#Lemonade: A Black Feminist Resource List


“Something is missing.”

– Woman speaking in “Resurrection” segment of #Lemonade

Today’s post was co-compiled and co-authored by Jessica Marie Johnson and Janell Hobson. (Both writers have been interviewed by Karsonye Wise Whitehead.)

Once again, Beyoncé has created a text that excites, beguiles, enthralls, and challenges. No one can doubt that #Lemonade is committed to black women and illustrating a story of black womanhood. It is likewise true that black women as intellectuals–as thinkers, scholars, creators, mothers, daughters, lovers, and across generations–are diverse and complex, rich and ratchet, fleshy and sensitive to the touch. Our reactions to #Lemonade reflect this power and this complexity.

Below, once again, is a selection of posts on Beyoncé and #Lemonade that run the gamut from discussing feminism (as theory, as practice, as both), slavery, the South, infidelity, ancestry, motherhood, Afrxdiasporic systems of belief, sex and sexuality, capitalism and survival. In the tradition of front porch political strategy that black women (especially black southern women) have engaged in for generations and is being most recently articulated in the heart of New Orleans by the black woman-centered organization Women With a Vision, Inc., we welcome you to join us on our AAIHS front porch, listen in on our conversation, and drink some of our lemonade.

The first section is titled, “Before You Drink.” Here you’ll find a list of resources already curated or being curated by other black women, including the magnificent #LemonadeSyllabus. You’ll also find a list of ingredients–so you know what you are sippin.’ Who was that young woman masking as a Mardi Gras Indian? Who were the women on the front porch? What was that beat she sampled? Find articles on them all below.

The texts in the second section are intended to be read as part of a long and on-going conversation. The sections are organized by the way black women thinkers have engaged the visual album. For some the most poignant aspects were the cultural and historical elements. For others, the album forced them to turn a mirror on themselves. Within each section, black women/femme creators are centered. New Orleans-based folks to the front, creators from the South second, authors from beyond the U.S. South as third. Posts that are not by black women and femme writers conclude this list. [Authors, if you have been placed out of order, please say so]

This list is not exhaustive. It will be updated, please do check back for more. If you have a text you’d like to add–leave a comment or find Johnson and Hobson on social media. Please! We want to include as much intellectual production by black women as we can.

More than anything, we hope you learn and engage with love (“L.O.V.E. Love.”), with passion, and with generosity. Sip slow. There is much to digest in this text, much to feel, and–to riff off the beautiful poetry by Warsan Shire and shared in the visual album–much that cannot be contained.

Below is a table of contents for your reference:

Part 1. Before You Drink….

Black Women Currently Curating #Lemonade
The Ingredients – Do You Know What You’re Drinking?

Part 2. Have a Seat and Drink Up…#Lemonade Conversations

How To Engage When a Black Woman is Speaking
On EVERYTHING – Roundtable Conversations led by or including Black Women
On the Cultural and Historical Influences
On Politics, “Feminism,” and Black Women’s Resistance
On Seeing Ourselves
On the Challenges and Limitations
Non-Black, Non-WOC Also Drink #Lemonade

* * *

Part 1. Before You Drink…

Black Women Currently Curating #Lemonade

Nyasha Junior Ten Books to Read After You’ve Watched “Lemonade”

Zetta Elliott #Lemonade for Girls: In Formation (Reading resources for young black girls)

Crystal Sanders18 Books on Black Women’s History to Read to Better Understand ‘Lemonade’ 

Candice Marie BenbowThe LEMONADE SYLLABUS

Hannah GiorgisAll The Best Pieces About Beyoncé’s Lemonade



The Ingredients – Do You Know What You’re Drinking?

Jessica Marie Johnson – Let’s Keep this Going (On Leah Chase)…

Brenna Houck – New Orleans’ Queen of Creole Cuisine Makes Cameo in Beyoncé’s ‘Lemonade’ (on Leah Chase)

Jessica Marie Johnson – Queen Ya Ya Kijafa Brown of the Washita Nation is The Mardi Gras Indian Of #Lemonade

Lia Beck – The Powerful Woman In Beyoncé’s ‘Lemonade’ You Probably Missed, But Need To Know  (on Paulette Leaphart, the Breast Cancer Survivor in #Lemonade)

Kristina Rodulfo – The Making of “Lemonade” Facts – Winnie Harlow Interview

Alyssa Klein – Meet The Sierra Leonean Ballet Star From Beyoncé’s ‘Lemonade’

