Beyoncé was joined in her journey by a procession of Black women. Together they stood knee deep in baptismal waters and raised their arms as if to take flight from an inherited cultural prison. Together they created the conditions that make “glorious healing” possible.
Beyoncé in a white dress reborn from the baptismal waters gently lapping on the shore.
CH. 8 – FORGIVENESS
We transition from the black and white dominant visuals into a noticeably more warm, colorful interior space. Left, a welcoming fire; right, bare feet walk toward the camera, implying Beyoncé has come in from the cold. She’s home now.
Left, old photos in frames on a dresser, a reminder of Beyoncé’s ancestry and forebears; right, the album cover of Nina Simone’s 1967 album Silk & Soul, where rack focus first centers on the cover itself then shifts to emphasize the record spinning, calling attention to The Look of Love playing beneath Beyoncé’s spoken word poetry.
“Connecting to the past and knowing our history makes us both bruised and beautiful.”Beyoncé in VOGUE, August 2018
A cracked bowl, reassembled in the Japanese art of Kintsugi, which translates to “golden repair,” a perfect symbol for Lemonade‘s approach to glorious healing, bruised and beautiful, golden cracks, lemonade from lemons.
The intimacy of the song’s arrangement, heavily focused on only Beyonce’s voice and lyrics with minimal instrumentation, is reflected by Beyoncé with no makeup, seated on the floor of a sparsely furnished living area. This implies a very personal, vulnerable, and raw moment of musical expression.
Wilting white flowers in a vase, not dead, but clinging to life in need of fresh water, a metaphoric nod to the state of the couple’s relationship.
“I pray that I am able to break the generational curses in my family and that my children will have less complicated lives.”Beyoncé in VOGUE, August 2018
Left, water color paintings done by a child, a reminder of the magnitude of their bond and the stakes of their union; right, an old wristwatch and an antique key, implying that time, history, and the past is the key to understanding and unlocking the present moment.
Beyoncé in bed reading the morning paper, laughing warmly as someone wearing a wristwatch playfully covers her mouth and tickles her neck; she returns the gesture by kissing his hand.
Reveal of their real life relationship
As the camera pans up to reveal the silhouettes of JAY-Z and Beyoncé, the implication is that the infidelity story told in Lemonade is based on their real life relationship.
JAY-Z upside-down in the frame at the feet of Beyoncé, implying a sense of worship, gratitude, and humility.
In many ways a summary of the entire album’s purpose: the wristwatch, the wedding ring, and the Black hands in union signify that the generational curse has been broken as a result of their decision to forgive and grow stronger together.
Two different confrontations here are depicted: left, the partners confront each other in the model of restorative justice; right, the partners commune, side-by-side, to understand each other’s cursed past and the path forward.
“To forgive, we must overcome resentment, not by denying ourselves the right to feel resentment, but by forcing ourselves to see the culprit with compassion, benevolence and love, even while knowing that he has voluntarily relinquished his right to these.”Joanna North, English Philosopher
A gallery of intimate images implying a reciprocal affection and understanding, as both partners play the role of comforter and comforted in different shots. The eye contact with the camera from each is a public acknowledgement of the state of their repaired relationship. Also notice the placement of the couple’s hands in the bottom right image, possibly implying that the burden and pain of infertility or miscarriage is being shared for the first time.
BONUS MATERIALS: Episode References and Links
- Nina Simoneś The Look of Love:
- Nina Simoneś Mississippi Goddam:
- Nina Simoneś Old Jim Crow: