Album Notes  -  3:19-8:20  -  35-39:35  -  50:49-53:15  -  56:37-1:01:18 (“Formation”)

Album Notes 

Wikipedia: The album was accompanied by the release of a 60-minute film of the same name, which premiered on HBO on April 23, 2016. Lemonade was divided into 11 chapters named Intuition, Denial, Anger, Apathy, Emptiness, Accountability, Reformation, Forgiveness, Resurrection, Hope, and Redemption.

The film uses poetry and prose written by expatriate Somali poet Warsan Shire; her poems which she adapted were "The Unbearable Weight of Staying", "Dear Moon", "How to Wear Your Mother's Lipstick", "Nail Technician as Palm Reader", and "For Women Who Are Difficult to Love". - also features Ibeyi, Laolu Senbanjo, Amandla Stenberg, Quvenzhané Wallis, Chloe x Halle, Zendaya and Serena Williams.  - In "Forward", the mothers of Trayvon Martin (Sybrina Fulton), Michael Brown (Lesley McFadden), and Eric Garner (Gwen Carr) are featured holding pictures of their deceased sons. - Jay-Z and Beyoncé's daughter Blue Ivy appear in home video footage at one point, as does Jay-Z's grandmother, Hattie (as previously mentioned)  - The film also samples work by Malcolm X, specifically an excerpt from his speech "Who Taught You to Hate Yourself", which is featured on the track "Don't Hurt Yourself".

(I've put parts in bold to emphasize some of the themes we've been looking at in class).

3:19 — 8:20

(“Pray You Catch Me”) -- “Hold Up”

I tried to change. Closed my mouth more, tried to be softer, prettier, less awake. Fasted for 60 days, wore white, abstained from mirrors, abstained from sex, slowly did not speak another word. In that time, my hair, I grew past my ankles. I slept on a mat on the floor. I swallowed a sword. I levitated. Went to the basement, confessed my sins, and was baptized in a river. I got on my knees and said 'amen' and said 'I mean.' [//] I whipped my own back and asked for dominion at your feet. I threw myself into a volcano. I drank the blood and drank the wine. I sat alone and begged and bent at the waist for God. I crossed myself and thought I saw the devil. I grew thickened skin on my feet, I bathed in bleach, and plugged my menses with pages from the holy book, but still inside me, coiled deep, was the need to know ... Are you cheating on me?

Wikipedia, “Lemonade”: In "Hold Up", Beyoncé appears as Oshun, a Yoruba water goddess of female sensuality, love and fertility. Oshun is often shown in yellow and surrounded by fresh water, and folktales of Oshun describe her malevolent temper and sinister smile when she has been wronged. Donning a flowing yellow Roberto Cavalli dress, gold jewelry and bare feet, Beyoncé channels the orisha, or goddess, by appearing in an underwater dreamlike state before emerging from two large golden doors with water rushing past her and down the stairs. During the "Hold Up" video, a smiling, laughing and dancing Beyoncé smashes store windows, cars and cameras with a baseball bat, representing Oshun's furious temper in a modern context.

35:00 — 39:35

“Love Drought” (“Sandcastles”)

He bathes me until I forget their names and faces. [REFORMATION] I ask him to look me in the eye when I come […] home. Why do you deny yourself heaven? Why do you consider yourself undeserving? Why are you afraid of love? You think it's not possible for someone like you. But you are the love of my life. You are the love of my life. You are the love of my life.

Wikipedia: In "Love Drought", Beyoncé leads a line of black women dressed in white along a shoreline. They stand, unified, looking out into the water as they hold hands and lift them one by one. This second reference to baptism is heavy in this scene along with messages of faith and love, which are, the lyrics say, "strong enough to move a mountain" or "end a drought".Comparisons have also been drawn between the imagery of "Love Drought" and the Igbo Landing, a historic location that was the site of a mass suicide by drowning of Igbo people who had been taken as slaves. [The following sequence of events is unclear, as there are several versions concerning the revolt's development, some of which are considered mythological. Apparently the Africans went ashore and subsequently, under the direction of a high Igbo chief among them, walked in unison into the creek singing in the Igbo language "The Water Spirit brought us, the Water Spirit will take us home". They thereby accepted the protection of their god Chukwu and death over the alternative of slavery.]

[FORGIVENESS] Baptize me ... now that reconciliation is possible. If we're gonna heal, let it be glorious. 1,000 girls raise their arms. Do you remember being born? Are you thankful for the hips that cracked? The deep velvet of your mother and her mother and her mother? There is a curse that will be broken. (after: “Sandcastles”)

50:11 — 53:15    

(the tree, grandmother, the alchemist, lemonade, redemption…)

[REDMEPTION] Take one pint of water, add a half pound of sugar, the juice of eight lemons, the zest of half a lemon. Pour the water from one jug then into the other several times. Strain through a clean napkin. [//] Grandmother, the alchemist, you spun gold out of this hard life, conjured beauty from the things left behind. Found healing where it did not live. Discovered the antidote in your own kit. Broke the curse with your own two hands. You passed these instructions down to your daughter who then passed it down to her daughter. [//] I had my ups and downs, but I always find the inner strength to pull myself up. I was served lemons, but I made lemonade. My grandma said "Nothing real can be threatened." True love brought salvation back into me. With every tear came redemption and my torturers became my remedy. So we're gonna heal. We're gonna start again. You've brought the orchestra, synchronized swimmers. [//] You're the magician. Pull me back together again, the way you cut me in half. Make the woman in doubt disappear. Pull the sorrow from between my legs like silk. Knot after knot after knot. The audience applauds ... but we can't hear them. [“All Night”]

56:37 — 1:01:18 (“Formation”)

Q. How does the video compare to 1) the larger album Lemonade, 2) the poetry of Brathwaite and/or Hughes, 3) the songs of West, Holiday, and/or Simone, and 4) the social and historical issues explored by The Eagles, The Pogues, and/or the Katrina video?


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