Beyonce’s new visual album, Lemonade, is densely packed with references to feminism, her Southern heritage, historical nods and so much more. Undoubtedly, fans and media alike will be unpacking all the gams loaded on the LP. But, in the meantime, to get you started, REVOLT has provided a beginner’s guide to understanding B’s latest collection.
It’s One Visual
Unlike her album album, 2013’s Beyoncé, this set isn’t a series of music videos cobbled together with songs to make one collection. Instead, Lemonade is a short film bundle as “a conceptual project based on every woman’s journey of self-knowledge and healing.”
Becky With The Good Hair
“Sorry,” a track about a scorned woman who is cheated on ends with B telling the antagonist to “call Becky with the good hair.” How do we say this? A Becky is an untoward female who is more accepting of a man’s wayward behavior. Maybe even, snobbish, as the Urban Dictionary points out, among other definitions. She’s not a friendly, as some of the social reactions suggest. Or.
Serena Williams, Matthew Knowles, Jay Z and Blue Ivy are some of the easier ones to spot, however, Lemonade also featured appearances from actresses Zendaya, Amandla Stenberg and Quvenzhané Wallis. A poignant moment later in the special includes the mothers of Trayvon Martin and Michael Brown, respectively, in Sybrina Fulton and Lesley McSpadden.
Beyoncé worked with some familiar visual artists for Lemonade, from Melina Matsoukas (“Upgrade U,” “Diva,” “Pretty Hurts”), Jonas Akerlund (“Haunted”) Todd Tourso (her creative director) and Dikayl Rimmaschto (“Bang Bang”) to new collaborators Mark Romanek and Kahlil Joseph.
Lemonade is a concept collection and a visual album, but it’s not without it’s fair share of important audio highlights: a snippet from a Malcolm X speech serves as an introduction element and Beyoncé recites selections from “Warsan Versus Melancholy (The Seven Stages of Being Lonely)” via Warsan Shire, a Somali-British poet in her late ’20s.
Words like Anger, Denial and Emptiness appeared in between songs on television screens and despite the initial urge to brand these song titles, the copy is a nod to the Kübler-Ross model of grief. The five stages officially are denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance; they first appeared in the 1969 book “On Death and Dying,” by Swiss psychiatrist Elisabeth Kübler-Ross.