I have always been a HUGE Beyoncé fan. From Destiny's Child to the Beyhive, I have always been in line. But I am not so impressed with the new Beyoncé anymore; she seems to have become less of a person as of late and more of a marketing strategy. I was busy throwing Mr. President #1's 6th birthday party the day her Lemonade visual album premiered, so I initially had no idea what the heck was going on. I actually only learned about the video and album because social media was flooded with Beyoncé news and posts about how she is "empowering" women again. When I heard the news, I just had to go and check her out! With that being said, let me add just one thing...I truly believe there is a striking difference that separates artists like Prince and Michael Jackson from the rest in the enthralling and palatable way they delivered their message through music. Although I agree Beyoncé's Lemonade was a true form of artistic freedom and creativity, she may have missed the mark for me this time.
I totally get the message! I do! Women [as portrayed in the video] absolutely know how to make something out of NOTHING. When we're dealt a bad hand in life, we have to figure out how to make the best of it with what we have. But why does the message have to be relayed with such anger and rage? While I appreciate the intimation of responsibility, happiness, and reconciliation we see toward the end of the video, Beyoncé still encourages and preaches about behaviors that I, as a parent, teach my children to never, ever engage in. I honestly don't really care for the rage-filled maniac Beyoncé portrays in the video -- especially since there are young children watching her go on this violent rampage. Did anyone else see the imagery? Idols like Beyoncé are making an impression on our children with statements like these, and I have to admit...it makes me a little nervous.
There is no denying the fact that Beyoncé is a huge role model for young girls. So many teenage girls and young adults who look up to her can gain access to her music through the click of a button on the Internet whether they have parental approval or not! You'd think this is something such an international icon would keep in mind when she is releasing music to the world with such a strong message. Now you can hate me if you want to, but you know I'm right this time. President Obama and Michelle Obama once called Beyoncé a role model for their two girls. Michelle Obama even said if she could choose to be someone other than herself, she would be Beyoncé. I wonder if President and Michelle Obama still see Beyoncé in the same light after watching the first part of Lemonade. Although Beyoncé definitely speaks to womanhood and empowerment in this video, the whole notion of her empowering women and young girls through the album is slightly misdirected in my opinion. And you know what...I'm raising two little boys. Our responsibility as women should be to empower THEM and raise them up, not bring them down.
Some people might argue that other mega-artists like Prince used their earlier music to talk about sex and other raunchy topics, but Prince did so in sort of mysterious way that only "grown folks" would understand. His music was full of ambiguous rhymes and innuendos that some of us never understood! I mean, I had no idea what he was talking about when he sang the line, "I guess I must be dumb, 'Cause you had a pocket full of horses, Trojan and some of them used" in Little Red Corvette until I was an adult! The lyrics were ambiguous enough not to offend his listeners, but we all know what a music genius he was anyway. Artists have to be extremely vigilant in the messages they are disseminating to the world because those little ears are listening very carefully.
With all of that being said, I really hope parents are very conscientious when using Beyoncé as a resource to motivate little girls to be empowered. As a parent, I'll tell you what I took from the Lemonade video, and it wasn't as empowering as some of you might think. Other than the fact that we know Beyoncé carries hot sauce in her purse, and she likes to eat collard greens and cornbread, there are some incredible lessons we learned from Lemonade, but here are the four not-so-good things I learned from Lemonade that I would caution some of you parents to filter:
1. It's okay to let someone get the best of you.
2. When you get upset, just go and "f*** a b**** up."
3. Go ahead and air your dirty laundry for the world to hear.
4. It's culturally acceptable to refer to yourself using the B word.
These four points are somewhat self-explanatory, so I don't need to go into too much detail, but I will say that although Beyoncé delivered a powerful, thought-provoking piece, there are still a number of things that did not sit well with me. It is NOT okay to let others get the best of you. Jealousy, rage, and revenge are not admiral attributes. Violence is not the answer either, so do not go around smashing in the windows of a car with a bat, or threatening to beat someone up because you can't control your emotions. Please do not air your dirty laundry for the world to hear either; personal problems should be resolved at home. Last but not least, the word b**** is NOT a term of endearment. Please do not refer to yourself as such, or other people for that matter.
Icons and artists are who they are because their music and art has a way of invoking these emotions in all of us we cannot tap into on our own. These incredible artists like Beyoncé serve as role models for the next generation, and although circumstances are what they are, and society is what it is, there is a certain way these lessons should be communicated to a larger and broader audience. I admire artists like Beyoncé and the few others who have been able to transcend race, gender, and other differences in the world that separate and isolate us from one another. Michael Jackson said, "It don't matter if you're black or white," and Prince didn't care what gender you were or where you came from. Throughout history, artists have always had a place in the fight for mainstream social rights issues, but as previously stated, they had an admirable way of doing so, in my opinion at least.
Lemonade is not for everyone (I think we all understand that), but someone who holds so much star power and command of an international audience cold use that platform to make an incredible impact for everyone. Beyoncé portrayed something that most of us can relate to: the good, the bad, and the ugly of a relationship. We've all dealt with ups and downs in our relationships because we're human and that's just what happens, but we need to be mindful of the way we conduct ourselves in the midst of these issues and indiscretions. Music and imagery is a powerful form of artistic expression that can go a long way. Let's use these tools wisely. Our voices are louder when words are spoken in unity. We can change the world and have a greater impact if we commit to and work at it TOGETHER. Even though it's an old-time cliché, I wholeheartedly agree...when life gives you lemons, go ahead and make some lemonade. I am still in line -- still in formation, but I am going to have to put Lemonade on the back-burner for now.