Analysis Of Beyoncé's Music Album Lemonade
Beyoncé is famous for her expressive ideals, and how she uniquely describes her point of view through her music. Not only does she bring to light the struggles of living in a race war, but she eases into describing how that adversity has made her a better woman. Her hit album, Lemonade, is the artist’s sixth album, described by editor Freja Dam of Spin News as “a conceptual project based on every woman’s journey of self-knowledge and healing”. What would presumably shock most of her demographic is the simplicity of her cover, as compared to the intricate contents of the album itself. Even through its simplicity, however, the image tells an important story. Lemonade is packed with powerful imagery and shows Beyoncé’s tenacity towards black rights and police brutality and as well as institutional racism.
The album title was seemingly inspired by Beyoncé’s grandmother Agnéz Deréon, as well as her husband Jay-Z’s grandmother, Hattie White. During her 90th birthday speech, Hattie said, “I had my ups and downs, but I always find the inner strength to pull myself up. I was served lemons, but I made lemonade.” It isn’t, therefore, too difficult to assume that the collection’s title is a celebration of metaphorical lemonade-making; an ode to working through hardship, making a name for herself, and becoming a better person as a result. Additionally, preceding her song “all night”, is a homemade lemonade recipe from her childhood. Back in the day, homemade recipes, namely drinks such as lemonade, were staples in less fortunate homes. Knowing this, her title may have also been created by the small pleasures she had experienced as a black kid of a broken society. This approach can easily appeal to not only adults who grew up in a household of financial hardship, but it may also gain an empathetic approach to those who have struggled in the war of “superior race.” Also, it appears as though the title ‘Lemonade’ was deliberately minimized as if the memory of her childhood adversity isn’t what defines her today, so even though it is the representation of her album, it isn’t who she identifies as currently. This notion can be supported because on the cover it seems as if she was wearing a designer fur coat yet a well-known ethnic hairstyle. It seems as though she is trying to convey that she can be both, a proud black woman as well as a successful one, a dream she never thought would come to light growing up. Because of her overwhelming success, she has more than enough credibility to disclose this statement.
Elsewhere, the album heavily mentions both the singer’s personal struggles and some of the issues faced by black women today and throughout history.
At one point, she features an audio clip of Malcolm X preaching the words “’The most disrespected woman in America is the Black woman.”, which supported the theme of her piece: equality. Hearing it from a popular speaker from the past was a rather brilliant way to push the envelope of her claim. The video was passionate and unashamedly political, visually recalling the Black power movement and historical conflict between black protestors and the police. A few of her pieces featured mothers whose sons had been killed directly due to police brutality or race-fueled crime, including Trayvon Martin’s mother Sybrina Fulton, who is pictured holding a photograph of her son. After his killer was acquitted of murder, his death sparked the Black Lives Matter protest. This insight supports the fact that Knowles was heavily referencing the struggle of being an ethnic person throughout her album, which is why she most likely felt the need to style her hair in a way that would not be considered something someone of power would be seen wearing on a cover. Her progressive behavior towards the sensitive subject sparked an ample number of women and children to speak up for their own rights, and develop a reputation outside of their ethnicity.
Referencing black history as well as the Black Lives Matter movement, Lemonade features New Orleans repeatedly because several of the shots were filmed on the location. Knowles is known to have a history back in New Orleans, a city infested with ethnic struggle. The artist displayed a few clips of the city’s damage post-Katrina, which near and dear to an overwhelming amount of people’s hearts across America. Even though she showed the devastation that reigned down upon the city, it is believed that it wasn’t a plea for pity, yet a sense of pride towards the advancements that the city has created on its own. This juxtaposes what she created on her cover of her wearing a fur coat but representing the struggle she started off with. The artist essentially displayed New Orleans throughout her whole album in its stages of adversity in order to relate to the notion of starting from nothing, and advancing into something beautiful. New Orleans is, Hands-down, the epitome of this, and has battle scars to prove it.
Looking at the cover of “Lemonade”, many would interpret it as nothing more than an opportunity for gloat, or even conceit. She is wearing a nice fur coat and seems to be perched on nice car. Little does anyone that she “spun gold out of this [difficult] life,” as she admired her grandmother doing as well. The history that Knowles ties into her music as well as the ongoing battle for equal opportunities can broaden the spectrum of her main point: When life gives you lemons…..make Lemonade.
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