*I love her and I specifically used that title to piss some of y’all off so you can stop reading now if you came to hate.
I am in Formation. I am going to stay in Formation. I will never not be in Formation. I do not care how you feel about me being in Formation. Beyonce told me to get in Formation and Slay or I would be Eliminated. Perhaps I wasn’t moving fast enough but I have now officially gotten the message. Then she told me to take ‘dem damn lemons I got handed and make me some refreshing lemonade – an exercise I was already familiar with but a reminder to not get bogged down in BS is always helpful so excuse me while I exercise my arm muscles. I don’t have a juicer so I have to do this the old fashioned way.
I have been trying to write this since Saturday night but I wasn’t prepared to have Beyonce take over my weekend, especially not while I was still reeling from Prince’s untimely passing. Since Saturday I have digested it a little more, have made a few short posts on Facebook BUT I am still fired up about it so basically what I’m saying is this might be all over the place. I’m going to apologize in advance.
The Opening: I’m peeping this field with the abandoned brick structure and my first thought was are we doing ghosts? Is her soul haunted? Bey what’s happening? Then she appears in the field in a black hoodie (that zips from the front AND the back #Snazzy) looking hella pensive and I got a little more nervous because I still don’t know what’s coming and I want this to be a full out win for her. Sometimes my brain thinks too much ahead of time and I have to tell it to shut up and stay in the moment. I know who I’m dealing with (I’ve been me for a long time) so stay present with me and let’s go.
(1) “Pray You Catch Me” – she jumped right in talking about “dishonesty” all over his “breath” rut roh. “Prayin’ to catch you whispering, I’m prayin’ you catch me listening.” Well I’m listening Bey, tell me all about girl!
“I tried to make a home out of you but doors lead to trap doors, a stairway leads to nothing. Unknown women wonder the hallways at night, where do you go when you go quiet? You remind me of my father, a magician… able to exist in two places at once, in the tradition of men in my blood, you come home at 3am and lie to me. What are you hiding? The past and future merge to meet us here. What luck. What a fucking curse.”
OMG! Then dis heffa jumped off the roof of a building! BEY NO!!! NO BEY NO!!! Oh. She landed in water. Whew!
“Denial” – every single word uttered in connection to this art is worth digesting thoroughly however for the sake of some brevity (and my sanity) I forced myself to use excerpts when I could. Re “Denial” basically she took herself through hell trying to change for this mofo, punished herself on some next level type sacrifice, tried to get her mind and body right, cleansed, made herself completely open “but still inside me, coiled deep, was the need to know… are you cheating on me? Cheating? Are you cheating on me?” WELL????
And while she’s talking these underwater images are blowing my mind!!! LOVE LOVE LOVE!
(2) “Hold Up” – Her dress is EVERYTHING!!!
All the visuals are stunning. I didn’t think I could get memorized by the image of her walking down a flight of stairs with water cascading around her. The hem of that marvelous dress, the glow of her skin, her feet, the red of her nail polish. Literally mesmerized. Then cut to a medium shot of her in that GLORIOUS dress with her breasts commanding all the attention. Me: DAMN GIRL!! Also, THIS SONG IS E’RYTHING!!! Giving me full Caribbean flavor!!
