Featured, Pop Culture, Race & Politics

Akiba Solomon Is A Writing Ass Chick We Love

Akiba Solomon is the shit.

This goes without saying, of course. You don’t become an editor at The Source and the person behind the political humor column “What the F@#k” while there…and co-edit Naked: Black Women Bare All About Their Skin, Hair, Hips, Lips, and Other Partsand work for Jane, Essence, and Vibe Vixen…and currently serve as editorial director for Colorlines without being the shit. But it bares repeating. Just in case anyone forgot.

Anyway, since she’s the shit and all, it’s natural she’d be a writing ass chick I love too.

DY: Since Saturday evening, both my Facebook feed and my Twitter timeline have been filled with Beyonce and Lemonade-related hosannas. Even those who usually feel the need to preface their Beyonce-related thoughts with stuff like “I aint on Beyonce’s dick like the rest of y’all…” are finishing those sentences with “…but Lemonade changed my life, b.

This, however, hasn’t been you. At all. You’ve been very critical of it, especially the hour-long film accompanying the album. And if I recall you made similar criticisms when “Formation” dropped. So why aren’t you drinking the Lemonade? Do you just hate nice things?

AS: I do hate nice things like the sunshine, fresh cut peonies and Black girl joy.

Seriously, though. My feelings about Lemonade and a lot of Bey’s recent stuff are complicated. Please keep in mind that I am not a Beyonce hater. I think she’s beautiful, savvy and an exceptional performer.

Anyway, I watched Lemonade twice. I hated it the first time and liked (but not loved) it the second time. The first time was the night it premiered. I had zero context about Warsan Shire’s poetry, the multiple directors or the Oshun references. As a piece of art, I thought it was all over the place and I am sick of  the gangsta-Bey novelty. As a piece of Black art, I thought it was another example of how poorly Bey deals with skin-color politics and antebellum imagery.

Starting with “Formation” and the Superbowl performance and now with Lemonade, Beyonce has been doing this very particular thing of reinforcing color hierarchy by using groups of darker-skinned, similarly styled women with afros or some other “natural” hair as background noise.

In “Formation” the video and the Superbowl show, Beyonce doesn’t place herself in community with these women. The lighting, her position, her lighter skin and long straight blonde hair make her the queen. That’s superstar stuff, but people want to make this stuff Nina Simone-level Blackness–just without the sacrifice.

DY: But couldn’t someone make the counterargument that the juxtaposition exists because Beyonce is the star and they’re literally the background? That she feels a kinship with these women. But since they’re her background dancers, both the uniformity and them existing in the background are understandably intentional?

AS: The “Formation” lyrics—”Mix that Negro with that Creole make a Texas ‘bama”—tell a different story than one of that type of kinship. Beyonce is literally saying that Creole people are not regular-Black but special-mixed Black. Her construction makes it seems as if there is no privilege attached to being a more European-looking Creole rather than a West African-presenting Black ‘bama. Like, “yay, we’re all mixed and equal and pretty.” We all are mixed and pretty. But it’s bullshit to imply that we’re regarded equally amongst ourselves and the overall trick bag of White supremacy. Bey did not invent the Creole idea.(Read this essay by Dr. Yaba Blay, a dark-skinned New Orleanian of Ghaniain descent and a scholar of skin-color politics.) But it’s still troublesome to me.

The color thing happens again in the Superbowl performance. The darker-skinned women are now wearing black berets over fro wigs and black pleather booty shorts. Despite the Black Panther allusions, Beyonce, maintains her signature long, straightened blonde weave and rocks a special bodysuit that looks like it’s from the Jacksons’ Victory Tour. That juxtaposition makes the 50 or so darker dancers part of the set rather than actual human women.

In Lemonade, she does this on the bus with the darker women in the body paint and various African hairstyles.

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.

Finally on this, her constant antebellum imagery is confusing and it’s romanticized. Here we see Beyonce sitting in the center of group of darker women fanning herself. Or Beyonce alone, fanning herself. Or Beyonce bragging about Guivinchy (sp?).

I’m not a historian, but these images remind me of placagequadroon balls and/or the fancy trade. I’m unclear why Beyonce is going back to this.

So the colorism and antebellum weirdness bother me, especially given how so many Black folks want to cast these cultural products as the ultimate declaration 360-degree Blackness–old Black, new Black, Afro-Futurist Black, Feminist Black, Rich Black, Slaying Black, Queer Black, ‘Hood Black, Southern Black, Real Black.

Yes, Beyonce is Real Black. But colorism and historical myths are Real Black too, and they suck.

DY: In your first answer you mentioned that your thoughts on Lemonade have shifted a bit since your first viewing. That you see it in more of a positive light now. (Or, rather, less of a negative light.) What changed?

AS: I watched it again a couple nights ago after skimming a billion think pieces and think-posts. I felt I was missing something. I was. This project isn’t as disjointed or unintentional as I thought and there’s a lot of symbolism I haven’t been exposed to before.I can now see why people are losing it. It’s an often beautiful piece with powerful scenes of Black male vulnerability, moms mourning their children slain by racist police or vigilantes, performance, love in many forms, baptism and Black women bonding.

I still feel the same about the color politics and antebellum shit, though.

