Intuition to Redemption: A Breakdown of Beyoncé’s Visual Album, Lemonade

Beyoncé’s Lemonade is nothing short of exceptional. And it’s so much more than the, “Jay Z cheated on Bey” hype. It’s an emotional artwork. A spectacle of honesty and unsettling cinematography. A true testament to exploring the visceral with the intangible through multiple mediums that ensure it cannot be locked down as merely an album, or a personal declaration.

It’s a narrative that explores love, anger, betrayal, femininity and forgiveness, wrapped in the layers of rhetoric and body paint to ease your consumption of what is, at many a time, uncomfortably raw — partly due to being punctuated by hauntingly emotional poetry from Warsan Shire, a Somali–British writer and poet.

So without further adieu, here’s a brief breakdown of the 11 chapters of Lemonade (or Bey’s 11 stages of grief) — little snippets of narrative included — until you can get home and put it on repeat.

1. Intuition


“What are you hiding? The past and the future merge to meet us here. What luck. What a f****** curse.”

2. Denial


“I tried to change. Closed my mouth more. Tried to be soft, prettier, less … awake.”

3. Anger


“Is this what you truly want? I can wear her skin over mine, her hair over mine, her hands as gloves, her teeth as confetti, her scalp a cap, her sternum my bedazzled cane. We can pose for a photograph. All three of us immortalized.”

4. Apathy


“So what are you going to say at my funeral now that you’ve killed me? ‘Here lies the body of the love of my life who’s heart I broke without a gun to my head.'”

5. Emptiness


“She sleeps all day. Dreams of you in both worlds.”

6. Accountability


“Did he bend your reflection? Did he make you forget your own name? Did he convince you he was a god? Did you get on your knees daily? Do his eyes close like doors? Are you a slave to the back of his head? Am I talking about your husband, or your father?”

7. Reformation


“Why do you deny yourself heaven? Why do you consider yourself underserving? Why are you afraid of love? You think it’s not possible for someone like you, but you are the love of my life.”

8. Forgiveness


“If we’re going to heal, let it be glorious.”

9. Resurrection


“You are terrifying, and strange, and beautiful.”

10. Hope


“The nail technician pushes my cuticles back, turns my hand over, stretches the skin on my palm and says, ‘I see your daughters, and their daughters.'”

11. Redemption


“Take one pint water, add half pound of sugar, the juice of eight lemons, the zest of half a lemon. Pour the water from one jug to the other several times. Strain through a clean napkin.

Grandmother, the alchemist. You spun gold out of this hard life. Conjured beauty from the things left behind. Found healing where it did not live. You discovered the antidote in your kitchen. Broke the curse with your own two hands. You passed these instructions down to your daughter, who then passed it down to her daughter.”

Well, you know what they say, when life gives you lemons….


Currently Lemonade is exclusive to Tidal, but don’t fret, with Bey’s global audience, there’s no doubt it’ll be available for your streaming/downloading pleasure all too soon if you’re not in one of the countries Tidal is available in.

Image source: Screenshots from Lemonade (2016).

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