Amanda Hess – Warsan Shire, the Woman Who Gave Poetry to Beyoncé’s ‘Lemonade’

Lynsey Chutel In “Lemonade,” Beyoncé again Celebrates – and Not Just Appropriates – the Work of African Artists (on Laolu Senbajo and Warsan Shire)

Ellen Gamerman – How Ballerina Michaela DePrince Was Recruited for Beyoncé’s ‘Lemonade’

Cindy Boren – Serena Williams explains how she ended up twerking in Beyoncé’s ‘Lemonade’

Grace Shutti – Meet 9 WoC behind ‘Lemonade’ that aren’t Beyoncé

Toni Akindele – Meet Laolu Senbajo, the Nigerian Artist Behind the Body Art in Beyoncé’s ‘Lemonade’

Cynthia Okoroafor – All the African Influences in Beyoncé’s Visual Album, “Lemonade,” Explained

Alex Alvarez –  The Afro-Caribbean Connection in Beyoncé’s Lemonade You Might Not Have Known About

Amanda Alcantara – Followers of the Yoruba Faith Reflect on the Impact of Beyoncé’s “Lemonade

Kamaria Roberts and Kenya Downs – What Beyoncé Teaches Us about the African Diaspora in “Lemonade”

Ariel Zirulnick – Nigeria by Way of Cuba: Where Beyoncé and Ibeyi Get Their Fierceness

Lauren Laborde – Mapping the Louisiana Locations in Beyoncé’s “Lemonade”

Jessica Roy – Meet the L.A. director who helped make Beyoncé’s ‘Lemonade’ (on Kahlil Joseph)

Jessica Marie Johnson –  Prisoner “22” x Lemonade x Alan Lomax Collection

Marcos Hassan – Beyoncé’s ‘Lemonade’ Samples a Puerto Rican Psych Band

David Drake – Beyoncé’s Lemonade: A Guide to Samples and Interpolations

Emily J. Lordi – Beyoncé’s Other Women: Considering the Soul Muses of Lemonade

Women With a Vision, Inc. of New Orleans – Front Porch Research Strategy

Jessica Marie Johnson –  A Note on The Powerful Porch-Front Politics of Beyoncé’s ‘Lemonade’

Brentin Mock – Beyonce’s Simple But Radical Porch-Front Politics

Ashley Farmer The Many Women Mentors of Malcolm X (Malcolm X is quoted in the “Anger” segment of the visual album)

Kadeen Griffiths – Beyoncé’s ‘Lemonade’ References Police Brutality By Including Appearances By Mothers Affected

Part 2. Have a Seat and Drink Up…#Lemonade Conversations

Louisiana native Quvenzhané Wallis in “Lemonade”
How To Engage When a Black Woman is Speaking

Bené Viera – “There should be no think pieces about ‪#‎Lemonade‬ up yet. There is way too much to unpack. And if you’re writing that it’s mainly about infidelity and marital strife w/Jay you’ve missed the mark….” [Public Post, April 24 on Facebook – Read the rest]

Clover Hope – “There’s an invisible cape of protection around her. Though we know the caretaker, black and powerful, herself needs protecting. This is the reality and fantasy of Lemonade: a beautiful blur of truth and fiction, sacred and profane, strength and weakness, shrewdness and art. Inherited burdens and, finally, salvation. It’s the story of, and for, the tossed-aside black women whose fury makes us strike and for those who bottle it up.” [Read the rest – Lemonade is Beyoncé’s Body and Blood]

Regina Bradley and dream hampton – “I was like, wow. So much wow. That was my immediate reaction. And then I went on a Twitter rant. Because I saw a tweet that was like, “Well, this is so much that I don’t understand.” I heard everything from “creepy” to “It’s not for me.” So of course I put on, you know, my southern hat and I was like, “Some of the stuff in that video wasn’t meant for everybody!” It was a love note to southern black girls.” – Regina Bradley [Read the rest – Close to Home: A Conversation about Beyoncé’s Lemonade]

Birgitta Johnson – “At this moment, probably more than ever, we can point to the very gendered way(s) in which artist genius is measured and bestowed/withheld and how gender bias colors how we view artistic achievements and production. The ways in which we, men and women regardless of race, traffic in language that defaults to greatness for some but finds very convenient ways to discount, question, disperse credit, and challenge authenticity for other artist…” [Read the rest – She Gave You #Lemonade, Stop Trying to Say It’s Tang…Or How Race-Gender Obscures Female Genius in Pop Music]