DY: So, since you don’t like sunshine, fresh cut peonies, Black girl joy, and Beyonce’s Simply Creole Raspberry Lemonade all that much, what does catch your fancy right now?

1. VSB of course. It’s my favorite read.

2. The Hamiltones “Respeck.”

If you didn’t see it, Anthony Hamilton’s background singers turned Birdman’s terroristic threats on “The Breakfast Club” into an old-time gospel song with three-part harmony.

First of all, two of The Hamiltones sound like Bobby Womack. Second of all, while I don’t condone violence toward radio show hosts, Birdman’s repeated demand for “respeck” on his name is profound. (I’m joking. Sort of.)

3. Fantasia’s Prince tribute in Atlanta made me shout. People take Fantasia for granted. They should stop doing that.

You can follow and find Akiba Solomon here and here.

Damon Young

Damon Young is the editor-in-chief of VSB. He is also a columnist for GQ.com and EBONY Magazine. And a founding editor for 1839. And he's working on a book of essays to be published by Ecco (HarperCollins). Damon is busy. He lives in Pittsburgh, and he really likes pancakes. Reach him at damon@verysmartbrothas.com. Or don't. Whatever.

  • Great article, Damon!!! Off-topic: when’s that Beyonce piece going to drop from one of your black lady writers? :)

    • I’m legitimately shocked that it hasn’t happened. That said, Damon can’t make women write pieces about this on their own.

      • True, I’m asking just in case it’s in the pipeline. I can take forever to write a review, especially if it’s about a dense and provocative piece of art. I can definitely see that being true in this case. :)

    • ChokeOnThisTea

      Damon needs to stop playing and let some of us commenters get some shine by writing a piece.

      • Uhh… Have you pitched a piece?

        • ChokeOnThisTea

          I have not, and I definitely need to do something about that.

      • Make a pitch!

        • ChokeOnThisTea

          You know what? You right.

          • Kas

            How you gon make that comment and not already have 5,000 words written?

            • Tambra

              We gotta find the right incentive. You want to model for her?

              • Kas

                What trouble are you trying to start?

                • Tambra

                  Me?? *Shining my halo*

                  • Kas

                    For future reference, halo looks like a circular ring. The bumpy things protuding from your head are referred to as horns.

                    • Tambra

                      BOL. Mines are interchangeable.

            • ChokeOnThisTea

              LEE ME UH LONE! lol

              • Kas

                I’m just trying help you with the preparation part of your Luck.

                • Tambra

                  I told you to start doing a striptease.

                  • Kas

                    Please go sit in all the corners Tambra.

                    • Tambra

                      You will let me know when I can leave ? * Puppy dog eyes*

                    • Kas

                      When you learn how to act like you got some sense.

                    • Tambra

                    • Kas

                      Looking sad and having sense are not interchangeable. Don’t do better, be better.

                    • Tambra

                      Yes.. *hangs head*

                    • Kas

                      I’ve think you’ve learned your lesson. Come on out and break some more of the good China.

                    • Tambra

                      Thank you!* Jumps and claps*

    • Damon Young

      i wont say any names, but someone whose name rhymes “shmumira” was supposed to but didnt.

  • I have two thoughts. One is that since Lemonade dropped, there’s been a subtle background hum about color politics and how it impacts Black women and how we as Black people perceive non Black women. I figure credit behind that discussion belongs more to Warsan Shire then Beyonce, but Beyonce gets credit for at least being willing to put that out there considering how easily it could blow up in her face.

    The other is that I want to partially defend Beyonce on the placage/fancy trade stuff. My understanding is that she’s descended from that element, and I think her use of that imagery is an acknowledgement of her roots. That doesn’t mean her use can’t be problematic. I just would prefer to ask her a few more questions about her roots before throwing her under the bus.

    • PivotTable

      “The other is that I want to partially defend Beyonce on the placage/fancy trade stuff. My understanding is that she’s descended from that element, and I think her use of that imagery is an acknowledgement of her roots. ”

      It’s her heritage. I agree.

      But now I wonder if this is how whites who feel some connection to Confederacy feel… like we’re dismissing their culture or heritage? Ugh humans be too complicated.

      • I see your point. I would say that there’s a difference between acknowledging one’s involvement in morally questionable behavior, understanding the circumstances that sucked your family in, and celebrating it. Museums about the Confederacy aren’t bad things, but museums celebrating it are. Makes sense?

        • PivotTable

          I get that, but that’s a heavily nuanced line we expect people to tread.

  • ChokeOnThisTea

    So, I hear her, but her argument gets an “eh” from me simply because Beyonce IS the performer/star and thus has to stand out. She just so happens to be fair skin. I think her refusal to wear afro style hair has more to do with her own insecurities and shame to rock her real hair. I fault no Black woman for that. However, I do agree with her on the following line:

    “Her construction makes it seems as if there is no privilege attached to being a more European-looking Creole rather than a West African-presenting Black ‘bama. Like, “yay, we’re all mixed and equal and pretty.” We all are mixed and pretty. But it’s bullshit to imply that we’re regarded equally amongst ourselves and the overall trick bag of White supremacy.”

