An avid member of the Beyhive since Dangerously in Love, I am just as excited about LEMONADE as the next Yoncé-obsessed fangirl. (Also, I should start with a disclaimer before I get too deep: I’m a white female.) But, as I was stitching my Rachel Roy voodoo doll this morning, I had a revelation: This is not what Queen B would want.
All of our incessant investigating and ceaseless social media scrutiny has nothing—nothing—to do with the point of LEMONADE. I’ll say it again, I’m a white girl (a first-generation Italian-American, to be exact), so it’s quite possible that I don’t know shit about the point of LEMONADE, but I can say—with pretty serious confidence—what the point was not: The point was not for us to obsess over Becky with the Good Hair or any other side chick.
It’s tempting—oh-so tempting—to want to piece everything together: the shit that went down on the elevator (and whether it was or was not related to the billion dollars that was on the elevator), the cryptic Instagram post from Rachel Roy about good hair and self truths, the past demise of Jay and Damon Dash. But how insulting it must be to Beyoncé that she dropped what was—in my opinion and the opinions of people far smarter and more well equipped than I am—the most profound thing to happen to music in decades, and all we can talk about is who has the good hair and whether that person is or is not the host of a cooking show (kidding—that’s Rachael Ray, who has gotten pulled into a shitstorm she didn’t even know existed while julienning some carrots).
Beyoncé gifted us a beautiful, profound, inconceivable, uncomfortable film on Saturday night. One that spoke to the hardships African American women have faced and continue to face, one that spoke to complicated relationships with fathers and husbands, one that spoke to police brutality, accountability, the power of love over pride, feminism, forgiveness, and about thirty other ocean-deep themes. She plugged her menses with pages from the Holy Book, for God’s sake.
As far as I’m concerned, we are the recipients of a Van Gogh, and we’re focused on that one off brushstroke in the corner?
Instead of analyzing her marriage and attacking anyone we deem to be one of Jay’s side chicks, let’s write think pieces on female struggles and how Beyoncé continually proves that the Good Ol’ Boys Club is officially the least cool place on the planet to hang out. Let’s talk about the fact she has proven herself to be an insanely talented filmmaker. Let’s write about what a visual album like this means for the future of the music and film industries. Let’s talk about Warsan Shire and how terribly beautiful her words are. Let’s write think pieces on what it means to be an African American woman today in America (I’ll leave that to all the non-white writers who have thoughts on that—I’m smart enough to know where my words become irrelevant.)
But, let’s not—no matter how hard it may be—use LEMONADE as an excuse to indulge in tabloid tweets. Let’s trade our broken wings for hers and use them to fly far above the fray on this one, BeyHive. I know you have it in you.