LaSha – We’ve seen this attempt at decoding Black culture for the masses — and by “the masses” I mean white people — before, like a couple of months ago when a white girl interpreted the patois in Rihanna’s “Work” and white people who had considered Rih-Rih’s words gibberish loved it. The fact that white people feel compelled to try to make Black art poured from Black bodies accessible to non-Black people speaks clearly to the unshakable spirt of colonization that teaches them that they have no duty to respect esoteric cultural expressions. My grandmother always said, “Everything ain’t for everybody.” Chances are that if you need a guide to the terminology, Lemonade was not made for you. [Read the rest: Put Away Your Glasses, We’re Not Sharing Our Lemonade | THE KINFOLK KOLLECTIVE]

Jamelia – “Let me break this down for you: Beyoncé’s album is not an attack on anyone; it is a celebration of the strength, endurance and potential within black womanhood. The fact that you are mad/uncomfortable/agitated about it is evidence enough of how blind you are to the realities of being one.” [Read the rest – Open Letter to Piers Morgan]

Monica Gibbs – “You don’t have to like Lemonade, but for crying out loud, let’s quit reducing it to a project explicitly about a mistress or mistresses.” [Read the rest – We Are the Reason There’s No Creativity in Music]


Black Folk in New Orleans and in Formation #lemonade #squad – Savannah Shange, Kdot Dub, Ndelea Simama, Paris Hatcher and Lena Williams (posted on FB on May 1, 2016 and shared with permission)
On EVERYTHING – Roundtable Conversations led by or including Black Women

Paris Hatcher, one of the NOLA-based organizers of the Lemonade Debrief National Call –  “You watched, you shouted, you listened, got thoughts/visions/talk back! What to talk with other Black women about the imagery, context, healing, complimentary text and resources, connection to liberation movements? Don’t like the phone thing and want to organize a smaller google hangout or an in person meeting in your community, we want to help you make it happen!” Documents created: Chapter by chapter break down, book lists, Facebook community on the event page to share events and writings, plans made for future national calls and support offered for smaller, spin-off gatherings. For more: Lemonade Debrief National Call this Wednesday and more! [Please Note: This space is for those who have the lived experience of being a Black woman or girl. If you are not, please support by telling someone who is who may want to participate or needs support organizing a gathering of their own!]

Melissa Harris-Perry, Alondra Nelson, Brittney Cooper, Joy Ann Reid, Anthea Butler, Karla Holloway, Trimiko Melancon, L. Joy Williams, Blair L. M. Kelley, Danielle Moodie Mills, Mankaprr Conteh, Sherri Williams, Collier Meyerson, Camry Wilborn, Dave Zirin, Michael Arceneaux – “It is no secret that I am a platinum member of the Beyhive. Recently and publicly I said, “to hell with any job where I can’t talk about Beyoncé!” So, let’s assume I am not a neutral arbiter of the relevance of Lemonade. But this is not just another music video. It is not just another Beyoncé video. Something different happened here, didn’t it?” – Harris-Perry [Read the rest – Beyonce’s Lemonade – A Call and Response Discussion]

Kid Fury and Crissles – Crissle: …when her voice cracks? And she says, “What is it about you?” That fucked…me…up. Oh shit. I can’t even think about it… *voice cracks* [Listen Here – Lilac Lemonade by The Read]

Kaila Afrekete Story, Joan Morgan, Brittney Cooper, Treva B. Lindsey on the Strange Fruit Podcast – “This week, the music world bows down to its Queen, while saying a sad goodbye to its Prince. In this special hour-long episode of Strange Fruit, we talk about these two groundbreaking black artists — one who’s still building her musical empire, and one whose legacy is now complete.” [Listen Here – Strange Fruit #169: Unpacking the Symbolism in Beyoncé’s “Lemonade” by StrangeFruitPod]

Esther Armah, Blair L. M. Kelley, Lynnee Denise – “On this episode of #TheSpin host Esther Armah talks with Professor Blair LM Kelley and DJ Scholar Lynnee Denise about Beyonce’s #Lemonade, the proposed $20 Bill bearing Harriet Tubman’s image and the sudden death of Prince Rogers Nelson.”  [Listen Here – The Spin April 29 2016]