“Hold up, they don’t love you like I love you / Slow down, they don’t love you like I love you / Back up, they don’t love you like I love you / Step down, they don’t love you like I love you / Can’t you see there’s no other man above you? / What a wicked way to treat the girl that loves you
“How did it come down to this? / Going through your call list / I don’t wanna lose my pride, but I’ma fuck me up a bitch / Know that I kept it sexy and know I kept it fun / Something that I’m missing might be my head for one”
Alla that speaks totally for itself. “But I’ma fuck me up a bitch” made me jump up and say YOU GOT BACK UP GIRL! Just let me know where to be! Continuing,
“What’s worse, lookin’ jealous or crazy? / Jealous and crazy… / Or like been walked all over lately, walked all over lately / I’d rather be crazy…”
Ugh. The questions we ask ourselves. Well more to the point, the situations we find ourselves in that lead to these types of questions. I don’t miss that era of my life. #ThatOneFucker
“Let’s imagine for a moment that you never made a name for yourself / Or mastered wealth, they never had you labeled as a king / You never made it out the cage, to locked up, movin’ in the streets / Never had the baddest woman in the game up in your sheets / Would they be down to ride? / No, they used to hide from you, lie to you / But y’all know we were made for each other / So I find you and hold you down / Me sing sing”
A few notes: (a) Well that certainly sounds like Jay don’t it?? (b) So y’all don’t be mad if that dress is this year’s Halloween costume. Actually y’all should just join me and we’ll do a cover band or something. (c) I came up with that idea before I got the intel that she was portraying “Oshun“:
“Oshun is an orisha (deity) of the Yoruba people of southwestern Nigeria. Oshun is commonly called the river orisha, or goddess, in the Yoruba religion and is typically associated with water, purity, fertility, love, and sensuality. She is considered one of the most powerful of all orishas, and, like other gods, she possesses human attributes such as vanity, jealousy, and spite.” (Source: Britannica)
(d) Another awesome discovery? The bat she was using to wreck havoc has “Hot Sauce” written on it. “I got hot sauce in my bad, swag” GAWD!!!!!! #Formation!! Tie it all in Bey, TIE IT ALL TOGETHER!!! Keep ’em coming girl. I’m ret!!
I. LOVE. THIS. WOMAN!!! Then she left the scene in a monster truck. #Respeckt
“Anger” – Next Bey started talking about skinning a ho and wearing her parts – her skin, teeth, hands, scalp, sternum. Me: “Girl what? Not her sternum Bey. GOLLY! Well you did say you would take ‘crazy’ over ‘jealous’ soooooo…” Then she said “We can pose for a photograph all three of us. Immortalized… you and your perfect girl.” Chile… #Gangsta (Or #Crazy)
Den dis heffa came through with the cornrows and this gray sports wear inspired outfit – giving me all the body. Hood chic wit it! Now she talking ’bout “Why can’t you see me? Why can’t you see me? Why can’t you see me? Everyone else can.” Sho you right Bey ’cause I damn sure see you! I SEE YOU GIRL!!! I LOVE her black woman thickness. YAAAAAAASSSSS!!
(3) “Don’t Hurt Yourself” ft Jack White
THIS TRACK IS FIYAH!!!
Who the fuck do you think I am? / You ain’t married to no average bitch boy / You can watch my fat ass twist boy / As I bounce to the next dick boy / And keep your money, I got my own / Get a bigger smile on my face, being alone / Bad motherfucker, God complex / Motivate your ass call me Malcom X”
THEN she used an excerpt from a Malcolm X speech:
“The most disrespected woman in America, is the black woman. The most un-protected person in America is the black woman. The most neglected person in America, is the black woman”
PREACH!!! I am so full right now!
“When you hurt me, you hurt yourself / Don’t hurt yourself / When you diss me, you diss yourself”
Very clear language right there y’all. #Crystal
“Hey baby, who the fuck do you think I is? / I smell that fragrance on your Louis V boy / Just give my fat ass a big kiss boy / Tonight I’m fucking up all your shit boy”
He betta call Tyrone. Fav line: “who the fuck do you think I is?” So many times I either SHOULD have asked this question or actually finally DID ask that question. #ThatOneMofo
“Uh, this is your final warning / You know I give you life / If you try this shit again / You gon’ lose your wife…”
“Apathy” – What you gon’ say while viewing my dead body sucka??
“So, what are you gonna say at my funeral now that you’ve killed me? Here lies the body of love of my life, whose heart I broke without a gun to my head. Here lies the mother of my children, both living and dead. Rest in peace, my true love, who I took for granted. Most bomb p*ssy who, because of me, sleep evaded. Her god listening. Her heaven will be a love without betrayal. Ashes to ashes, dust to side chicks.”
