All Hail To The Queen Bey!
Beyoncé who in herself is a phenomenon, has released her sixth solo album, Lemonade, on her own label Parkwood, after her debut with Destiny’s Child, dating back to 1998.
Is it a modern day malady of every celebrated individual to air their dirty laundry and make a buck at the same time? One has to wonder if it is actually real, the subject of these songs, the betrayal, the adultery. We’ve seen hundreds of photos of Beyoncé and Jay-Z grinning court – side at a Brooklyn Nets game while rumours of his infidelities ran rampant. Video footage of Solange lunging at Jay-Z, etc. Are we supposed to think now, “Queen Bey will have her moment, the right moment”, like when EVERYBODY is watching on HBO and she’s just released her sportswear line collaboration with TopShop?
Is it real?
The spoken word and photography, costumes, artistry, especially the artistry, are on pointe. Especially the Pipilotti Rist (Ever Is Over All, 1997) inspired baseball bat stroll down the street on track Hold Up.
We love Serena! Serena Williams in Sorry, is beyond words for the tennis fan, aside from that this omnipotent woman along side Beyoncé really tears the roof off the imaginations of the fans of black women at their utmost potential. The dancehall tone visits Rihanna territory but it’s never been exclusive, it’s a genre, right? Freedom of Creativity, Speech, Democracy, lol!
We don’t want to appear to be anti-feminist. There’s been damage done for black women that in order to not appear to be the Angry Black Woman, that she disassociate with her emotions, that she become silenced, within the black American community and outside of it as well, in the workplace, educational forums and so forth. But we also tire of a man asserting his masculinity, or femininity or for that matter, fluidity of gender identity as well. Yet feminism, and LBGTQ rights are still worth fighting for, these things are still issues, hence the anger. Yet these are plebeian matters, especially cisgender, heterosexual complaints about lack of monogamy and in an ideal world it should probably be presented as a frivolity.
First World Problems, “my man came home at 3:00 AM…”
I enjoy how Bey says “I ain’t thinking bout you” several times over, proving the contrary. With these kinds of odes we work it out, and when the track is over, do we return to the pity party or? Well, to see Bey and Serena, sure!
Hmmm…..Becky with the good hair……?
Aside from the the simplicity of the graveness of infidelity, one must acknowledge that an artist approaching 20 years since their commercial debut would feel the liberty and confidence in their status, that they may create a true work of art. The aesthetics are contemporary, the disciplines are in place. It is not about capturing fantasy or imagination but about a pureness of expression and a realism. Styling is not done to excess nor visual effects. It is done with respect to the art of photography and representation. Natural artists like Big Freedia and the deceased Messy Mya make Formation superb. Beyoncé, is in perfect company. The representation of the American black woman is spare, immortal, romantic, while at the same time indulgent, all of that. Being American and black feels like all these things. Lemonade dares to be these things but do we not wonder about hipster trend, Afro-Punk, etc? Here we are in 2016. Would Destiny’s Child wear baby oil in 2016?
6 Inch with The Weeknd, excellent, there’s some solid songwriting happening in a settled modern manner. Yet, something very much reminds me of Walk On By, the Burt Bacharach song, version by Isaac Hayes. The verse melody is very similar to the guitar riff of that track and the backup vocals call from Hayes’ version “walk on” is sampled. Also the string section. But of course this was also sampled by Biggie Smalls, the late genius.
Have a listen!
Forward with James Blake, is arresting. There is never enough from this young artist. The Brits seem to connect more with the emotions and aesthetic while the Americans strive to entertain. So thank you for the British invasion, once again, just like the Beatles in 1964. Influences sited by the work of British artist and director Steve McQueen (Oscar for Best Picture, 12 Years A Slave, 2013), whom recently worked with Kanye West, also American artist Matthew Barney (Cremaster 1, 1995).
Bey with Jack White, on Don’t Hurt Yourself, well he’s eternally amazing and relevant, it’s really delicious to hear them together. Nice, diverse, eclectic combination.
Freedom, nice retro production with Kendrick Lamar, good organs. Super future.
There are several directors and cinematographers responsible for this work namely some very well known:
director: Jonas Åkerlund (Madonna feat. Nicki Minaj; Bitch, I’m Madonna, Maroon 5; Moves Like Jagger, Coldplay; Magic )
director: Kahlil Joseph
director: Beyoncé Knowles-Carter
director: Melina Matsoukas (Beyoncé; Formation)
director: Dikayl Rimmasch
director: Mark Romanek (Madonna; Rain, Beck; Devil’s Haircut)
director: Todd Tourso
cinematographer: Chayse Irvin
cinematographer: Santiago Gonzales
cinematographer: Malik Sayeed
cinematographer: Par Ekberg
With the addition of Film Adaptation/Poetry by British-Somali writer, Warsan Shire.
It’s a grand work, and it takes an icon like Beyoncé at this level of maturity to pull it all together. Well done!
What do you think of Beyoncé’s visual album Lemonade?
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