For me, there are no words to describe Beyonce’s latest studio album #LEMONADE, because it’s really that good.
It rivals some of the best pop albums written in our time, and this is coming from someone who is a “sensible” member of the Beyhive. By “sensible,” I mean that I won’t forego paying rent or buying food for Beyonce concert tickets.
Since the release of #LEMONADE, there has been a lot of online commentary about the subject matter covered on her album, like staying with a cheating partner, putting yourself first, being unapologetically black, etc.
It seems like everyone has something to say about Beyonce’s new album, and what that means to them as listeners, and British journalist Piers Morgan is one of them. After reading his response to #LEMONADE in his Daily Mail article, where he labels Beyonce a “born-again black woman,” all I could do is shake my head.
Piers starts his commentary by discussing how he thinks that entertainers shouldn’t be politically vocal, because they’re probably doing it to sell a few concert tickets, or move a few albums. In the first few sentences of his piece, he wrote,
I never like it when entertainers go all political.
The cynic in me believes it’s rarely done for genuine reasons but for strictly commercial ones.
Whether it’s Oscar-winners preaching from the Academy Awards pulpit or Madonna seizing the best-looking babies from African orphanages, it always looks and sounds like they’re using a ‘good cause’ as a fashion accessory.
After he talked about why he hated it when stars “go all political,” he went on to talk about Beyonce, and how he had the chance to spend time with her once, what he thought of her as a person, and what he noticed about the fans who adored her.
He went on to discuss her latest work, saying that the singer has been “adding a far more serious, deeply political and race-fuelled tone to her work,” as of late. If you’re a black person who has read his commentary, then you already know that this is where the article crashes.
It’s not just an ordinary crash. It’s an awkward, “I don’t quite understand black peole , but I’ve met Beyonce before, and she’s black, so that counts,” kind of crash.
While Beyonce asserting her blackness may not seem that genuine to Piers, it also proves that he has zero clues about how black musicians were able to speak to their peers by relaying our collective struggles on wax.
Pretty much it proves that he’s never heard of Billie Holiday’s “Strange Fruit,” James Brown’s call to black action, “Say It Loud,” Public Enemy’s “Fight The Power,” Grandmaster Flash’s “The Message,” or Gil Scott Heron’s “The Revolution Will Not Be Televised.” Nope. Listening to songs like that only tells the stories and struggles of black people, and clearly Piers Morgan is feeling excluded in these conversations. Poor thing.
Unfortunately, Piers is one of many white people who seems to be confused about Beyonce professing her blackness. To which I say, how is there any confusion? Beyonce is doing the same thing other black artists have done before her, which is speak to the community of which she’s a part of. How is Beyonce talking about being black on an album any different than J. Lo recording an album in Spanish? He loses me with this logic.
Perhaps the problem for Piers is that he’s used to his music being color blind, which also infuriates me. It’s crazy to me that people are so desperate to be color blind, in a world that clearly is not color bind, that they even want their music to be color blind. Once again, we do not live in that kind of society, and being color blind has not done anything but make race relationships more awful. If you want your music to be color blind, change the COT DAMN radio station! Sheesh!
People need to speak to their own experiences, especially musicians, and I don’t fault any musician for making music that reflects what’s in their heart. Hell, if Miley Cyrus could make
awful music about dead cats, and somehow not get tossed out of the LGBTQ community for it, then Beyonce can sing about being black.
To be honest, Beyonce hasn’t really talked about any life experiences, including the experience of seeing her parents divorce after umpteen years. I don’t see where it’s a problem for her to talk about being a black woman on #LEMONADE. But for Piers, this is an issue. I guess Beyonce is supposed to declare “clear” as her race, and spend her time not offending people on any song on her album.
I don’t know if Piers’ wrote his comments about Beyonce’s latest album because he secretly wants to climb aboard the #BlackGirlMagic train, or if he truly does’t understand how black entertainers were able to historically speak to the masses about our socio-political issues through music.
All I know is what he wrote made me feel angry. His piece said to me that black entertainers could talk about any experience in the world, except being black. It also felt like he was telling Beyonce to “stay in her place” as a black entertainer. For his sake, I hope that he wasn’t doing that.
Whether Piers likes it or not, #LEMONADE was one party he was not invited to. This party is taking place on the #BlackGirlMagic party train, which means that when you step inside the caboose, Piers Morgan, you’re not going to understand why it’s so large. You also may not understand why the women are so gorgeous, why the Spades game ended with a fight, or why the boudin in the meatloaf tastes like tears from an angel. Stop trying to understand what’s happening on our party train, Piers, and fall back.
Or as 16-year-old writer Alex Brown put it in his Affinity Magazine article about white commentary on #LEMONADE,
Black power is not a threat to me; white power and black power are not mutually exclusive. So I won’t try to act like I know of the struggles exhibited in LEMONADE, nor will I try to speak for black women on those issues. It is imperative for white people to comprehend that we cannot pretend to fully understand or declare the message of LEMONADE. Even so, I will still enjoy the superlative, stylistically diverse track list that the Queen has arranged for all of us. Because as a white person, when Beyoncé gives you LEMONADE, you sit back and watch black women take over the world.