A very good essay on Beyonce’s Lemonade. It touches on this idea that’s in the air right now of reclaiming emotion and (I think) vulnerability as a legitimate response to the patriarchal relics of the age of enlightenment.
We never expect artists to be frank and upfront about their lives in their work, let alone frank about their pain. Acknowledging the autobiographical basis of the album is totally disarming and probably the most shocking part of it.
The public emphasis on Jay Z’s response, asking will he be mad or will she leave him and, inevitably, what about the children, just shows how we still see the rejection of a man as a shameful or dangerous thing for a woman. And, yes, it is dangerous when you consider domestic violence rates, but never shameful.
What’s happening is we are seeing the album as an emotional outburst, rather than carefully constructed piece of art and, implicitly, that emotional outbursts are a bad thing.
We assume she did this recklessly and that there will be unanticipated consequences to her act of speaking. We instantly looked for his response, instead of trusting her testimony, her truth. In doing that, we proved her point that society thinks women – especially black women – can’t be trusted, aren’t wise enough to anticipate the consequences of their actions, and aren’t able to speak without a man validating their words.
He shouldn’t get the last word.