Saturday night Beyonce once again stopped the world with her broadcast premiere of her second visual album, Lemonade. While many of her fans did not know what to expect on the follow up to her self-titled predecessor, Lemonade hit us with some hard, emotional, gut checking (possible) insights into hip hop and RnB’s power couples’ relationship, and forced many of us to look not only at our own relationships but to reflect on our own self value and love. Here are 10 lessons I’ve taken away (or reaffirmed) from listening to Lemonade:
- Your self-worth/self esteem should NEVER be gained from the man on your arm….or his ability to be faithful to you. Frigging BEYONCE got cheated on. Add her to the long list of lusted after stunningly beautiful women who have been betrayed by their men and realize that your beauty, value or worth are not defined by a man’s ability to love or appreciate you.
- We rarely blame the real “villain” in infidelity scandals: the cheating man. While the internet is still abuzz 3 days later, searching for and trying to decipher who “Becky with the good hair” is, no one has focused on Jay-Z short of a few moderately funny memes. The Beyhive has gone as far as to cyber-bully several women who they think are the Becky’s being referenced. The truth is we will likely never know unless they want us to and more importantly the reaction to the seeming admission that Jay-Z was unfaithful to his wife is to not attack him but the other woma(e)n. A home can only be wrecked if someone lets that third party in and right now more eyes need to be focused on the person who broke his marriage vows and promise of commitment, not “Becky” who had nothing to lose. I’ve written about this new era of “side piece” pride previously and sadly this is the new world we live in, but let’s remember that it takes two to cheat.
- “What a wicked way to treat the girl that loves you” Sometimes no matter how much we love someone, if they are incapable of loving themselves, are not ready to receive love, or they just plain don’t want to commit to you, nothing can change this. You may shower them in love, attention and affection; do all the textbook actions to “show” your love or to get a man to love you but they will still treat you in a way that aligns with whatever their current needs are first. Don’t lose yourself in trying to love someone into doing right.
- Your relationship with your father, or lack thereof, impacts your future views, choices and relationships with men. I’ve been reflecting on this one for several weeks as I did my own soul searching for the relationship examples I see in my family/life. Listening to the lyrics and meaning in ‘Daddy Lessons’, it seems fated of ending up with the types of men we have had examples of in our lives, good or bad. While we may attempt conscious efforts to break this cycle, there is something in our energy that naturally attracts, or is attracted to what we’ve experienced.
- “Every promise don’t work out that way”. I don’t know if to consider myself lucky or unlucky that I have not had many men promise me the world…but I did have one. The one that I thought was The One, and had to learn the hard way that every promise really doesn’t work out just because it was said. Giving chances for promises, words and intentions is good up until a point but eventually they need to come correct. When they have continued to show us who they are we need to stop trying to convince ourselves otherwise and believe them. We’ve all heard (and learned) time and time again that promise, words, are nothing without action.
- “Imma keep running cuz a winner don’t quit on themselves”. Never give up. That is all. Ever. Give up.
- “Keep a bigger smile on my face being alone”. There are choices we can make in life when it comes to who you choose to entertain in your life and I’d rather be happy (or sometimes unhappy, let’s be honest) alone then unhappy with someone just to say I have “someone”. That extra burden of the stress and pressures of being with someone who isn’t right for you, just to be able say you are taken is just so no worth it.
- It’s ok to cry…”With every tear came redemption”. I used to pride myself on how long it had been since I cried, that nothing triggered me: emotional movies, sad songs, a heartfelt letter, nothing could make me cry. But life dealt me a few challenging situations that temporarily broke me. And in that I realized it is ok to cry. And that with every tear shed I rose up stronger than before. Cleansed and purged of the negativity that was holding me back. Charged to be better than before. Cry, cleanse your soul. Then put on your stilettos and conquer the world.
- Unapologetic Blackness Matters. While the topic that has taken front and center of Lemonade is infidelity, there was so much blackness in the visuals of Lemonade that I had goosebumps while watching. The album is made for black women, for black people, and anyone who doesn’t like that, well, no apologies. Given the recent headlines of Lil Kim and her struggles with self hate which have resulted in the new 2016 Eurocentric Lil Kim, Bey including an excerpt from Malcolm X’s speech “Who Taught You to Hate Yourself?” was life giving: “The most disrespected person in America is the black woman. The most unprotected person in America is the black woman. The most neglected person in America is the black woman.” The narrative around love for black women is often hijacked for one reason or another and the use of her platform to proclaim this statement was everything.
- At the end of the day Lemonade concludes with an ode to forgiveness. Whether this album is about what we speculate or is all a carefully crafted marketing scheme it has forced us to think and reflect on the emotions one goes through when betrayed and how to come out the other end bigger and better. The ability to forgive a betrayal with your self-worth, value and ego intact is tough. To move forward without carrying and harbouring resentment which will only drain you. Each and every one of us has to go through our own process to figure out our path but keeping ourselves open to love, even through the pain is key. As Queen Bey sang “They say true loves the greatest weapon, to end the war caused by pain” and I’ve learned through the years nothing is more true.
Bur perhaps the simplest lessons comes from Grandma Hattie who spoke: “I had my ups and downs, but I always find the inner strength to pull myself up. I was served lemons, but I made lemonade.” And that’s really what it comes down to in this crazy thing called life.