    Truth. I’ve been saying this FOREVER, but everytime I make this very obvious point, people want to fight me tooth and nail. Generally speaking, the biracial experience is not entirely the same as the Black experience, and I get sick and tired of folk trying to argue it is. #BiteMe

    • Ess Tee

      “Generally speaking, the biracial experience is not entirely the same as the Black experience…”

      It seems that you’re conflating “light-skinned” and “biracial” and using that to separate out how that plays into an over all Black experience. I think when Akiba was saying “We’re all mixed” she’s talking about historically because of slavery and miscegenation.

      There are light-skinned Black people who are not biracial, and there are biracial people who are darker than Beyonce.

      • ChokeOnThisTea

        I’m fully aware that biracial people come in all skin tones and hair textures. But in this case, I’m specifically speaking about those with fairer skin and/or looser curl patterns and the privileges associated with that in both Black and non-Black communities. And perhaps I’m speaking of Black people with similar features as well. The point is, I’m just acknowledging the very real color (and hair) hierarchy Akiba is alluding to. It’s real. And it’s okay to acknowledge it. However, I don’t think Formation is an intentional representation of it. It just looks that way because the star of the video just so happens to be fair skin and that’s not her fault.

        • Ess Tee

          I get that you’re talking about colorism, or rather, continuing the topic that Akiba mentioned. It just seems that you were/are using “biracial” as the marker rather than “light-skinned.”

          Like, we can talk about colorism and say that, for example, Vanessa L. Williams, who is not biracial but is very very very light-skinned, has benefited in ways from that light-skinned privilege than, say, the other Vanessa Williams, who is a brown-skinned woman, has not and cannot.

          • ChokeOnThisTea

            Touche. You’re absolutely right. The two words are not necessarily interchangeable, but the argument can still uphold either way. I think we’re on the same page.

    • Kas

      Are people trying to deny colorism wanting to look more European? Come on now! I’m happy that I’m dark, but I would be a lie, if I said I didn’t want a thinner nose.

    • Momofuku O’Murphy

      which is entirely weird, because while I’m black (half white), I wouldn’t spend even a second thinking that my medium skin doesn’t award me a certain kind of privilege in some situations- be it bc my “code switching” might be more easily accepted (maybe, I have no clue, just trying to guess) or white people in general find my brand of “exoticism”(I just love being treated like an exotic bird…*eyeroll*) more palatable/watered down.

      And on the hair- this has been cruising around in the back of my head for a while now, and because B has been making strong statements about exclusively black things and us taking pride in them, I am a little disappointed we didn’t get to see her with her natural hair. To me, that would have made an AMAZING impact- but without it, I can’t but conclude in my mind what you are- that she still has some lingering confidence issues about it. After all, her elevated position in life was built on her mostly watering down her blackness in favour of a wider mainstream audience (or at least wrapping it in a fun box and putting a bow on it/”meme-ifying” it for consumption). At best this makes her feel insecure enough to “reveal” that she is just like all of us, at worst, it makes her feel like it’s truly a measure of her superiority to never ever wear her natural hair (doubt it and it can and probably is something in between, or even both of them with a causal relationship, bc we all know how insecure egos will boast a false sense of superiority to make up for perceived inadequacies)

  • I always think the artist’s intention has to play a part. I don’t think Bey wanted to make herself the queen because of color, she’s the queen because she’s Beyonce.

  • RaeNBow

    “Nina Simone level ..without the sacrifice”; That’s a great point. I had not yet looked at it that way, but it makes sense that sometimes people would expect the artist to actually be more immersed in the perspective they portray. <– that really goes to maybe the hairstyle issue. (But then I am conflicted because, should she not be able to speak to certain things while wearing a straight blonde hairstyle?) But her skin color is her skin color. She didn't choose it. I think to involve her lighter skin in the conversation too much might be conflating issues unnecessarily.

    so much to unpack here.

    • Wasn’t Beyoncé’s sacrifice being silent for so long?

      • RaeNBow

        That is an interesting take. Though I have to say, I cannot see the “sacrifice” in her silence. I mean, it was a choice, right? Other artists have been outspoken from the start of their careers and/or never compromised that part of themselves to the degree that it would seem Beyonce has. So… I really can’t get to the conclusion of her silence being sacrifice.

        • If you’re hurt e.g. physically or mentally abused and you keep it to yourself because you fear society and your loved ones will react with vitriol, there’s a cost to your spirit. Like ZNH said, “If you are silent about your pain, they’ll kill you and say you enjoyed it.”

          • RaeNBow

            I like your perspective… i’m not really in agreement as it pertains to Mrs. Carter…, but i get you though.

            it’s like I can’t quite flesh out why I don’t get the “sacrifice” feeling from Beyonce’ but I just don’t. i’ll ponder that though.

          • Mary Burrell

            Like that Zora Neal Hurston quote. Writing it in my notebook journal. Thanks for that.

      • Val

        But, the cynic in me asks, wasn’t Bey silent in the past because she was building her brand and maybe didn’t want to offend the majority audience while doing so?

        • I give her the benefit of the doubt. She’s 34. She spent much of her life under her father’s management. In the past, she has said that she was trying to become powerful enough that she could do anything she wanted. Around the release of 4, I think, she said she’d achieved it. The next album she did what she wanted. Even now, in spite of all the flack, she’s still selling records and using her vast wealth to donate to many of the causes a keyboard SJW like myself would love to. The strategy seems to have worked. And we need people down for the cause who have money just as much as we need people willing to work at the grassroots level.

          • Val

            Aren’t we agreeing?

