#Lemonade: The Evolution of Beyoncé Pt 2

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Image Via telegraph.co.uk

Woah, well it happened.

The long awaited drop of the Beyoncé album featuring the single Formation. And she didn’t disappoint, collective black Twitter, non women of color, women of color and in particular black women went:

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Her album named “Lemonade” is a continuation of “Formation”. As an album, Lemonade is Beyonce’s  part autobiographical and homage to the larger daily struggle of black women, discussing feminism, racism, family, social justice.

Beyoncé released not only her songs but a visual album of her songs, with images were steeped in the Southern gothic, a nod to her New Orleans/ Gulf roots, and black diaspora history and culture, much like “Formation”.

The visual album is something of a revelation, as I wrote on this blog when “Formation” came out,  it is remarkable to watch the political and personal evolution that is Beyonce Knowles.

Though Beyoncé has a lived a blessed existence due to to the mainstream success of her career, she is revealing a black woman radicalized by the events she has seen in the world, and the experiences she has lived.

In this visual album, Beyoncé tells us a LOT about infidelity, the suspicion, the jealousy, the rage, the depression, all from a very personal place.

She breaks up her visual album into titled segments, which are not the names of her songs, but the segments move the story and the songs along.

In “Intuition” segment:

“Where do you go when you go quiet…You remind me of my father, a magician, able to exist in two places at once. In the tradition of men in my blood, you come home at 3 a.m. and lie to me. What are you hiding?

In the “Denial” segment:

“They don’t love you like I love you, can’t you see there is no other man above you, what a wicked way to treat the woman that loves you”

And while Beyoncé swings a bat cheerfully she sings:

“I don’t want to lose my pride, but imma fuck me up a bitch” and “what’s worse, looking jealous or crazy…I’d rather be crazy.”

…………

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Who WASN’T wondering what the Knowles-Carter house was like about right then?!

Some have speculated, if Beyoncé was writing this out of inspiration (and not experience) which I highly doubt because of the infamous Solange Knowles/Jay-Z fight in the elevator at the Met Gala in 2014. While her sister Solange pummeled her husband where Beyoncé just watched without being the slightest bit disturbed.

Now what do you think would make her sister who she is close with go off like that on her husband?…. RIGHT.

Because all I know is,some family member or even close friend would be slapping the HELL out of my spouse, if he even THOUGHT about stepping out on me.

In the “Accountability” segment Beyoncé gets most of the rage out of her system,

she sings about women’s empowerment, to a guitar, discussing a father (presumably hers) raising her to be a strong woman, who didn’t put up with “men like him”

In the “Resurrection” segment, Beyonce features imagery of black women and girls,  and the”Mothers of the Movement”, which include the mothers of Trayvon Martin and Mike Brown, holding pictures of their lost children in their hands.

In “Resurrection” Beyonce channels the joy and pain that is motherhood, and the

The whole visual album features black women of different hues, ages, and hair type. There are black women in pain, in joy, in rebellion, in fabulousness. If you didn’t think the present only black women in this video and of itself wasn’t a political statement all of that left the building once you hear Malcolm X’s voice over say:

“the most disrespected person in America is the black woman”

For a little one wonders why the name of the album is “Lemonade”, but all becomes clear as you listen to the tracks and absorb visual album. It is the struggle in marriage, in family, in life, not just as a woman but as a black woman does Beyoncé channel.

Or more appropriately as Jay-Z’s grandmother says: “I was given lemons and I made lemonade”

And so is the life of many women, particularly many black women. I think like many, I’ll be listening to this album on repeat for a while.

 

 

ZOMG!: Why Viola Davis Starring in HBO Harriet Tubman Biopic is Amazing

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Image via Paul A. Hebert/Invision/AP/Associated Press

So in film news that had me epically lose my mind a little yesterday.

According to Variety, a Hollywood film industry paper, Viola Davis, bonafide acting extraordinaire with two Tonys, an Obie, a couple of SAGs, who also has the  distinction of being the first African American woman to win an Emmy Award for Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series for her current role as Annalise Keating  in Shonda Rimes’ How To Get Away With Murder, is set to play Harriet Tubman in an upcoming HBO Biopic

OMG YES

First of all, if you’ve ever SEEN Viola Davis act in like….oh…anything. You’d understand why this is so awesome. She breathes a life, a fire, and a vulnerability into her characters like not many actresses today can. (She DID go to Juilliard).

