Seeds: In the last year, Beyoncé’s public image has drastically changed. The soft spoken artist of the late 90’s and early 2000’s has blossomed into a courageous social activist. Her image started to shift after the release of her music video “Formation,” which was quickly followed by her second Super Bowl performance that featured dancers dressed in outfits reminiscent of Black Panthers, a militant group that is often portrayed as a fundamentally malicious due to its advocation for minorities to defend themselves during the Civil Rights Movement.
Core: This week, Beyoncé released a visually stunning, hour long “visual album” (basically an extended music video) of her new album, “Lemonade”. The video touches on Jay-Z’s infidelity, femininity, race, and turmoil, all divided into sections or stages, such as “Denial,” “Apathy,” “Anger,” and “Intuition.” The film takes its audience on a journey, displaying the progression of pain and ultimately comes to the conclusion that we must take the lemons we are given in life and turn them into lemonade (hence the title).
Skin: While the media has released plenty of commentary on the visual album, many have missed the actual point of the video. It is not merely about Jay-Z’s infidelity, but rather uses the said infidelity as a vehicle to portray the strife and mistreatment of black women throughout history.
Leaves: The artistic turn Beyoncé has taken is nurturing a nationwide conversation about race and feminism. Not everyone is comfortable with the ideas Beyoncé is putting forth; however, others believe she has eloquently vocalized the trials and tribulations of an entire group of underrepresented people.
Food For Thought: Do you think it is Beyoncé’s place to comment on these issues? Should she censor her content for the sake of her younger audience? Do you agree with the commentary displayed in her videos?