Beyonce launched Lemonade on April 23, 2016. It was directed, produced and directed by Kahlil Johso, Melina Matsoukas. Beyonce wanted to show how black women can move from segregation and into unity by presenting 11 chapters called “Intuition, denial. Anger, apathy. Emptiness. Accountability. Reformation. Forgiveness. Resurrection. Hope. And redemption.” Beyonce’s strong female characters, who are often marginalized or denied civil rights, creates interest in the album’s overall theme, which is black feminist ideas. This is more clearly expressed through the music video, “Freedom”. Beyonce used her enormous platform to express her creativity and to address an issue she feels must be solved.
Beyonce and Kendrick discuss the issues of systemic racism as well as the injustices that black people are subject to in relation to the creation and representation of “Freedom”. The video’s lyrics and the women featured in it encourage their viewers take responsibility for their lives and to be proactive. Jay Z’s grandmother Hattie is seen making a speech. She says that even through all the challenges in her past, she still found her inner strength and sought positive outcomes. Beyonce was encouraged to use lemons in her speech to signify healing. Lemonade was a dull and broad symbol. Beyonce used lemonade to represent the metaphor. In an effort to portray the struggle to end the oppression that black lives are facing, she also included a speech featuring the same theme. Beyonce’s visual was a great way to communicate to the large crowd she captures. It allowed her to perform a powerful song while also showing her personal side and allowing her viewers to take something away. This was done through intertexuality. Jay Z’s grandmother’s address and Malcolm X’s speech on black life were two examples. The politics of feminism were not discussed in the media until very recently. The media is seeing increasing levels of police brutality and it’s hard not to speak out about the passionately discussed issues. Beyonce might not have had to deal with the issues firsthand. But it is much more effective to use her platform to discuss them. This is further evidence that Beyonce has the ability to generate interest in issues that might otherwise be difficult for others to address.
Given that television and film have been dominated historically by white patriarchal entities, there is a sense of an oppositional black gaze in media platforms like music videos. This challenges the notion and offers a new perspective on the topic. Recent attention has increased in black oppression. This can be attributed to the fact that women with a good understanding of racism and race are able to create an opposing gaze. Black feminist thought is also being brought into the discussion about feminism because of the extreme oppression and isolation these victims still face. With the help of successful artists like Beyonce, postfeminism can be achieved. It was important for disagreements and criticisms to be expressed about feminism to allow for creative and strong individuals like Beyonce to address these issues. These issues are addressed creatively by “Freedom”, which allows for black people to speak out.
Beyonce created a positive and interesting discourse around black feminist thought.