While being a decorated veteran of Broadway, Davis has shared her acting gift with a larger audience by bringing it to the movie and TV screens.

Davis’ short performance (max 8 minutes) in the 2008 movie “Doubt” with Meryl Streep where she plays a distraught mother of a potentially abused child summoned up so much praise from critics and the Academy, she almost upstaged the goddess of film awards herself, Streep.  For that 8 minute performance, Davis received an Oscar nomination for that pivotal performance

Davis pulled on heartstrings by playing a mother again in 2011’s “The Help” a film based on the popular book about the lives of African American maids working in the segregated South.

But it’s been her turn as Annalise Keating, the ethically challenged but extraordinarily gutsy, both in professional and person life, woman of color lawyer.

Davis brings her whole physical emotional self to the role of Annalise, making statements even in scenes where she is not speaking at all.

Davis herself had a rough childhood of poverty and  race discrimination, that she often speaks about in interviews.

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Pictured: Viola Davis in “How To Get Away With Murder”taking off her makeup and wig via: thehotness.com

These experiences Davis brings to her work, like in the seminal scene (that was Davis’ idea) where Annalise sits in front her mirror and takes off her wig and makeup that you see not only Annalise, but Viola taking off her own mask, and the collective mask that all women of color wear in their daily lives.

It is appropriate Davis plays Harriet Tubman, the woman who Davis quoted when she received her Emmy Award,  the fearless, black slave who escaped slavery and subsequently made some thirteen missions to rescue approximately seventy enslaved families and friends using the network of antislavery activists and safe houses known as the Underground Railroad to navigate her way to freedom.

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Pictured: Harriet Tubman, 1885, via Wikipedia

Tubman was a fugitive, one of the most wanted slaves in the South for her daring escapes and she was like the marines about smuggling slaves when she freed them: she never left one behind. Harriet went so far as to carry a revolver for not only should they come across slave catchers or their dogs, but also if any slaves dared tried to escape the group.

After emancipation, Tubman was a cook, a nurse and an armed scout and then spy for the Union in the US Civil War. Even though Tubman was renowned for heroism during slavery and her activist work in her post years in the Civil War and after, Tubman like Davis struggled with poverty, racism and experienced gender discrimination.

Few know this, but Tubman became a late 19th century  defiant supporter for women’s suffrage. Of her support for the women’s vote: “I suffered enough to believe it.”

A fighter an  activist until the end,  Tubman today is considered an American icon of freedom and justice, so much so she was considered a viable candidate to be featured on the $10 bill recently.

I look forward to seeing Davis will bring life to Harriet Tubman for a modern audience

 

 

 

 

 

Why Saying Democratic or Corporate “Whore” Needs To Stop

Yesterday at a Democratic Rally for Bernie Sanders, Paul Song, a physician and health care activist introduced Bernie Sanders at a rally in Washington State.

Obviously he was the hype man before Bernie so he was doing his thing getting the crowd warmed up all was going well until this:

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whaaat

 

20 second time out.

While Paul Song has now apologized for said remarks, why on earth are a chunk of folks who support Bernie Sanders (men and woman)  caping for a dude by trying to explain how it was perfectly fine to say “corporate Democratic whores” while referring to Sanders’ primary opponent who is a woman?

I don’t care if it’s “Democratic whore”. I don’t care if it’s “corporate whore”. DO NOT USE the word “whore” while referring to a woman candidate. As a matter of fact as a rule of thumb, just don’t use the word “whore” when referring to a woman.

The word has historically been used to demean sex workers and by extension discredit women throughout history for having opinions, owning their sexuality, and doing anything else that distinguishes them from being a doormat for men to use.

In a country where women’s representation in public office is already low, this commentary and those like it does nothing to encourage women to want to run. ( By the way, the US is ranked 72 in the world  behind many countries like Rwanda who is number 1, Bolivia, Australia, and Canada, just to name a few.)

And no you don’t get to come back and say, but “so and so said…..!”

What are we five? Two wrongs don’t make a right. If Paul Song can apologize for his comments, then you can acknowledge that what he said is problematic, is does not take away from Bernie Sanders’ candidacy.

It could actually dare I say it?  strengthen his candidacy, strengthen this progressive movement? We are better than using words that demean women to make a point, that’s what the conservatives do.

One Bernie supporter pointed out to me, that Paul was trying to talk about getting money out of politics. That is absolutely a legitimate and worthy topic to discuss, you can just do that without saying the word “whore”.