          • Mary Burrell

            Reminds me of Janet Jackson and Control getting free of Joe Jackson. Now she’s all grown up.

    • Jacqueline

      For me its the constant blond hair. I do not think that it is a fashion choice. I really think that she is trying to physically brand herself as other while still holding on to her black base.

      Does anyone notice that you never hear Solange obsessing about having Creole heritage?

      • RaeNBow

        guess i’m just unwilling to ascribe that motive behind her wearing her hair a certain color. I mean, some people have a look that they just like, and gravitate toward and they keep it for years (think Anna W’s bob) …

        As far as Solange goes, I don’t think we hear about much of anything she does outside of very promoted efforts (cause she just isnt a big star like her sis), but NOLA is her adopted hometown, she is very vocal about loving living there and participating in the NOLA culture etc…

        • Jacqueline

          Yes, that is now but she has been wearing the blond hair for a long time, long before the L’oreal contract and the solo albums. She was also talking a lot of “New Black” nonsense during the early days. Piers Morgan of all people referenced it in that awful aritcle he wrote this week. I think Beyonce is growing….

          In regards to Solange, I was not talking about NOLA, I was specificially talking about Creole being something other than black. She does not play that game. Maybe she is wering off on Beyonce. LOL

      • Blueberry01

        I read somewhere that she has a contract with L’Oreal and can only stay within a range of blondness, since she is their spokesperson.

        • aliyasking

          Ding. Ding. Ding.

      • she is.

  • Jocelyn

    I’m going to spend time reading works penned by Akiba Solomon because YES! I appreciate VSB for widening my lens on writing chicks that I need to keep tabs on. I completely agree with the colorism observation. I am what some would call “high yellow” and not at all confused about the privilege associated with it. I don’t love it but I also don’t pretend that it doesn’t exist. How I use that privilege is important.

    I appreciate that Beyonce is trying to prove that she can do more than shake dance. Kudos to her for walking into womanhood. We welcome her.

    • ChokeOnThisTea

      “I am what some would call “high yellow” and not at all confused about the privilege associated with it. I don’t love it but I also don’t pretend that it doesn’t exist.”

      Thank you, sista. And yes, Beyonce is more than welcome into the fold. Better yet, she was born into it.

      • Kas

        Funny, I always figured you were more of a Lupita Nyong’o look. Mumbles to himself “says a lot about me” and makes a note to bring it up at the next therapy session.

        • ChokeOnThisTea

          Let me tell you something: if I looked like Lupita I’d be sashaying down someone’s runway right now. You hear me? Lol! Anyway, I am very much a dark skin Black woman. Didn’t you see my pic the other day? Anyhoo, the first line of my comment was just me quoting Jocelyn, so that I could thank her for acknowledging her privilege as opposed to pretending it doesn’t exist.

          • Kas

            I didn’t see your picture. Still keeping that therapy appointment doe.

          • <3

            • MsSula

              I hope they date and marry and make beautifully talented and gorgeous babies. :)

      • Jocelyn

        She was. I should have said adulthood or grown womanhood.

        • ChokeOnThisTea

          Nope. What you said was perfectly fine. I just said the last part for added effect

          • Jocelyn

            Ah I follow now! My late Friday afternoon brain is tired and slow :-)

  • chazb

    I definitely feel with Beyonce that she kind of talks out of both sides of her mouth. Now I love her music, way more than I am usually willing to admit in public lol, but she isn’t perfect. I find it really weird when people want to swallow any and everything their favorite stars say and do. The song “Flawless” is a perfect example. One minute your saying you’re a feminist and using the words of the awesome Chimamande Ngozi Adiche , but then you’re telling your sisters to bow down before you and calling them bitches? Its very contradictory. Same thing with Formation which could have been a dope song but the lyrics were repetitive and really the only thing that stood out to me was talking about hot sauce and taking your man to Red Lobster cause he gave it to you good. How is that empowering? Lemonade is beautiful visually but I feel what Akiba is saying. My favorite parts were Warsan Shire’s words accompanied by the imagery. I could have done without Serena being used as a prop, she should have been strutting her stuff like a queen not dropping it like its hot. That was cheap. As for Bey being the star and that’s why she stood out, I can agree with that but I thought the whole point of this project was to show her humanity and how she is one of us? Perhaps that could have been conveyed a bit more with the visuals and not just the words.

    • ChokeOnThisTea

      You could look at Serena as being a prop in the video. But you could also look at it as her being afforded the opportunity to be feminine, soft, and sexy when a lot of people deny her that right when they call her “manly” or “masculine.”

      Formation was empowering on so many levels, but especially because it featured an all black female ensemble. That is unheard of and deserving of praise in a day and age where many Black artists choose to hire women who look nothing like the women who birthed them for their videos.

      Bey did show her humanity AND that she is one of us. Do you not realize how BOLD it is for a black entertainer of her staure who is so beloved by white/non-black audiences to do something like Lemonade??? Lemonade is basically a visual/lyrical way of saying, “Fcuk your feelings. I’m a Black woman and I’m tired of playing that down.” #LongLiveLemonade

      • chazb

        I agree that Formation was visually interesting but lyrically it was not. As for Serena, I think for me I am just tired of Black women being viewed through such sexual lenses. Maybe because I only see Serena as beautiful and sexually alluring I don’t think it is necessary. I love her presence in the video but not how it was presented. I didn’t say she wasn’t showing her humanity, I was referring to what Akiba mentioned about her standing out. So I was saying that maybe if she had done that a bit more in the video visually it may not have come off that way.