Dee Lockett, Ashley Weatherford, and Lindsay Peoples – “Where do we begin with Beyoncé’s Lemonade? The pop juggernaut dropped her sixth album almost exactly like she did her last: mostly without warning and with 12 accompanying videos, this time premiering on HBO all at once. Now that we’ve given it the proper time to slay us, we’re ready to get in formation and discuss…” [Read the rest –  Beyoncé’s Lemonade and the Undeniable Power of a Black Woman’s Vulnerability]

Doreen St. Félix, Molly Lambert, Ira Madison III, Hazel Cills, Jane Marie, Teo Bugbee, Carvell Wallace, Jamil Smith, Amy Nicholson, and Simon Vozick-Levinson – “It’s Saturday night. We could be anywhere in the world, but we’re all here. Witness the power of Beyoncé. Let’s talk about what we just saw.” [Read the rest –  Lemonade: A Beyoncé Reaction Roundtable]

Jon Caramanica, Nikole Hannah-Jones, Wesley Morris, and Jenna Wortham – “Now let’s be specific: black women. This was a very specific, particular type of femininity and type of struggle with love and she makes it very clear. You look at every woman who is in the video, you look at the African influences, when she shows the mothers of young black men who have been killed by police — they’re all wearing African adornment, every last one of them. The Malcolm X quote she includes talks about black women being the most disrespected, unprotected women. This is a very particular type of womanhood and a very particular experience.” – Nikole Hannah-Jones [Read the rest Beyoncé’s “Lemonade” Makes a Statement. Listen Here: Popcast: Beyoncé Serves Up ‘Lemonade’]

Candice Frederick, Kimberly Renee, and ReBecca Theodore-Vachon – [Listen Here – Cinema in Noir – Lemonade and Black Feminism + Illness and Grief in Film]


Cora Lee Day in Julie Dash’s 1991 film Daughters of the Dust, a textual ancestress to “Lemonade.” Daughters of the Dust returns to theaters this fall.
On the Cultural and Historical Influences

Jesmyn Ward – “Here is a woman wrestling with not only her own troubled marriage, but also her parents’ failed marriage. The specters of her unfaithful father and her steadfast mother haunt the film. There are other ghosts here as well, ghosts of ancestors, of black Southern women who lived and loved in the 19th and early 20th centuries, women who struggled with their own marriages and relationships in the past, generations back. The imagery of women in long, voluminous skirts, wearing up-do’s, bathing and gathering and cooking and eating under wide reaching oak trees hung with Spanish moss recalls the black Southern experience of the past without explicitly referencing its more brutal aspects. This other, more brutal past seethes under the skin of the video.” [Read the rest – Rewriting Your Life: Beyoncé’s ‘LEMONADE’ and the Art of Storytelling]

Lakisha Michelle Simmons –The young women gathered on the front porch of Lemonade during “Redemption” are gathered at the site of slave cabins. They represent the people who lived and breathed, worked and loved along the Mississippi River. The poetry in the background speaks of being made whole again. Easily read as only about a lover being made whole again, the words have new significance when seeing the centrality of the community of women and the slave cabins in the landscape and imagery.” [Read the rest: Landscapes, Memories, and History in Beyoncé’s Lemonade]

Omise’eke Natasha Tinsley – Beyoncé’s Lemonade is grown-ass black woman magic. And the lemons that Queen Bey is working with, powerful hoodoo ingredients for overpowering bad energy, are clearly the Louisiana kind.” [Read the rest: Beyoncé’s Lemonade is Black Woman Magic]

Oriana Koren – “I come from this lineage of women who conjured and worked roots to “loose” their torturers of the sin of infidelity, and to free themselves of the embarrassment and shame that comes from betrayal. It was through the conjure work of Vodou that Haiti was made free by way of the largest slave uprising in the Americas…It is not only unusual but uncanny to find such deep reverence and homage to African deities in popular culture, but unsurprising when I think of Beyoncé’s rich matrilineal heritage.” [Read the rest: Beyoncé’s “Lemonade” is the Epitome of Black Girl Magic]

Syreeta McFadden – “Building on this sense of connection to family and home, Beyoncé mines her own experiences throughout Lemonade, clipping in real-life home movies showing pivotal, intimate moments with her family. We see her as a young girl talking with her father, and a quick shot of her swollen belly, pregnant with Blue Ivy. Regardless of her stature as pop star or brand, she is reminding all of us that she is human and not immune to conflicts with her partner, or crushing disappointments from her father. ” [Read the rest: Beyoncé’s Lemonade is #blackgirlmagic at its most potent]