SPEECHLESS! So just gon’ leave that right there and tip toe to the next song…
(4) “Sorry” – which gave me SERENA IN A ONESIE TWERKING!!!! YAAAAASSSS GAWD!!! Serena: “Why yes Beyonce I’ll twerk for YOU but only you.” Did y’all see all dem black girl thighs??!!! Just looking strong and healthy and fine and I am so damn happy to be alive in this moment in history. Dem two heffas is bad and they are excelling and having a grand time doing it.
Bey singing “sorry not sorry, n*gga” I’m about to go kick it with girls and do me. Now deal with that you a*shole!!
“He trying to roll me up, I ain’t picking up / Headed to the club, I ain’t thinking ’bout you / Me and my ladies sip my D’USSÉ cup / I don’t give a fuck, chucking my deuces up / Suck on my balls, pause, I had enough / I ain’t thinking ’bout you”
Middle fingers up, put them hands high / Wave it in his face, tell him, boy, bye / Tell him, boy, bye, middle fingers up / I ain’t thinking ’bout you” #BoyBye
“Boy, bye” is a perennial favorite. #ForevahEvah
“Looking at my watch, he shoulda been home / Today I regret the night I put that ring on / He always got them fucking excuses / I pray to the Lord you reveal what his truth is
Me and my baby, we gon’ be alright / We gon’ live a good life / Big homie better grow up / Me and my whoadies ’bout to stroll up / I see them boppers in the corner / They sneaking out the back door / He only want me when I’m not there / He better call Becky with the good hair”
The end of that video shows the bare backsides of a group of women walking through a field. All are rocking Bey’s elaborate braided crown hairstyle. Me: “Where y’all going? To a cleansing? An ancient ritual? Can I come???”
“God was in the room when the man said to the woman, “I love you so much. Wrap your legs around me. Pull me in, pull me in, pull me in.” Sometimes when he’d have her nipple in his mouth, she’d whisper, “Oh, my God.” That, too, is a form of worship.”
My mouth was just open. Then she showed up in a red dress surrounded by fire – okay heffa, OKAY!
(5) “6 Inch” ft. The Weeknd – using that “Walk On By” sample was perfection! Given the visuals AND the lyrics, it literally seems to be her ode to sex workers BUT we all work don’t we??
“Six inch heels, she walked in the club like nobody’s business / Goddamn, she murdered everybody and I was her witness”
She works for the money, she work for the money / From the start to the finish / And she worth every dollar, she worth every dollar / And she worth every minute”
She dropped the word “Loss” (“Every fear … every nightmare … anyone has ever had”) in the middle of this song which I think might be considered another spoken word piece/poem but I’m not sure and I’ve already spent too much time putting this damn post together so imma come back to this later.
Note: I wanna wear a period costume and be in a Beyonce video. Just putting that out there.
“Accountability” (I wanted to excerpt this but I couldn’t figure what not to use so here it is in its entirety.)
“You find the black tube inside her beauty case where she keeps your father’s old prison letters. You desperately want to look like her. You look nothing like your mother. You look everything like your mother. Film star beauty. How to wear your mother’s lipstick. You go to the bathroom to apply your mother’s lipstick. Somewhere no one can find you.
You must wear it like she wears disappointment on her face. Your mother is a woman and women like her can not be contained. Mother dearest, let me inherent the earth. Teach me how to make him beg. Let me make up for the years he made you wait. Did he bend your reflection? Did he make you forget your own name? Did he convince you he was a god? Did you get on your knees daily? Do his eyes close like doors? Are you a slave to the back of his head?
Am I talking about your husband or your father?”
(6) “Daddy Lessons” – Another fav!! The lyrics, her dress, the scenes of people, her on a horse with her hair in braids, the home video footage of her and her father and then her father with Blue Ivy – ALL OF IT!! Bey ’bout to cop a Country Music Award. #DisHeffa!!