    • It sounds like what you want from Bey is consistency in her messaging, and I’m not sure it that’s fair to hold her accountable for as an artist. I’ve always pegged her as a “id” artist who’s going to focus more on what she’s feeling in the moment rather than some calculated, overarching narrative that she wants to communicate throughout her entire career. I think it says a lot about her that she can do “Cater 2 You,” and “Flawless” and then bounce to Lemonade. If anything, it shows she’s more in tune with her emotional life than the majority of working artists today.

      I also don’t see how you make something like “Lemonade” and not have Bey front and center. It’s essentially a long music video, and the art form dictates the artist be front and center.

      • chazb

        I’m talking about consistency in the same song. I have no issue with her trying on different styles, sounds, lyrics, etc. But when you literally in the same song talk about being a feminist and then downgrade other women that makes no sense and goes against the message you are attempting to send. I love that song but she was definitely talking out of both sides of her mouth. I loved her last album and I am enjoying this new one. I like that she is finally showing us more than just being an R&B/Pop diva. Her music has much more substance now and I think we are getting to see more of who she is. But that doesn’t mean any and everything she does is without fault.

        And as for her being front and center, I was commenting more so on Akiba’s point about her completely separating herself from the other women in the video. While that made sense for most of it I can see how someone may take that a certain way, specifically with having dancers of a certain hue. For me Lemonade still worked but nothing wrong with viewing it through a critical lens.

        • GirlMelanie86

          RE: the song Flawless, “Bow Down B’s” is being told to other artists tho, her competition, not
          her fans/other regular women. At least that’s what I get from the song.
          Telling her competition that “I’m the queen, I took a break to live my
          life but I’m still the Queen and I’m running things… yadda yadda
          yadda”.

  • Chanel

    b-b-but Beyonce has background dancers of all shades… and they all have afros? And they’re in the background BECAUSE THEY ARE BACKGROUND DANCERS?! And Serena’s twerking because the FIRST thing people do is take away Serena’s femininity and this is very much a way to reclaim that? And this article was a dang reach.

    • ChokeOnThisTea

      “b-b-but Beyonce has background dancers of all shades… and they all have afros?”

      THANK YOU! Another excellent point I meant oto bring up, but forgot.

      • Kas

        Stan much? :)

        • ChokeOnThisTea

          LMAO!! Shut up, Kas!! =)

          I’m no Beyhive member, but I do appreciate good artistry. And let my record show, when folk were accusing Bey of not carrying Blue Ivy or saying she came across as dull and uninteresting in interviews, I was leading the pack. Lol!

          • Kas

            Imma let you finish . . . digging this hole. Look, we are still cool if you are a Beyhive member. As a matter of fact, just to be on the safe side, she is my favorite artist. Carry on.

            • ChokeOnThisTea

              lmao!

            • Tambra

              That’s why I am silent.

              • ChokeOnThisTea

                You too then, Tambra. Hush up!!! lol =)

                • Tambra

                  I like my life. * ducks and looks around*

                  • ChokeOnThisTea

                    I keep telling y’all I ain’t in the Beyhive. If I were, I would have been trashed this comment section with lemon and bee emojis.

                    • Kas

                      And I’m telling you, Beyonce is my favorite artist, she is . . . my air.

                    • Tambra

                      And blood and any other thing needed to sustain life. Amen.

                    • ChokeOnThisTea

                      *cackling* Man, forget y’all. You and Tambra! lol

                    • Tambra

                      You trying to sucker us into thinking we safe.

                    • Kas

                      The okie doke, we was born at night, not last night.

  • Val

    Welp, my brain broke this morning after reading something, I’m not even sure what it was, written by Karrine Steffans, at xoJane of all places, about Lemonade. So while I read this piece and appreciate the analysis I think all of the thought about Bey and Lemonade speak to something else.

    I think that living in a White Supremacist society has us really starved for art and imagery that speaks to us in complicated and nuanced ways. Most of what we ingest is filtered through the green lights of White Hollywood execs. Which means most of what we see and hear and even read is tainted at best and just outright offensive at worst.

    So all of this thought and dissecting Lemonade seems to me more of a cry for a break from the White Supremacist images than a true commentary on the greatness or lack of greatness of Lemonade and Bey herself.

    But, like I said, my brain is broke at the moment.

    • miss t-lee

      I read Karrine’s thing this morning.
      It was…interesting.

      • Val

        Lol All I remember is she went down on Jay in a lime. Everything else she said was just a blur.

        • miss t-lee

          I read it twice. I was still like…

          • ChokeOnThisTea

            Lmao!!!

            • miss t-lee

              That article was hot basura.

          • Kas

            Got us googling limes for our weekend fun. Do better Val.

            • Cheech

              I heard someone say grapefruit recently. But I don’t know ….

              • Oh dear!

              • Kas

                Can’t see how it wouldn’t sting. Per the “heavy” woman giving the demonstration, grapefruit is a fat burner. *shrug*

                • Cheech

                  I wasn’t really clear on the instructions, and didn’t wanna ask.