Brittany Spanos – “Beyoncé’s own rock moment follows up Rihanna covering Tame Impala on Anti, an album that trades in the EDM production of her biggest hits for funk and psychedelic rock. Alabama Shakes’ Brittany Howard has become the new face of Southern rock, and her band has been given its due with the success of sophomore album Sound & Color, which took home three Grammy Awards at this year’s ceremony as well as a coveted nomination for Album of the Year.” [Read the rest – How Beyoncé’s “Lemonade” Reclaims Rock’s Black Female Legacy]

Vanessa M. Massie – “Before Nashville was the home of the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, country music was a genre borne of African slaves. Indeed, musicologists have traced country music’s iconic banjo back to the ngoni and xalam, plucked stringed instruments rooted in West Africa.” [Read the rest – Beyoncé’s “Daddy Lessons” is a Reminder of Country Music’s Black and West African Roots]

Evelyn from the Internets – “She is the enemy of edges, the nemesis of Jamaican black castor oil.” [View the rest: Beyonce Said Drink This #Lemonade, Heaux!! | YouTube]

Amani Bin Shikhan – “Lemonade almost seems like Beyoncé’s manifesto. Sure, it’s about love and the brittleness of its reality, its missteps in real-time. It is about togetherness as much as it is about solitude. About Texas and New Orleans and marching bands with accompanying dancers in pale brown pantyhose. It’s about young talent and older, guiding lights. Miss Tina’s palpable joy, Grandma Hattie’s words of wisdom. Lemonade is a lesson in skill and talent. In persistence. In boundaries and the complicated ways we try to hold onto love even when it isn’t there, when it lies dormant without stimulation. The baggage that becomes sustenance, the dirty rituals that keep us sane, the inheritance of the earth’s soil and its inhabitants who reject our every breath, our most human needs and desires. “Don’t hurt yourself”, she warns. Lemonade isn’t for the weak or the thoughtless. Pour the lemonade from pitcher to pitcher, softly intertwining its components, Beyoncé’s soft voiceover instructs. Give it time. Handle with care. Sip slow.” [Read the rest: Lemonade, Love, and Being a Black Girl Who Becomes a Black Woman]

Yolanda Pierce – “To understand “Lemonade” is to understand the contrasting realities under which black Christian women live their religious lives: representing the majority of membership in their respective denominations, but often silenced and marginalized when it comes to leadership roles in those same churches.” [Read the rest – Black Women and the Sacred: With Lemonade, Beyoncé Takes Us to Church]

Candice Benbow – “Beyoncé emerges from her experience, commanding her level of love and respect be reciprocated. The church often dismisses these messages of self-actualization and Black male accountability as the result of women stepping outside their roles and speaking out of turn. But Beyoncé did this in ‘Lemonade’ with a holy boldness that seemed to reflect the divinity within.” [Read the Rest: Beyoncé’s “Lemonade” and Black Women’s Christian Spirituality]



Nina Simone appears in the “Forgiveness” segment of the visual album (Ian Showell/Getty Images)
On Politics, “Feminism,” and Black Women’s Resistance

Priscilla Ward – “And then, the most turned-up all-girls party begins. Beyoncé sits nonchalantly in a bodysuit with Serena Williams twerking at her side — yeah, that happened. She’s over everything as she sings, “suck my balls.” (WHAT!) Beyoncé: a champion in the entertainment world; Serena Williams, a champion athlete. They come together to let us know that they got this—men aside, they are going to keep on winning no matter what.” [Read the rest – Beyoncé’s Radical Invitation: In “Lemonade,” a Blueprint for Black Women Working through Pain]

Ashley Ray-Harris – “Beyoncé’s Lemonade is a black album. Before we can talk about the visuals, the poetry, the symbolism, or anything else, we have to start with the premise of blackness. While many of Beyoncé’s earlier feminist anthems walked right up to the line of a specifically black experience—“7/11,” “Feeling Myself,” “Flawless”—Lemonade wants you to know the line has been crossed and you’ve been offered a rare glimpse to the other side.” [Read the rest – Beyoncé’s Lemonade isn’t a Breakup Album, It’s a Black Album]