“Came into this world / Daddy’s little girl / And daddy made a soldier out of me / Oh, oh, oh / Daddy made me dance / And daddy held my hand / Oh, oh, oh / And daddy liked his whisky with his tea / And we rode motorcycles / Blackjack, classic vinyl / Tough girl is what I had to be
He said take care of your mother / Watch out for your sister / Oh, and that’s when he gave to me…
With his gun, with his head held high / He told me not to cry / Oh, my daddy said shoot (2x) / With his right hand on his rifle / He swore it on the bible / My daddy said shoot / Oh, my daddy said shoot”
‘Member all that speculation y’all had about her “troubled” relationship with her father? When she fired him as her manager? Yeeeeaaaaaah so can we now speculate that it just might be all good between them? #IJS
“He bathes me until I forget their names and faces. 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.”
Again where y’all going in all white in the water? A retreat? To commiserate?? Lay hands??? I still wanna come. Well wait, I don’t like bugs so lemme know the deets, thx.
(7) “Love Drought”
“Ten times out of nine, I know you’re lying / But nine times outta ten, I know you’re trying / So I’m trying to be fair / And you’re trying to be there and to care / And you’re caught up in your permanent emotions / All the loving I’ve been giving goes unnoticed / It’s just floating in the air, lookie there
Are you aware you’re my lifeline, are you tryna kill me / If I wasn’t me, would you still feel me? / Like on my worst day? Or am I not thirsty, enough? / I don’t care about the lights or the beams / Spend my life in the dark for the sake of you and me / Only way to go is up, skin thick, too tough”
Are you listening to me trying to tell you I still love and believe in you? In us??? #PayAttentionDamnit!
I absolutely love this line: “Baptize me… now that reconciliation is possible. If we’re gonna heal, let it be glorious.” #Amen!
(8) “Sandcastles” – ANOTHER FAV!!
“Dishes smashed on my counter from our last encounter / Pictures snatched out the frame / Bitch, I scratched out your name and your face / What is it about you that I can’t erase, baby?
And your heart is broken cause I walked away / Show me your scars and I won’t walk away / And I know I promised that I couldn’t stay, baby / Every promise don’t work out that way, no no no no no / Every promise don’t work out that way”
Jay shows up in this one. See!! Ish has been bad but there is still hope, they gon’ be fine!!
“Resurrection” – another woman delivers this and again I’ve posted it in its entirety because again I love all of it. Beyonce has hit me on all cylinders.
“Something is missing. So many young women, they tell you, “I want me a hu — see, all them make me feel better than you.” So how we supposed to lead our children to the future? What do we do? How do we lead them? Love. L-O-V-E, love. Mm-mmm-mmm. Hallelujah, thank you, Jesus. I just love the Lord, I’m sorry, brother. I love the Lord, that’s all I got.
When your back gets against the wall and your wall against your back, who you call? Hey! Who you call? Who you call? You gotta call Him. You gotta call Jesus. You gotta call Him. You gotta call Him ’cause you ain’t got another hope.”
(9) “Forward” ft. James Blake – this video shows images of women with pictures of their deceased loves ones. It is an incredibly sobering moment #BlackLivesMatter. Note the lyrics are likely referencing moving “forward’ in her relationship.
“Forward / Best foot first just in case / When we made our way ’til now / It’s time to listen, it’s time to fight / Forward.”
“Now we’re going to hold doors open for a while / Now we can be open for a while / Forward / I love you more than this job, please don’t work for me / Forward / Go back to your sleep in your favorite spot just next to me / Forward, forward.”
“Hope” – okay if I’m being completely honest this was the only section that creeped me out just a little bit. I am NOT saying I don’t get it, I’m simply noting that the visual of the words was a bit much to take in.
“The nail technician pushed my cuticles back … turns my hand over, stretches the skin on my palm and says, “I see your daughters and their daughters.” That night in a dream, the first girl emerges from a slit in my stomach. The scar heals into a smile. The man I love pulls the stitches out with his fingernails. We leave black sutures curling on the side of the bath.
I wake as the second girl crawls headfirst up my throat, a flower blossoming out of the hole in my face.”
(10) “Freedom” ft. Kendrick Lamar – Beyonce looking JUST like her Momma!
“Freedom! Freedom! I can’t move / Freedom, cut me loose! / Singin’, freedom! Freedom! Where are you? / Cause I need freedom too! / I break chains all by myself / Won’t let my freedom rot in hell / Hey! I’ma keep running / Cause a winner don’t quit on themselves”
SAY THAT AGAIN QUEEN BEY! SAY IT AGAIN!!!
“Redemption” – This directly references the name of the album soooooo:
“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.”
Beyonce starts talking again about healing and it is uplifting:
“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.”
THIS HEFFA IS TAKING ME ON A JOURNEY AND I AM LOCKED IN!!
(11) “All Night”
“Found the truth beneath your lies / And true love never has to hide / True love never has to hide / I’ll trade your broken wings for mine / Trade your broken wings for mine / I’ve seen your scars and kissed your crime
Give you some time to prove that I can trust you again / I’m gonna kiss up and rub up and feel up / Kiss up and rub up and feel up on you
All night long / Sweet love all night long (3x) / All I wanna, ain’t no other / We together, I remember / Sweet love all night long”
LOVE the images of her Jay and the baby AND the scenes of other couples including her momma and her momma’s new husband. Especially loved the picture of her huge PREGNANT belly – that was for y’all fools who still think she used a surrogate. Y’all so damn rude. If I miscarried one child and then blessedly carried another child to term I too might still be aggravated that y’all fools are so damn ridiculous.
Also have to note that I LOVED seeing lil Ms. Blue Ivy playing with her dad on some NFL team’s field. That just made me smile real hard. I didn’t catch which team, I still haven’t fully investigated it.
(12) “Formation” – y’all already know how this go 😉 . But some info I found interesting was that Rae Sremmurd’s Swae Lee helped write it. #Respeckt (Buzzfeed)
Me at the end:
20 More Cents From Me:
(1) I loved it. Period. I love it more and more each time I watch it. The visuals, the southern imagery, all the beautiful beautiful beautiful black women, I loved every single element of this production.
(2) I love the music. I still need to just listen to the album without the visuals but driving home the other day I couldn’t get “Daddy Lessons” out of my head. Then the next morning “Sorry” kept running on a loop in my brain. I usually have an immediate reaction to one or two songs on an album and the rest grow on me later – right now I couldn’t tell you my one favorite because it keeps changing.
(3) I don’t know Beyonce and Jay Z. I have never met them and I don’t know their real business. I know they are both dedicated and deliberate artists and they are not idiots. So do I think she’s really telling us all of her business? To be perfectly honest, I don’t know and I don’t care. I’m about to pay to download this album and I might be coming up on a concert ticket. She’s winning. THEY are winning.
(4) Do y’all REALLY think Jay didn’t know what was coming? HA! Maaaaaaybe it IS a legit accounting of all the drama they have been through. Maybe she is saying my marriage isn’t perfect, we’ve put in work and we will continue to do so. It could also be an exaggeration of “some” of their marital woes. I think she is giving people EXACTLY what she knows is going to resonate, with maybe a little extra mixed in for effect or to make it seem more authentic. Even if it’s not really her messy situation it is definitely some woman’s real life messy situation and maybe these are the words that woman needs to hear right now. Maybe this is the catchy beat that woman needs to hear to feel good about herself and empowered and jar her thinking a little bit that maybe she deserves better. Maybe the visual of Beyonce smashing car windows, driving a monster truck and throwing her ring away is exactly what that one woman needs to see to make some decisions about her own life.
