I want you to watch this clip:
One could say, “See Bey! Oprah told your a$$ not to talk about your business” because as Beyonce herself mentioned in the clip, the tea always becomes greater than the art.
For example even with all of the imagery of Lemonade, the “Becky” story still continues to dominate the mainstream media to the point where all the “Beckys” of the world are getting unwanted or wanted attention.
This morning I read an article about the exploitation of the black woman’s plight by artists like Beyonce who use their own story and the stories of others as a commodity.
I know that sounds bad, but it is true! At the end of the day Beyonce knows her market, she knows how to sell what she has to offer and she knows our pain points as black women and as black folk especially since she is wholeheartedly a part of that demographic.
Here is what the article said:
Viewers who like to suggest Lemonade was created solely or primarily for black female audiences are missing the point. Commodities, irrespective of their subject matter, are made, produced, and marketed to entice any and all consumers. Beyoncé’s audience is the world and that world of business and money-making has no color.
What makes this production—this commodity—daring is its subject matter. Obviously Lemonade positively exploits images of black female bodies—placing them at the center, making them the norm. In this visual narrative, there are diverse representations (black female bodies come in all sizes, shapes, and textures with all manner of big hair). Portraits of ordinary everyday black women are spotlighted, poised as though they are royalty.
The unnamed, unidentified mothers of murdered young black males are each given pride of place. Real life images of ordinary, overweight not dressed up bodies are placed within a visual backdrop that includes stylized, choreographed, fashion plate fantasy representations.
Despite all the glamorous showcasing of Deep South antebellum fashion, when the show begins Beyoncé as star appears in sporty casual clothing, the controversial hoodie. Concurrently, the scantily-clothed dancing image of athlete Serena Williams also evokes sportswear. (Speaking of commodification, in the real life frame Beyoncé’s new line of sportswear, Ivy Park, is in the process of being marketed right now).
Lemonade offers viewers a visual extravaganza—a display of black female bodies that transgresses all boundaries. It’s all about the body, and the body as commodity. This is certainly not radical or revolutionary.
Without a doubt, I do believe that Beyonce is telling her story as well as the story of many of us which is why we identify so much with most or some of her songs and visuals. However outside of that, she has learned to reserve the interviews and conversations about her personal life to the music.
In other words instead of making a quick 100 thousand for an exclusive with People Magazine, why not allow the world to pay for her story and score big time, like hundreds of millions big!
There is no way to deny the sheer artistry of Beyonce’s capitalist adventures, nobody does it better, she keeps us guessing and wanting more because at the end of the day there is no resolve.
In Lemonade we are reminded of that one time we were betrayed by the one we love, the time we felt like breaking and ripping everyone apart over it and how we found solace in the end not by moving on but by ‘getting through it’. The story has not ended, we are just in a good place for now.
It is only as black women and all women resist patriarchal romanticization of domination in relationships can a healthy self-love emerge that allows every black female, and all females, to refuse to be a victim. UltimatelyLemonade glamorizes a world of gendered cultural paradox and contradiction. It does not resolve.
As Beyoncé proudly proclaims in the powerful anthem “Freedom”: “I had my ups and downs, but I always find the inner-strength to pull myself up.” To truly be free, we must choose beyond simply surviving adversity, we must dare to create lives of sustained optimal well-being and joy.
In that world, the making and drinking of lemonade will be a fresh and zestful delight, a real life mixture of the bitter and the sweet, and not a measure of our capacity to endure pain, but rather a celebration of our moving beyond pain.
That is the beauty of capitalism, the story doesn’t end because then we would run out of angles to sell/tell. At the end of the day, the capitalist lessons of Lemonade remain the same despite all of the various interpretations.
Nothing sells more than connections through identification, your own truths, so why not go for the highest dollar. Just like the little girl on the corner on Saturday mornings, when life hands you lemons you need to make lemonade and then sell the hell out of that sh*t.
With that said, Cheers Beyonce, you still the real MVP.
Bell Hooks has the most poignant critique of Beyonce’s Lemonade to date – Read her entire article here!