Janell Hobson – “On her previous album, Beyoncé changed the game for new album releases, exclusively dropping what she called her self-titled “visual album” on iTunes at the end of 2013. The surprise element, combined with her sampling of Nigerian author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s “We Should All Be Feminists” TED talk for her track “***Flawless,” prompted black feminist public intellectual Melissa Harris-Perry to label the album a “feminist manifesto.” At the time, I thought this pronouncement was premature, and I was hesitant to agree. I knew then that the pop star could deliver more. Lemonade is evidence of this.” [Read the rest – Lemonade: Beyoncé’s Redemption Song]

Miriam Bale – “And, as she gets more personal, she gets more political. “The most disrespected person in America is the black woman,” Malcolm X says early in the film in archival footage. This is a movie made by a black woman, starring black women, and for black women, especially for herself and her daughter Blue. It shows the personal journey she’s been on, a sort of awakening, and remarkably brings the viewer on that same journey.” [Read the rest – Beyoncé’s “Lemonade” is a Revolutionary Work of Black Feminism: Critic’s Notebook]

Erica Thurman – “Another point of critique was that talking about relationships wasn’t revolutionary (feel free to use your church fingers). This seemed to merely be a problem with the messenger. Renowned Black feminist scholars and authors have examined Black women and love relationships to the accolades of many. Almost immediately after watching Lemonade the first time, I ran to chapter 7 of Patricia Hill Collins’ foundational text, Black Feminist Thought. The chapter, titled “Black Women’s Love Relationships,” examines just that, an integral component of the lives of Black women and draws from the works of Toni Morrison, Alice Walker and Zora Neale Hurston— all Black women who have examined the topic in their art.” [Read the rest – Beyoncé Steps into the Black Feminist Cypher and Promptly Drops the Mic]

Kyra Gaunt – “A prodigious feminist manifesto embodied in spoken word, music and moving images, Lemonade explores the ways we squeeze ourselves and each other into prisons of emotional, racialized and gendered oppression — and insists that it’s high time we broke the spell. No longer will the erotic sexuality of black women be threatened. And while Lemonade is nectar for female and male feminists alike, it is black women who occupy the center of Beyoncé’s feminist vision.” [Read the rest – Beyoncé’s Lemonade is Smashing]


On Seeing Ourselves

Zandria F. Robinson – “Black women’s expression of emotion can be discursively and physically dangerous for us, and sometimes telling our truth leads to violence or death. But on screen and in our minds, Lemonade provides a risk-free emotional space that sonically and visually highlights what we all miss when we dismiss and neglect black women’s emotional lives.” [Read the rest – How Beyoncé’s “Lemonade” Exposes Inner Lives of Black Women]

Robin Bylorn – “…so, Lemonade was right on time/an unexpected ritual and reckoning of blackgirl self-love in spite of/like heartache, a recipe that never tastes the same even when you follow all the instructions/i teach and learn about black women’s lives in my everyday life/wondering how our stories of power languish beside our stories of pain and loss/black men perpetually centered in narratives they choose to leave…” [Read the rest – Lemonade, Sweet Tea, and Dirty Laundry on the Clothesline]

Treva B. Lindsey – “Lemonade helped me grieve and cry for Nana, and all of my grandmothers, in a way I had not until then. While the more racy and provocative songs and images about infidelity (whether they were autobiographical or not) became the focus of many folks responding in real-time, I was more struck by the film’s depiction of black women communing.” [Read the rest – Beyoncé’s Lemonade isn’t Just about Cheating, It’s About Sisterhood]

Denise Nicole Andrews – “Younger generations look up to those with more wisdom, experience, and influence. We look to our mothers and grandmothers for guidance and assurance. The depiction of mothers and daughters in Lemonade is represented through emotional expressions of attachment, adoration, and companionship. Beyoncé’s own daughter, Blue Ivy makes multiple appearances, both in the womb and with her mother in home videos that show the true, unfiltered nature of motherhood.” [Read the rest – Forget about the Men, “Lemonade” is a Thank You to the Queens Who Raised Us]

Joan Morgan – “So what does it mean that the baddest piece of black feminist art we’ve seen in a minute comes from a woman who, when she publicly declared herself a feminist in 2014 was met with nothing short of a polarized shitstorm? Black feminist Muvva bell hooks infamously called her a terrorist during a panel talk at the New School. Others deemed her feminism woefully “bottom bitch,” too hypersexualized, capitalist, opportunist to be anything more than a publicity stunt. When Bey coos achingly in the film Why can’t you see me? Why can’t you see me?, the mirror requires we acknowledge that she’s talking about more than her husband, racism, and sexism. She’s also talking to us.” [Read the rest – Beyoncé, Black Feminist Art, and this Oshun Bidness]

