“Lemonade Stand” : A Critical Analysis on Loving the Black Body in Beyonce’s Lemonade
Davis, Julia Marie
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Just two year after the release of Lemonade Beyoncé became the first Black woman to headline Coachella. Not only did she make history, but she was able to define who she was an artist. Lemonade allowed Beyoncé to define who she wanted to be as an artist. Though she was seen as a less serious, sexualized artist in the past, she used her film to tell the world who she really is. She is a proud, Black, mother, who uses her music to impact the community in a positive way. This vision that Beyoncé created of herself was further solidified at her coachella performance. She showcased Black culture at its finest by presenting steppers, drumlines, Black greek life, among other key identities within the Black community. Lemonade and Baychella allowed Beyoncé to be recognized as a serious artist who has important messages to spread. To understand how Beyoncé challenges the way the Black body is seen within the United States one can use Harvey young and Nicole Fleetwoods theoretical frameworks to analyze her album Lemonade. The Black body is something that doesn't actually exist, but is really a combination of stereotypes put in place by American society. This can be seen throughout history when looking at instances such as the display and dehumanization of Sarah Baartman in the 1800’s or the minstrel shows which often depicted exaggerated and false characteristics of Black men and women. Though these happened in the past the shadow that they cast still falls over Black men and women today and it affects their everyday lives. People often fail to see the real person but instead see a version of Blackness which has been cultivated over time. Throughout Lemonade Beyoncé asks us to question this version of Blackness and the truth behind it. She also helps Black men and especially women see that they are not this version of Blackness which is so often portrayed in society. The angry Black female, The dangerous Black male, the promiscuous, sexual being that so many others see when they encounter a Black body. She shows and tells women how to love themselves and why it is important while touching on key issues the Black community faces. This includes: police brutality, promiscuity, anger, poverty, and the silencing of voices.