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BeyHive misses Lemonade’s message

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ust in case someone out there hasn’t heard yet, Beyoncé released a new album on Saturday, April 23. It’s called Lemonade, and it’s my favorite album that she has ever released. While I realize that there have been hundreds of responses, think pieces and analyses published about Lemonade since its release, I just couldn’t resist publishing mine too.

Lemonade is centered around the theme of infidelity, presumably Jay Z’s. Beyoncé makes no effort to hide the fact that she’s singing about her husband’s extramarital affair (affairs?).

“What a wicked way to treat the girl that loves you.”

“If you try this s*** again, you gon’ lose your wife.”

Within the hour of its release, rumors were already flying. Who did Jay Z cheat on Beyoncé with?

The first victim that the BeyHive (the name given to Beyoncé’s rabid fan base) accused was Rachel Roy. Her Wikipedia page was edited on April 23 to read “Dusty side ho that died under a lemonade stand” one hour and then “Rachel Roach” the next. Shortly after, people began confusing Roy and celebrity chef Rachael Ray. Ray, even though she has absolutely no connections to Jay Z, received her fair share of hate. A few days later Rita Ora, who is signed to Jay Z’s record label, was also implicated.

First of all, we still have no idea if what Beyoncé details in Lemonade is based off of her own life. Is Lemonade a piece of art or an autobiography? And if everything she says is true, why are people so viciously attacking women who have flimsy connections to Jay Z while Jay Z himself has stayed relatively out of the line of fire? Jay Z had some memes made about him. Rachel Roy had to cancel an event she was supposed to speak at.

But Beyoncé addresses more important issues in her album than her husband’s potential infidelity. In the video accompaniment that was released with the album, she details the difficulties of being black in America, specifically those of American black women. She addresses her relationship with her father, her family and her husband. Lemonade’s most important message is not for people wondering what’s happening in her marriage, it’s for black women.

There’s a reason that pretty much everyone in the video is black and why the music videos are interjected with bits of spoken word poetry from a black woman and quotes from Malcolm X. I can’t speak on how this focus impacts black women, but there is a lot out there to read.

Lots of people have written thoughtful and meaningful pieces on Lemonade and all of the issues that Beyoncé tackles in it, and I have read these and appreciate their contributions to this conversation. I just worry that the average listener will miss these important messages in their frenzy to discover who “Becky with the good hair” is.

Cassidy Neuner ’18 (neuner1@stolaf.edu) is from Carmel, Calif. She majors in political science and economics.