Luvvie Ajayi – “Above all of that, it is a permission slip for those who have been hurt to show out. Bey ain’t necessarily saying that you should go bust out some windows. She is saying that the anger is part of the healing. Sit in the fire at night but come out of it in the morning. AGAIN: KHALEESI.” [Read the rest – Beyoncé’s LEMONADE is Sweet Tea]

Morgan Raymore – “Lemonade reminded me that as a black woman I am here for a reason and my black skin, full lips, wide hips and coiled hair were unique and made me ME.” [Read the rest – What Beyoncé’s “Lemonade” Means to Young Black Women]

Jamilah King – “Beyoncé’s Lemonade is what happens when a black woman has it. Nina is what happens when a black woman doesn’t.” [Read the rest: Beyoncé’s “Lemonade” is What Happens When Black Women Control Their Art]

Vilissa Thompson – “I was shocked to see model Winnie Harlow make a cameo appearance in “Lemonade” as one of the many young women featured in the “Hope” chapter.  Winnie has Vitiligo, and her scenes were close ups of her face, which displayed her beauty and innate strength.  Black disabled women are rarely featured in musical performances, and to see one of us look so elegant and portrayed in an empowering regard made my heart swell with pride.  Winnie represented a form of Blackness that is ignored in our community – the Black disabled body.  Seeing Winnie’s appearance made me believe that I too have the “freedom” Beyoncé sung about, and to know that my version of Blackness and Black womanhood mattered immensely.” [Read the rest – How “Lemonade” Empowered Me as a Black Disabled Woman]

Ezinne Ukoha – “I frustratingly never understood how to love and blend with my black sisters in ways that earn me the right to revel in the delight of such an immaculate sisterhood. I’ve always been cautious in my attempts and socially conscious for reasons that bleed into that need to be a part of something that makes sense — but doesn’t tug at your heartstrings in the manner that it deserves. Almost all my girlfriends are women of color and I love them dearly but my ability to foster similar relationships has remained stagnant. Watching Lemonade didn’t change my life profoundly but it did unexpectedly release the vacuum of disarray that has held me down for too long.” [Read the rest – I Will Do Better by My Sisters]

Kenya K. Stevens – “Unconditional love (is that a less scary word than polyamory)?  Thats what this video is about.  The opposite of conditional love.  The release of a paradigm, with the support of magic!  The deities assist us in this healing.” [Read the rest – The Metaphysics of Lemonade & Beyoncé’s Polyamory]

Jessica Marie Johnson – “…you look nothing like your mother. you look everything like your mother…” [View the Photo Album Here (partial) or Here (full)]



On the Challenges and Limitations

Ashley Shackleford – “Is it really too much to ask that Beyoncé include one or two cameos from fat Black women or femmes that are not desexualized, grieving mothers? Is it really too much to see fat Black women and femmes in the Deep South slaying the game (’cause we been here) incorporated in this powerful piece of art? Was it too much to give Gabby Sidibe a call real quick to channel that Southern Black Femme Gothic vibe she was servin’ in American Horror Story? Is it ludicrous to think that Amber Riley could’ve popped her pussy for real niggas somewhere in between “Hold Up” and “6 Inch?” She couldn’t do a feature with Jazmine Sullivan and get these Black fat thighs sanctified too?” [Read the rest – Bittersweet Like Me: When the Lemonade Ain’t Made for Fat Black Women & Femmes]

Eesha Pandit – “What about Rachel Roy’s mixed-race daughters? What about the fact that they might not have the “good hair” that their mother is so proud of? What about the deep anti-blackness that is at the core of designating straight hair as “good” and kinky hair as “bad?” Why are we even playing this game? These are not our standards, they did not come from us. They came from our oppressors who would have us hating ourselves and each other, so that we don’t turn our rage in their direction.” [Read the rest –  On Becky, M.I.A., and the Problem of that “Good Hair”]

Akiba Solomon – “Then she takes things a step further by having Serena Williams—one of the best athletes in the world and a dark-skinned woman frequently called ugly, mannish and a monkey—twerk and body-roll as she sits on a throne doing no such labor. People have argued that Beyonce is giving props to Serena because at one point she drapes herself over the throne the way Serena did on her Sports Illustrated cover. Plus they say that Serena “wanted this.” And, OK. Serena Williams clearly does whatever she wants. But none of that context explains why Serena is a twerk-maiden for most of her time in the video.” [Read the rest – Akiba Solomon Is A Writing Ass Chick We Love » Interview with Very Smart Brothas]

bell hooks – “Viewers who like to suggest Lemonade was created solely or primarily for black female audiences are missing the point. Commodities, irrespective of their subject matter, are made, produced, and marketed to entice any and all consumers. Beyoncé’s audience is the world and that world of business and money-making has no color.” [Read the rest – Moving Beyond Pain]1

