slow clap, I am in awe of this right here. You just flipped over the Spades table while someone was running a Boston. You completely and honestly stand in your truth and own it. Girl, handle that business. If forgiveness is where you are live it but don’t ever let him forget you are the Queen.
I felt a lot of that dragging was about Daddy Matthew Knowles.
Someone asked this in Twitter and it made me think…
But do y’all think she was talking about her miscarriage when she said “here lies the mother of my children both living and dead”?
Chile… It was deep
I generally enjoyed lemonade . But this felt like an overall “men are horrible” collection of songs.
Lemonade is so…everything.
After watching it, I decided to become a full fledged Beyonce fan. I’ve always been a fan of her work ethic, but now, I’m a Beyonce fan.
I don’t think I’ll ever become a stan, but for now, a fan is what I am.
i’m not a member of the beyhive and didn’t see all of the Lemonade (while waiting for Game of Thrones) but
it was visually stunning (what I did see)
she conquered whatever mountain was in front of her, creatively, figuratively, literally.
Luvvie, you did a hella job breaking it down.
that video made me want to see all my ex’s and say
“Screw you, screw you, screw you, F–k you, F–you, and the horses you rode in on into my life.” Cause I damn sure am doing a whole lot better since you walked out.
I might have to look into a 10 day beyhive intro offer
I’m glad I’m not the only one who could see this project is so much deeper than whether or not Jay Z cheated. It’s the deepest project she’s ever produced and like you, I’ve signed up for my trial membership of the Beyhive because I’m here for ALLADIS. I just need them to get their reactionary ways under control because even though Rachel Roy should’ve, indeed, STFU, I still can’t get with the swarm. The hive attacks over the silliest shit without even thinking or using Google first, and I can’t get with that part lol
Come thru Luvvie. Come all the way damn thru!
I was so scarred and damaged from the loss of Prince that I didn’t think I’d enjoy Lemonade. But as a major Bey fan, I sat through it and it hit me in the soul. It made me relive past pain and feel everything and nothing at the same time. I also felt guilty for enjoying an amazing work of art when my favorite artist of all time had taken his final bow. I then remembered that he lived for his art and died while he was still very active and doing the thing he loved so much so I forgave myself by the end of the movie because I truly think Prince would have loved Lemonade and the growth and maturation of Beyonce. I certainly do. This is her best work.
<3 but look now! Prince moved his ENTIRE catalog to Tidal; maybe the Purple One was on to something?
[…] Beyoncé’s LEMONADE is Sweet Tea […]
I, too, thought Formation was all that and then some. Tonight, I sat down and watched Lemonade and I felt as if I watched a narrative so tight, so cohesive, so painfully beautiful that if you had told me it was written by Maya Angelou, directed by Ava DuVernay, released by Oprah and breathed on by God, I would believe you. Beyoncé has surely come into her own.
This is love in all of it’s rocky road glory. There is no such thing as perfect love (except from God). Every other kind of love can break your heart. And, we have to chose whether to let the heartbreak break us, grow us, strengthen us or divide us. It’s a free choice which has no shame in the decision. I am so proud of Beyoncé and the team behind this creation.
PS. I have no desire to be part of the Beyhive. Groupthink is dangerous. Besides, though her castle and kingdom is larger than mine, I’m a queen in my own right…bow down. I earned this sh&t. 🙂
“I felt as if I watched a narrative so tight, so cohesive, so painfully beautiful that if you had told me it was written by Maya Angelou, directed by Ava DuVernay, released by Oprah and breathed on by God.”
WELP!! DATS ALL FOLKS!!
Absolutely loved your interpretation. I was again so disappointed that the only thing the media took away from this work of art was BECKY W THE GOOD HAIR” ):-(
There were so many messages of faith, promise, family, strength, forgiveness, sisterhood, sexy, and support….. really people ?
I too, haven’t bought into to TIDAL. We’ve invested so much into iTunes Music and my kid would lose her whole catalogue, which includes artists that haven’t joined TIDAL yet. Guess I have to go buy the CD, but wait,,, is she releasing her album on CD??
I bought it from Amazon.
[…] and others from women I know (or at least follow) and respect in an Internet kind of way like Awesomelyluvvie and Ijeoma Oluo along with a Very Smart Brotha Damon Young. So I viewed Lemonade with an […]
I LUV U LUVVVVIEEEE!
Preach. Preach. Preach.
[…] Lemonade is Sweet tea by Awesomely Luvvie […]
I’ve loved every single thing that Bey has done. She can’t be beat. She is on a different planet than everybody else. It’s like that good friend you have – you might not get to see them that often but they’re always in your heart and thoughts. With that said, Lemonade is phenomenal. Her best album. Majestic. Outwordly. She combines talent, persona, charm and goodness in one super sexy body. You doubt someone like her can exist…someone with that artistic value and that amount of integrity. And yet she thankfully does!!
[…] Beyoncé’s LEMONADE is Sweet Tea by Luvvie via AwesomelyLuvvie.com […]
[…] BEYONCÉ‘S LEMONADE IS SWEET TEA | awesomelyluvvie.com […]
[…] BEYONCÉ‘S LEMONADE IS SWEET TEA | awesomelyluvvie.com […]
[…] Plenty of incredible journalists have already written about the album—especially Black women (Luvvie, Melissa Harris-Perry, Zandria F. Robinson) given that “Lemonade” is an ode to them […]
[…] that end, these are some stories about Lemonade written by Black women that you should read. Also, go read some of […]
Y’all I missed watching this ISH on HBO by like 20 mins and had to subscribe to Tidal to watch it. Which I did. And I just finished and scurried on over here to read this recap.
LUVVIE YOU ARE IN MY SPIRIT AND MY MIND GRAPES.
I am not even that big of a Bey fan but this piece of stunning visual and lyrical perfection has me calling up the BeyHive asking for some honey.
[…] talk about LEMONADE. Beyoncé’s LEMONADE is Sweet Tea = best review I’ve read. And this is hilarious. Lemonade and Vulnerability contains gems like […]
[…] Beyoncé’s LEMONADE is Sweet Tea […]
love you luvvie! thank you for linking to our podcast!
Amazing review! I’m a white chick and all of these visuals make me feel less-than for not being black. As much as that stings, it is about time.
[…] Luvvie Ajayi – “Above all of that, it is a permission slip for those who have been hurt to show out. Bey ain’t necessarily saying that you should go bust out some windows. She is saying that the anger is part of the healing. Sit in the fire at night but come out of it in the morning. AGAIN: KHALEESI.” [Read the rest – Beyoncé’s LEMONADE is Sweet Tea] […]