Word Count: 651 words /Written: February 13, 2017
Yesterday night, Beyoncé continued the legacy of black women used the arts to reflect the life of being a black woman in the United States where their efforts aren’t valued or recognized. Black female artists infuse the cultural traditions of African spirituality with the pain of being marginalized identities of race and gender. Beyoncé gave the world a visual depiction of the strength of black women and inspired generations of black women to be confident through regaining control of their body.
Being a young black woman in a society that dehumanizes and oversexualizes you from birth, I’ve found comfort and sisterhood in Beyoncé’s music. She has created a community that empowers and liberates black women to be free despite the sociocultural pressures that depict us as hard, angry, and not worthy of love and comfort. Invoking the African traditions of Oshun, the Yourban water goddess who is recognized for her powers of sexuality, pleasure, fertility, beauty, and love; Beyoncé gave us a reminder to be comfortable in the sensuality that exists in our grinding of our hips and the beauty that comes from the melanin in our skin. Regaining control of the black body is political, because it is giving black women the autonomy to be in control in a white patriarchal supremacist state that is built on the destruction of the black female body.
Beyoncé said during her acceptance speech that Lemonade was to “give voice to our pain, our struggles, our darkness, and our history”. Her performance was an ode to black women and expression of self-love to black women who are not allowed to express their joy and magic that exists within. It invoked the traditions and practices of womanist theology which empowers and liberates black women to see, affirm, and have confidence in the importance of their experience and faith through embracing Jesus and God free from the imperialism of white supremacy. The spiritual worship of black woman and God was seen onstage through the relationship between Beyoncé and her dancers from the appraisal of her pregnant body for the ability to produce life and spirituality of black womanhood. A womanhood that stems from the ability of the black women to embrace the divinity and God that exists within her.
There is power that exists within the vulnerability of the black woman. We’ve been conditioned from birth not to cry from our mothers or they’ll give us something to cry about. Our tears are to be hidden from the world, so you’ll never be able to take advantage of our brokenness. Lemonade told us that our pain and suffering are essential to the black women’s experience and to accept the freedom and liberation that comes from releasing our emotions. From this, Beyoncé says “we’re going to heal, we’re going to start again” highlighting the magical ability of black women to transform pain into joy like turning lemons into lemonade. Black women’s liberation comes the power of being raw and exposed and the ability to overcome obstacles through healing and reconciliation.
I’m thankful to be a black woman because of the beauty and artistry embodied by Beyoncé through her holistically and accurate depiction of my life and others like us on a global scale to showcase the fruitfulness and beauty that comes from existing in a society that devalues your accomplishments and wishes from your destruction. Being black is to be aware of the inequalities and gaps that are evident in your life but harnessing the power and strength to solider on despite the odds being against you. It’s harnessing the power within your body and expressing your pleasure and love to the world without fear or rejection from others. There is a magic and joy that comes from the black female body and it’s full potential was harnessed by Beyoncé to spread the message of black women liberation and love for all her black sisters last night.