                  • Kas

                    There is a youtube video

                    • Cheech

                      OK, DF? Just no.
                      And that definitely wouldn’t work with a lime.

                    • Kas

                      And if it does you have bigger problems to worry about than a little stinging. o_o

                    • Cheech

                      Well, maybe a littler problem.

                    • Kas

                      I see what you did there, but I had to squint.

            • Tambra

              When I saw the word “lime” I didn’t make anything of it because within the West Indian context it is used to mean hanging out or a social gathering. It has now been corrected.

              • Kas

                Don’t assume we Americans don’t know the difference between limes and lyming. It’s like you want to stay in time out.

                • Tambra

                  *sticks out tongue*

        • lol

        • Cheech

          Thank you for correcting that typo. I was wondering about the lime.

    • ChokeOnThisTea

      “So all of this thought and dissecting Lemonade seems to me more of a cry for a break from the White Supremacist images than a true commentary on the greatness or lack of greatness of Lemonade and Bey herself.”

      Whew. That was powerful, and I actually agree. But let me challenge you: does Lemonade’s greatness have to be set a part from the fact that it’s a break from White Supremacy? Do the two have to be mutually exclusive? You can’t fully dissect Lemonade without acknowleding that component of it.

      *in the meantime, I’m heading over to Xojane*

      • Val

        Mmm, well, unfortunately pretty much everything we see is through the lens of White Supremacy to varying degrees. So I guess it’s ever-presentness is just another level of analysis that we should always add.

        But, I think the real problem is we have relatively little art that is off the beaten path that makes it to our mainstream. Lemonade is a nice start and I’m not putting it down or even giving it kudos, my point is more to the fact that we need to find ways to have more like Lemonade and just more in general that is as purely our own as possible.

        • ChokeOnThisTea

          So, I just had a look at Karrine’s article. *insert the most unimpressed face here*

          When I read the first line (“Over 15 years ago, I had Beyoncé’s husband.”), I immediately stopped reading. That’s all this is. She just wants to remind us she had Jay first in case we forgot. If these Rachels, Iggys, and Karrines don’t go sat down somewhere and create their own shine instead of trying to bask in Bey’s….

          • Kas

            I read the rest of it. Finish it, I would like to share notes.

            • ChokeOnThisTea

              If you insist.
              *heading back over*

            • ChokeOnThisTea

              So, I just read the second line:

              “Yes, I was one of Jay Z’s Beckys back in the year 2000 for about three minutes, which is about as long it takes me to satisfy a man in the back of a Maybach while overlooking the beaches of Malibu.”

              *insert a couple more unimpressed faces* Kas, I don’t think I can make it all the way through.

              • Kas

                Short version. Her life sucks, and lots of women have it bad in relationships. Apparently, her last (current?) husband has addiction and emotional problems.

                • ChokeOnThisTea

                  So, I actually read a little more, though not the whole thing (I had to stop when she not once, but twice, referred to Bey as our “Savior.” No ma’am) and here’s what I got:

                  in spite of her shameless bragging about banging famous men and cruelly outting her current husband’s cocaine addiction, she actually had a pretty interesting take on Lemonade. She’s saying she has been a “Becky” who ruined marriages, but now she’s a wife and getting payback from a “Becky of a different sort (her husband’s cocaine abuse and personal problems). She’s saying she’s both Becky and Bey, and I can buy that. But like I said, I only made it halfway through. I can’t get down with the blasphemy.

              • Kas

                Also if she is going to put his business in the streets, couldn’t she at least have described it as longer than 3 minutes?

                • Tambra

                  It is called trying to stay relevant. Maybe that is the new meaning of Becky, women who are doing the most to stay relevant.

                  • Kas

                    Sigh, probably. However, if staying relevant requires further killing of my soul, irrelevant I will be.

                    • Tambra

                      *Daps*

                • ChokeOnThisTea

                  Lmao! Like I said, unnecessary info. She just wanted to brag and say once again, she banged Jay.

                • Why?

              • Gibbous

                I find it interesting that she felt it necessary or (more) important to say she satisfied a man than to say she was satisfied. Hmmm . . .

    • One day, it’s going to come out that XOJane is ghostwritten by Red Pillers. It seems to confirm a lot of negative stereotypes about women for some reason. But now, I’m off to the site to see the car wreck that is Karinne Stephans writing on Lemonade.

      • Val

        It’s actually more of a train wreck. Lol Good luck!

        • OK, I’ve read it, and it is a train wreck. That said, much like Iggy Azalea, she has a valid point.

          Speaking as a straight guy, there’s supposed to be this difference between the woman you can be close to and the woman you marry. A lot of dudes believe that they somehow have to earn a wife by being good enough for her. Then they resent that and turn around and get with women they can be themselves around. It’s a jacked dynamic, but at a certain point, if enough guys buy it, that’s the Way Things Are.

          In so many cases, men are closer to the side chick then their own wives. Their wives are trophies not only because they look good and are easy on the eyes but also proof of their worth as men. It’s like Tupac said about getting our name and game from a woman.

          Karinne is both the best and worst person to say that at the same time.

          • Val

            Well Karrine is definitely the personification of a side-chick. And she seems to wallow in it.

