Song by Song

“Unapologetic Black and Female Albulm” Lemonade.

Hold Up: An update and second most popular song on Beyoncé’s album, she appears to channel Oshun, the Yoruba goddess often wearing yellow and using water as a form of power and renewal. Beyonce starts the scene by wearing a Roberto Cavalli dress in yellow with gold jewelry and bare foot showing her connection to the earth. She opens two large golden doors that poor out water showing this dream-like state. Folktales of Oshun describe her malevolent temper and sinister smile when she has been wronged which you can see in Beyonce as she walks down the steps bare foot and all with a baseball bat hitting water hydrants and cars as she goes.

Yeboah said: “But it’s also reflecting the power of women spiritually. She takes it deeper into African spirituality. We see this in the first of two baptisms and her emergence as an orisha.”

Sorry: Sorry has a lot of written word in the beginning because Beyonce reads a poem by Somali-Brit Warsan Shire. (Born in Somalia and raised in London with roots to the Yoruba)

“you can’t make homes out of human beings
someone should have already told you that
and if he wants to leave
then let him leave”

Following the reading, we are shown “Boy Bye” where Beyonce and follow women are on a bus with their faces covered with Ori*- A traditional face painting ritual for the Yoruba Ori correlates with human destiny providing physical justification for punishment and moral responsibility in traditional and contemporary Yoruba traditions in this case, for cheating on a woman. The idea of putting markings on your face to describe who you are and the diaspora that goes with it is maybe where Beyonce is going with this. (diaspora- the idea of movement from ones original homeland).

“The women travel from civilization to an open field. The bus ride, representing Beyoncé’s spiritual journey after her “death,” leads her to a comfortable place where she is uplifted through sisterhood and unity. Throughout the visual album, the use of natural hairstyles and clothing, neck jewelry and beading draws inspiration from Nigeria and the Maasai of Kenya. ” Professor Amy Yeboah

Further along in the song there is representation of the idea women with arms (in ancient African art this is seen as beauty) and a “crown” of hair showing natural beauty and heritage. Along with some more references to baptism and the idea of being reborn. Growing up as an African-American woman and being reborn as an African woman with deep roots that are not so broken by westernization.

All Night: All night is the first time a man is visually represented. Throughout Beyonce’s entire album men are used sparingly. There is voice over of Malcolm X talking about the power of black women. Instead of condemning men for not speaking up enough or speaking too much about their masculinity Beyonce uses mens voices in conversation with the woman in her visual album.

Formation: Although Formation is a large tribute to African American culture there is mention of creole food originating from Western Africa as well as referring to ladies to get in formation. Her entire album eludes to slavery and is filmed on a plantation relating back to her ancestors got to the Americas. There is also talk about the floods of New Orleans and police brutality.


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