I have to admit that I watched “Lemonade” the other night. I didn’t plan on watching it, but after seeing some posts and reading some of the themes of the project, I decided to watch Beyonce’s latest work. To be honest, I’ve ALWAYS respected Beyonce as a performer and a vocalist, but I’ve never really been impressed with the artistry of her content until this project. #Lemonade shows a side of Bey that I’m not used to, but that I appreciate so much. So let’s talk about the reasons why, even as a Christian, I found things that I appreciate about Beyonce’s work.
Oh! And I already know many Christians are going to get upset about this review not being “holy,” but the good news is that those Christians are probably so “holy” themselves that they’re going to make it into the kingdom and don’t have to worry about this tainting them. However, I encourage each person to guard the avenues of their heart. I try to make it a practice to stay away from things that feed my struggles.
With that being said…
Reasons Why I Sipped the Lemonade
1. The Storytelling
I’m a sucker for a good story when it comes to music. I believe that music should have profound messages and that a good album tells a complete story (yes, I still believe in purchasing FULL albums). Unfortunately today the music business centers around major singles instead of complete projects. We’re the iTunes generation that would rather spend $5 on the songs we like on an album instead of spending $10 to hear the entire conversation the artist is trying to have with us.
Anyway, back to the point. Bey tells a story with #Lemonade…a few of them actually. She addresses some issues and pains of Black America, depicts the cultural stories of Louisiana, and invites us to a peep show of her marital ups and downs thus far.
2. The Rawness of “Process” Is Shown
I LOOOOOOVEEE the journey of #Lemonade! The older I get the more I realize that process and patience are things to be treasured. Many times we try to rush past our present, whether it’s good or bad. We don’t often like to be real with ourselves and others about where we are and how we feel, but the more honest that we are, the better.
As a Christian, I’ve learned that it’s important not to act like I’m okay when I’m not. I realize that it is much more beneficial for me to lay my authentic self before the God who already knows me better than I know myself. The longer I avoid allowing God’s light to shine in the shadows of my heart, the more baggage I will carry. And, whenever I’m hurt by someone and choose not to deal with my pain it actually stunts my ability to express the Gospel in my relationships.
Another cool point is that #Lemonade’s 11 chapter correspond with the 7 Stages of Grief
Beyonce’s #Lemonade 11 Chapters Are…
- Intuition (Traumatic Event)
- Denial (Stage 1: Denial)
- Anger (Stage 2: Anger)
- Apathy (Stage 3: Pain & Guilt / Stage 4:Depression, Reflection, Loneliness)
- Emptiness (Stage 4: Depression, Reflection, Loneliness)
- Accountability (Stage 5: The Upward Turn)
- Reformation (Stage 6: Reconstruction & Working Through)
- Forgiveness (Stage 6: Reconstruction & Working Through)
- Resurrection (Stage 6 / Stage 7: Acceptance & Hope)
- Hope (Stage 7: Acceptance & Hope)
3. Beauty Isn’t In the Booty (Yes, I said it! lol)
Although Beyonce has always promoted femininity and the strength of a woman, I’ve always felt like she would, at times, undermine her goal. True beauty doesn’t come from “running the world,” “being “independent,” or being the “baddest chick.” It comes from things like choosing vulnerability over pride, understanding one’s own weaknesses, being teachable, esteeming the beauty in others over your own, having integrity, and etc. At times I feel like Beyonce has misses that.
But even though she still promotes herself as being the “baddest chick” (in other words, being better than the women she says she stands alongside), in songs like “Hold Up” she also realizes that having the best body and providing good sex isn’t what makes you “bad.” I think she’s still wrestling with what makes a woman worthy, but one thing is certain. The issues she’s faced were sin issues, not beauty issues. She’s still human and Jay is too. Sin will make a man walk away from even the “baddest chick”…and when we women find worth in our bodies, sexuality,or even our personalities, we will find ourselves always fighting for a worth that God already offers us.
As a Christian, I think this could be used to show young women that our worth is found in Christ’s righteousness alone. If we think we’re going to keep a man because of our bodies then we’re wrong. Of course, that doesn’t mean to let ourselves go, but it does mean that we should only entertain men that praise what God calls beautiful and unfading – a woman who fears the Lord (Proverbs 31:30, 1 Peter 3). “Daddy’s Lessons” is a key song that I think addresses the fact that wise women look at the character of a man before opening up their hearts up to them.
4. Marriage & Redemption
Redemption. Now if you can’t shout off of anything, you should be able to shout off of “redemption,” lol. I just love the word by itself. That’s what Christ has offered me and that’s what he asks me to offer to others who hurt me.
The Forgiveness to Redemption chapters are my favorite because they show Beyonce’s strength in vulnerability. She’s strong enough to forgive, but also strong enough to set boundaries, and strong enough to say that she needs Jay’s help in the healing process. He was the “magician” who could be in two different places at the beginning of the visual album…he’s the “magician” who tore her in half and the magician she asks to put her back together again. I love it.I love it because Bey doesn’t just accept Jay Z’s crap, but she doesn’t just walk away forever either.
If we’re honest we rarely even see this type of restorative justice lived out in many Christian marriages and friendships. Many of us don’t know how to hold each other accountable for our actions while still forgiving one another and agreeing to allow God to lead us through healing and redemption. Instead of submitting our relationship fears to God, we seek “Christian” loopholes that allow us to abort the process of redemption.
True love endures and keeps no record of wrong. It’s not abusive and stupid. It doesn’t make free allowances for disrespect and cheating, but it IS hopeful, merciful, and it never loses faith (1 Cor 13). True love makes plans for restoration once it has been crossed.
So yeah…that’s the good I see in the album. Of course I could make a list about some of the poor messages in the album (like some of you would prefer me to do), but I’d rather appreciate some of the positive major themes. Thoughts?