          • rhymeswithbrucelee

            All of this

          • But American masculinity demands we always hold a piece of ourselves back and, to an extreme, never give our true selves to our wives; we honestly believe that every man is an island and not part of a continent. Part of that is so many husbands buy into the “head of household” trap. As a leader, you can’t express your true emotions to those subordinate to you. But if that subordinate is your wife, then you are excluding her from genuine parts of your inner and emotional life.

            I think it’s that belief, rather than what any side broad can offer, that leads to to many men seeking intimacy outside marriage.

            • Blueberry01

              Do you think that a man’s view of his wife affects his mentality? If he viewed his wife as a partner, or better yet a “piece of his own body”, he wouldn’t refer to her or treat her as a subordinate.

              It wouldn’t make sense to abuse your own body or someone who has the same standing as you.

              • A man’s view does. And I feel people horribly abuse their bodies when they put other things- alcohol, drugs, ego- above it’s health.

                I don’t believe wife is simply a piece of man’s rib given flesh and blood; she’s her own self-actualized agent with wishes, desires, and goals that sometimes run contrary to her husband’s. Marriage is an arena where two people who believe in love and grace work it out.

                • Simone_was_taken

                  You just summed up my relationship with my ex.

          • Blueberry01

            So, why do men rarely leave their wife and marry their sidepieces? Or, stay married to them once they leave? (I read some quote stating that 9 out of 10 marriages to the mistress end up in divorce.)

            • SororSalsa

              But can the side chick really expect fidelity? I imagine that there are times when someone leaves their spouse for a better situation, but a relationship born from an affair seems like it has a higher possibility of failure simply because of the way it started.

              • Blueberry01

                Ding. Ding. Ding.

      • Mary Burrell

        LOL

    • Kas

      I read the article by Karrine and it just made me feel bad for her (worse than I had previously).

      • If you ever bothered to read the Superhead book, her life story is the personification of those who don’t learn from history are doomed to repeat it. The upshot is that if she didn’t repeat history, her bills wouldn’t be paid.

        • Kas

          I never read the book, but I think I know enough of story which is basically semi-career as a sidechick. I don’t have daughters, but if I did, I would hope that I could raise them with more self esteem than that. I refer to self esteem, because she certainly doesn’t seem happy with how she has lived her life.

          • My point is that she comes from a long line of side chicks in the Virgin Islands, and the warped dynamics between family members, particularly between the women, that were produced.

            • Kas

              Gotcha. I am currently amazed by the number of 2nd wives/families that are almost expected in the Caribbean.

              • Tambra

                Some are better than others. I know of a man who built his mistress’ house next to his martial house. You think you can try that?

                • Kas

                  Nope!

                  • Tambra

                    Coward!

                    • Kas

                      You say coward, I say happily married. :)

                    • Tambra

                      Lol. Smart man.

              • The Cliff’s Notes version behind that has to do with how slavery ended in the West Indies. Once it was over, only the men were hired on the still extant plantations, so if you didn’t marry well, it was often be the side piece or starve. That said, there are whole books on that.

                • Tambra

                  Slight correction, some of the women wanted to be mistresses of the house especially once they got a smattering of education, working class women were not afforded that luxury. However the family structures which evolved because families were broken up and through matrifocality has helped to create this scenario.

                  • Good point. The larger message is that Karinne ended up being chewed out by a particularly malignant version of that family structure, alongside the normal human BS. I got an eye full of that visiting Barbados last year and getting the real because I can passably speak Bajan.

                    • Tambra

                      I skimmed through her article. Honestly, I think that is what she wanted. The majority of us came up through that structure and choose not to make that mistake several times. Further if she was pre -Beyonce, how can she be the side chick? She was a slam as the Jamaicans would say.

                  • Val

                    I wasn’t familiar with this culture so I searched and found this; http://public.wsu.edu/~rquinlan/quinlan-gender-risks.pdf

                    • Tambra

                      That should cover it. A seminal work is ” My Mother who Fathered Me” by Edith Clarke .

                    • Val

                      Added to my reading list. Thanks.

                    • Tambra

                      If you want a bit of fiction, you can try ” In the Castle of my Skin” by George Lamming. I don’t know if you would be able to find it but if you can find ” Working Miracles : Women’s lives in the English -speaking Caribbean” by Olive Senior that would be good too, it gives an over view of a number of themes about family life and mothering in the Anglophone Caribbean. Olive Senior has written a number of fictional pieces too , ” Summer Lightning ” comes to mind. No probs hun.

                    • Val

                      Great. Thanks again. :-)

                • Simone_was_taken

                  Off to read.

              • Janelle Doe

                There is polygyamy in African and Arab countries too. And plus also sisterwives

                • Kas

                  All I can think is Mrs. Kas is a handful. Why would I be trying to double or triple down?!!

          • Mary Burrell

            I read it and it was kinda sad. But she needs help.

        • I’ve read her book…I’m pretty convinced a good part of it was fiction. I used to think she was mostly honest, but I was paying attention to her a lot during her Eddie Winslow days, and lawd, can that woman lie and exaggerate. To me she’s what “New York” would’ve have been if she read more books and had a some E.L. James in her.

        • Janelle Doe

          I am low-key curious how come she is not part of the kardashian network… Didn’t she live in close enough proximity to be friends with them?

      • Val

        I felt a little bad for her a while back and then she dated Bill Maher. That’s when she lost any sympathy I might have had for her.

