A Black Girl Album

1327 words - 6 pages

I remember a little over a year ago, Beyonce released her extraordinary piece of art we know as Lemonade. It is somewhat funny how this particular album has been the "new wave" as the millennial generation often says when in fact the ideals and symbolism portrayed in this visual album have been seen through the history of music for years. Artists such as Nina Simone, Billie Holiday and Aretha Franklin are just a few examples of black women expressing themselves authentically without worrying about the repercussions of white patriarchal society. Songs such as To be young, gifted and black, Four Women, Strange Fruit, and Respect all touch on major issues that white society never cared to discuss or acknowledge.

It is almost impossible to analyze Beyonc's album without realizing the assertions of blackness portrayed. Before her visual album, a single entitled Formation was released and in my opinion was completely misinterpreted. Although it is hard to not appreciate her aesthetics and unique visuals, the whole idea of this song and video was generalized and manipulated. White women actually quoted Beyonc using the term "get in formation" for the appeal but actually have no idea what that truly means. White female comedians made parodies off of this video for media attention, yet had no idea what "getting in formation" even was. And the people who did pay close attention to her lyrics took it as a "politically charged video". Imagine having the courage to express your own truth and experience come to find out that people are genuinely offended by your authenticity.

As a black girl, I immediately gained a general understanding of the message behind her lyrics in Formation. In the refrain of her song she says "I like my baby heir with baby hair and afros. I like my negro nose with Jackson Five nostrils. Earned all this money but they never take the country out me. I got hot sauce in my bag, swag". Without having any visual context, reading these lyrics provides a sense of an unapologetic attitude. The whole notion of being "unapologetically black" is evident in these lyrics. This means not feeling the need limit and conceal you're "blackness" . Being unapologetically black requires you to be proud of all your characteristics whether that be your demeanor or physical appearance and not having this idea of double consciousness where you feel the need to change depending on your surroundings. Beyonc clearly embraces the physiognomy of the black race when she says "I like my negro nose with Jackson Five nostrils". She also states that she has hot sauce in her bag which is a correlation with black southern culture. She is clearly stating parts of her identity in a non-submissive way. At the same time, she is embracing her roots but is also acknowledging the fact that she is an extremely successful black woman and it is ok to embrace both of those things by saying "earned all this money but they never take the country out me".

It has always b...

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