Patricia Leavy and Donna Y. Ford – “There is an irony with women, and women of color in particular, who are systematically disadvantaged in the academy in terms of both recognition and material rewards, promoting a mega rich superstar’s work, more than they generally promote each other’s work. This is by no means to imply that feminist scholars do not promote each other’s work but if you spent any time on social media since Lemonade dropped there is no comparison to how many scholars have posted and re-posted about this work, discussed incorporating it into classes, blogs and other opinion pieces.” [Read the rest – Pop Stars like Beyoncé Leading the Conversation about Feminism: A Discussion Between Two Concerned Scholars]

Tamara Winfrey Harris – “An astonishingly rich star like Beyoncé benefits from capitalism. But she can use her privilege to employ women as dancers, musicians, and photographers, and she can use her power to lift up the creative work of women poets and writers.  A world-class athlete willing to swing her weave and shake her ass in a pop video (as Serena Williams did in Lemonade) can challenge the racist and sexist denial of her beauty and femininity. Conversely, the Creole star who owes part of her success to having the “right” skin, hair, and body, can help women without her privilege be seen. This is just as the corporate sister, weave-wearing diva, and club twerker can practice their own feminism amid contradiction.“[Read the rest – Beyoncé is Fighting the Patriarchy through Pop Culture]


Non-Black, Non-WOC Also Drink #Lemonade

Beyoncé’s “Lemonade” is a Revelation of Spirit by Carrie Battan

Squeezing Lemonade from Beyoncé’s Visual Masterpiece by Miles Marshall Lewis

“Lemonade” and Beyoncé’s Unprecedented 18-Year Run by Noah Berlatsky

Beyoncé’s Lemonade: A Visual Tale of Grief, Resurrection, and Black Female Empowerment by Freja Dam

Beyoncé – Lemonade by Andre Grant

Beyoncé is at the “Height of Her Powers” in “Lemonade” by Ken Tucker

How not to listen to Lemonade: music criticism and epistemic violence  – by Robin James | Sounding Out!

Last updated: 2016 May 16 | 10:37:01 

Images from Lemonade Credit – Beyoncé’s Lemonade – HBO/Parkwood Entertainment

  1. Editor’s Note: Too many to mention have and are responding to hook’s critique. To avoid derailing the focus of this list on Lemonade as a text, we have avoided including those critiques in the main text of this post. They are available here: Erica Thurman, “Bell, Black Girls Are Healing. And it is Glorious” | Erica Thurman; Janet Mock on bell hooks, Facebook Post on May 9; Jamilah Lemieux, bell hooks and the Sour ‘Lemonade’ Review; Quita Tinsley, Doreen St. Felix, Joy Ann Reid, Collier Meyerson, Jamilah Lemieux, Blair L. M. Kelley, Melissa Harris-Perry, Cassie da Costa, Wade Davis, Sesali Bowen, Michael Arceneaux, A Black Feminist Roundtable on bell hooks, Beyoncé, and “Moving Beyond Pain” | Feministing.
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Janell Hobson

Janell Hobson is an Associate Professor of Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies at the University at Albany, State University of New York. She is the author of Venus in the Dark: Blackness and Beauty in Popular Culture (Routledge, 2005, 2nd ed. 2018) and Body as Evidence: Mediating Race, Globalizing Gender (SUNY Press, 2012). She also writes and blogs for Ms. Magazine. Follow her on Twitter@JProfessor.

Comments on “#Lemonade: A Black Feminist Resource List

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    Thanks to beyonce and everyone who made lemonade possible. Regardless what the video is about…black women are being recognized. Keep up the good work and God bless.

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    This is a powerful resource. Thank you for doing this work

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    This is really interesting. Not everyone talks about it and it is strange for such topic to be talk about.
    Well, I would like to share this new fake sonogram videos. It is the funniest thing to give for a gift. Best for gags and parties.

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    This lemonade is earning so much praises and logic. Happy to share this new fake ultrasound design from fakeababy. The best thing since sliced bread. It is very funny and it will make your day.

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