Maybe that woman also needs to see that image of Beyonce and Jay being very loving, maybe she needs to hear those lyrics that talk about forgiveness and healing. We have ALL been through some messy BS – some of us stay and some of us go. It can be difficult not to judge but we should all endeavor to do just that, be a little less judgey and a lot more loving, understanding and supportive to each other – men and women.
I’m not gonna front, it WAS highly entertaining to speculate whether or not she is REALLY talking about Jay and both of them know it. They counted on it. If Beyonce REALLY wanted to leave her husband I believe that she could and that she would. “We” would cheer her on because if we are all honest with ourselves most of us have been skeptical of him from Day One. Personally I’ve always had mixed emotions – the thrill of them being a power couple measured with the concern of him having been “dat n*gga” for so many years. But at this juncture, from the outside looking in, they seem to have a true partnership and certainly seem to be having the time of their lives. Yeah that elevator situation was an eye-opener but hey “Of course sometimes shit go down when it’s a billion dollars on an elevator.”
Truth be told, the fallout from that event may have been the moment she started crafting “Lemonade.” Let me take all this “talk” ya’ll got and really give y’all something to talk about. Well we’re talking and this heffa got me cutting and pasting lyrics and poem excerpts and writing paragraphs and thinking about driving for Uber so I can hustle up concert money (I kid, a little). So again, she’s winning and I would never hate on her for that – “you know you that bitch when you cause all this conversation.” Indeed.
Last comment: I know at this point 1000 think pieces and/or reaction pieces have been generated about Lemonade. I haven’t read any of them (yet). When she dropped Formation I went from being elated to aggravated in a very short time frame and not entirely because of the hate from white people who didn’t “get it” but also in part because of the anti-Beyonce pieces from black people who were decidedly NOT feeling it. I ended up writing my own piece, “I’ve Read My Last Anti-Beyonce Think Piece” it’s short because I didn’t want to give it that much energy. People can dislike Beyonce. I completely understand that she is not for everyone and yet some of the backlash just seems overwrought. I’m not sure what it is that people want from her but for entire career she has carried herself professionally and has delivered time and time again. She is an exemplary entertainer, businesswoman and philanthropist and guess what? “She ain’t thinking ’bout you” and “she ain’t sorry.”
- Somali–British writer, poet, editor and teacher, Warsan Shire. She is the author of the spoken word verses.
- Obviously Serena Williams
- Model Winnie Harlow
- Leah Chase, Queen of Creole cuisine
- Trayvon Martin’s mother, Sybrina Fulton; Eric Garner’s mother, Gwen Carr; and Michael Brown’s mother, Lezley McSpadden
- Ballerina Michaela DePrince
- Quvenzhané Wallis and Blue Ivy
- Ms. Tina Knowles
- As already mentioned above, Hattie White, Jay Z’s grandmother
- Chloe Bailey, one half of the singing duo Chloe x Halle; twin sisters Lisa-Kaindé Diaz and Naomi Diaz of Ibeyi; known badass Amandla Stenberg; Halle Bailey; and Zendaya! (Source: Cosmopolitan’s Laura Beck)
- Spoken Word Text: “Transcript Of Beyonce’s ‘Lemonade’ Because The Words Are Just As Important As The Music” (Bustle)
- Lyrics: “LEMONADE [Tracklist + Album Cover]” (Genius)
- “19 Surprising Facts About Beyoncé’s “Lemonade” (Buzzfeed)
- “Breaking Down Beyoncé’s Lemonade Samples” (Pitchfork)
- “Here Are The Full Album Credits For Beyoncé’s LEMONADE” (Fader)
- “Oshun is the Yorùbá Orisha (Deity) of the sweet or fresh waters” (See also Encyclopedia Britannica)
- “All the Best Celebrity Cameos in Beyoncé’s Lemonade” (Cosmopolitan)
- “There’s more to Warsan Shire than the Beyoncé video” (BBC) (See also Genius)