        • Kas

          I enjoyed Bill Maher until I didn’t. He’s basically an @ss who has no idea how to hold more than one thought in his head at a time.

          • Even his comedian friends think he’s a misogynist. And it’s hard to make most professional comedians admit someone is any type of “-ist” lest the public come down on something off-color they’ve said in the past.

          • Momofuku O’Murphy

            plus an anti-vaxxer… I couldn’t believe my ears and eyes when I learned about it ever since Religulous, I’ve been hating his condescending sh*t-eating grin (not bc I’m religious, but bc I found terrifying the idea that people would now think this was the essence of what atheists are like)

            • Kas

              He can’t be a anti-vaxxer. Runs off to Google.

              • Kas

                Back, Dayum!

                • Momofuku O’Murphy

                  dude is certified crayfish

              • Momofuku O’Murphy

                report back here when you’re done picking up your jaw from the floor to share outrage

                • Kas

                  I did below.

        • Annalise Keating

          YES!!!!

    • RaeNBow

      I also read that article on xoJane. I’m lying, I read the first few paragraphs then skimmed… but DAMMMM was it awful. that poor thing. puuuhthetic attempt at relevancy. smh

    • Mary Burrell

      Goes to xoJane to peep Supahead’s think piece ?

    • I’ve always wondered how it must be like to be Karrine’s son.

      http://i.makeagif.com/media/8-28-2015/WlsZqq.gif

      • Val

        Lol If I was her kid I’d demand to be home schooled. I know his classmates give him h3ll.

        • He must dread anytime he’s hanging out with his boys and hears, “Yo Momma…”

      • Simone_was_taken

        That’s sad. I hope that young man has a chance to have positive emotional relationships with his interested party.

    • jolly

      Lol, great now my brain is broke too. Ironic because she says Lemonade left ugly stains on her brain. I feel like I just read the abbreviated version of Video Vixen. She had and could have made her point without shaming those other women—AGAIN. Speaking of white supremacy the gender supremacist views are dripping in this KS XOJane article. Lines like this: “It is staggering how many wives are still sides, and how many sides become wives, only to realize they are still one of many.” Flip the script child flip the script own you boo boo. While I cringe at Amber Rose and Kim K there’s something about their “no f***ks to give wantonness” I f*&^s with. Like…how about you wield the power and not see yourself just as a side, or a wife, but as a woman doing her. Own that boo. Don’t shame the women for being wives too. Celebrate the women. Don’t shame the women for being sides too. Celebrate the women. To shame them a la Karine Steffans strips these women of all their agency as if stuff just keeps happening to them by these slick, smart men…NO they put themselves in those positions just like you did and it may take a while for some but when thine eyes are finally open you reform and help the others don’t shame them. We are women dynamic and glorious and complex enough to not be limited to these secondary titles made by men,because of men. Girl, Bye. Where’s Whitney with “I’m every Woman!”

      • Val

        “…I just read the abbreviated version of Video Vixen.”

        Now that you mention it, that’s really what it was. A more pathetic version though. And yeah, it seems like she has blinders on with regard to a woman’s agency and place in the world.

  • Annalise Keating

    I love lemonade. And think Beyoncé is a smart talented performer, businesswoman and marketing and branding genius. but was always confused when people said lemonade (the video) was made for black women and places spotlight on black culture. As a Nigerian/Nigerian American woman who is black, I never felt this reflected my culture. Black folks are not a monolith. We are a diverse group from various backgrounds with different cultures. Lemonade to me seemed to reflect mostly Southern (American culture). A period and culture that is both reflective of white and black folks of that period. Not specific to black folks alone. Please correct me if I am wrong. I am not a historian.

    Even the Oshun references I found interesting. In the video, Beyoncé after emerging from the door with the flood of water with long straight ish blond hair and with her very light skin color and her features representing the goddess OShun. It reminded me of how I felt looking at those pictures of White Jesus In Sunday school and being told this guy was my savior. She has a right to present herself as Oshun Goddess but I just didn’t feel this image reflected the Image my ancestors worshipped. Or reflected me in any way.

    Same feeling I had with the picture of Beyoncé, zendaya, Amanda, Ibeyi twins, and Chole and Halle on the porch that everyone was praising reflected black sisterhood. I agreed these were all beautiful black women but most of them on the lighter end of the spectrum and biracial with the only 2 “black girls” placed at the back of the picture where you could barely see them.

    And don’t even get me started on the “Nigerian” body painting.

    • More accurately, it reflects the culture of Louisiana, which is unique even relative to the United States. Still, Yoruba believes never really went away despite the slave ships. They were just transmuted into different traditions like Voudon and Santeria among others.

      • Annalise Keating

        Cool. Thanks for the clarification. I am Nigerian and always happy to learn about these things.

      • miss t-lee

        “More accurately, it reflects the culture of Louisiana, which is unique even relative to the United States.”

        Exactly.
        This is the reason I would like someone from the area, and the culture to break this down. Rather than folks on the outside looking in.

        * and I peeped the essay listed, it was appreciated.

      • Annalise Keating

        “Still, Yoruba believes never really went away despite the slave ships. They were just transmuted into different traditions like Voudon and Santeria among others.”

        Agreed. Emphasis on the phrase “transmuted into different traditions.” Different.

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