Beyoncé can do no wrong. She’s the Queen Bey. She’s an extraordinary artist who has brought us some of the best music in the world. Everything from Destiny’s Child’s “Survivor,” one of the strongest anthems for women, to “Run the World (Girls),” a celebration of women ruling all over the world, to “Drunk In Love,” where she reigned over us once again by dropping an entire visual album without a single ounce of marketing.
It’s no surprise to me that LEMONADE has reached an overwhelming number of views and comments in less than 24 hours. But what is surprising to me is reading posts online - by white and black women - saying who does and does not have the right to discuss and write about LEMONADE. And that is a problem.
As a light-brown skinned, Latina woman, I find it appalling that I have to even describe my physical appearance and ethnicity in order to justify the fact that I really enjoyed watching and discussing Beyoncé’s visual album. Why do I have to describe that I have light-brown skin?
Because some in the Internet have made it very clear that not everyone should be able to write about this beautifully crafted work of art.
If this is how the world thought in the 19th and 20th centuries, we would not have been allowed to write and comment on some of history’s greatest works of art.
So if we're not Italian, we shouldn't comment on Michelangelo’s David? And if we're not Dutch, we shouldn't think about what van Gogh’s Starry Night is about? If I'm not a black Brazilian, I cannot enjoy or dance samba? Brits weren't the only ones who loved and identified with 'Hey Jude' or 'All You Need is Love.'
In fact, that is what the world is missing today. Love. If there is one thing we can agree on out of all of this, it’s this: there is too much hate in this world - especially on social media. Hate that is leading us to an ignorant and segregated future of the past. And that is not a future I want to be a part of.
I am open to hearing how the themes and messages in LEMONADE have resonated with women of all colors, shapes and sizes. Because that is how the world learns.
Without these “think pieces” and analyses of what art is, we would not know some of the world’s greatest history lessons. We would not be a cultured society. Art has always been universal.
I know the last thing Beyoncé wants is to divide the world into black and white. Beyoncé is simply giving a voice to the voiceless.
In one of the song breaks in LEMONADE, a Malcolm X voiceover states, “The most disrespected person in America is the black woman. The most unprotected person in America is the black woman. The most neglected person in America is the black woman.”
This is an important part of our history that Americans need to realize, analyze and discuss in order to move forward. If we can't discuss it, we don't grow and learn as a society.
Tidal described LEMONADE as “a conceptual project based on every woman’s journey of self-knowledge and healing."
I won't go into what LEMONADE means to me. The important thing is I related to it as a light-brown skinned, Latina woman. But I still RELATED to it. And there is nothing wrong with that.
I am open to hearing how the themes and messages in LEMONADE have resonated with women of all colors, shapes and sizes. Because that is how the world learns. It’s how we grow as a community.
LEMONADE is a work of art, with influences beyond the black community. The credit list is extensive, including names like Kendrick Lamar, The Weeknd, Diplo, James Blake, Jack White and Vampire Weekend’s Ezra Koenig. The album also included samples of Led Zeppelin's "When The Levee Breaks," Burt Bacharach's "Walk On By" and OutKast's "SpottieOttieDopalicious."
I don't think Beyoncé made the album to divide the world into blacks and whites. Because the world is not black and white. And someone needs to tell the Internet that.