Ch. 3 – Anger (Don’t Hurt Yourself)

“DENIAL” RECAP

Beyoncé as first a sleeping, silent, and suppressed servant and then emerging as the powerful, life-giving goddess Oshun.

Left, her denial transitions to rage and destruction, culminating with a vicious knockout blow of the camera and then, right, Beyoncé stampeding a row of cars in a monster truck.


CH. 3 – ANGER

“Anger stirs and wakes in her…There is a sense of being in anger. A reality and presence. An awareness of worth. It is a lovely surging.”

Toni Morrison, The Bluest Eye

The Edna Karr High School marching band in streets of Algiers, a section of New Orleans also known as the 15th Ward. For nearly 150 years, this area served as the location where captive Africans were held before being sold into a lifetime of slavery.

As the murder revenge fantasy is described in poetry, the camera winds ominously down a dark stairwell to the chapter’s main setting: an underground parking garage.


Malcolm X’s Interjection

“The most disrespected person in America is the black woman. The most unprotected person in America is the black woman. The most neglected person in America is the black woman.”

Malcolm X, May 5, 1962

The words of Malcolm X at the funeral of Ronald Stokes are laid over visual portraits of everyday Black women on the streets in Louisiana. Their strength is silently yet effectively acknowledged as they stand strong, beautiful, and resilient despite their mistreatment.


Beauty, Struggle, and Strength

The black and white images of a circle of women underground, gowns tied together at the wrist, implies a shared struggle, one that binds them all. Their movements are individualized above, but inextricably linked.

Their movements go from being individual to now being in unison; their dress and unity representing the beauty and resilience Black women share.


Beyoncé’s Dominance and Aggression

Here we are confronted by Beyoncé for the first time in the chapter, shot from a low angle to show power. As she approaches the camera, it recedes further away, as if intimidated or emasculated by Beyoncé’s direct approach and confrontation.

Continue reading “Ch. 3 – Anger (Don’t Hurt Yourself)”

Ch 2 – Denial (Hold Up)

“INTUITION” RECAP

Beyoncé in Chapter 1, with her hair covered: left, a hoodie in reference to Trayvon Martin and systemic injustice; right, a headwrap alluding to the the tignon laws of Louisiana, each implying her repressed state.


Fort Macomb: A Symbol of “the Curse” of Slavery

Fort Macomb, from Chapter 1, an actual relic of the American Civil War and a visual allusion to the West African castles of the slave trade. Left, a canted angle to create a sense of stress or disorientation; right, a wide landscape shot.

Left, Beyoncé tepidly approaching those ruins, which are again shot wide in landscape juxtaposed with a vast sky (right).


Beyoncé’s Leap of Faith

Beyoncé’s leap of faith is the destruction of the current self that’s required to resurrect into something new. Left, rack focus is used to only slightly obscure what looks like tears in her eyes, after which she symbolically removes her hood (center) and leaps (right). Notice her Christ-like pose as she falls.


CH. 2 – DENIAL

Left, Beyoncé doesn’t hit the ground, but rather falls into a large body of water, introducing the next chapter “Denial.” Right, Beyoncé sheds her clothes, revealing nude undergarment. Water is traditionally symbolic of life, rebirth, fertility, and spiritual cleansing.

Left, Beyoncé submerged in water is in direct contrast with her in a bathtub without water on “Intuition” (right).


The Flooded Bedroom

Left, Beyoncé swims into a bedroom furnished with New Orleans “Creole Style” furniture and finds herself sleeping in bed alone, seeming to represent her current role in her relationship: silent, still, and as she described, “less awake” (right).

Beyoncé opens her eyes, looks at her surroundings, and lets out a huge breath; she’s awake now, or, perhaps more accurately, she’s been reborn.

Continue reading “Ch 2 – Denial (Hold Up)”

Ch. 1 – Intuition (Pray You Catch Me)

THE ELEVATOR TAPE & ITS AFTERMATH

The infamous surveillance video, leaked by TMZ.

Saturday Night Live’s cold open sketch a week later, parodying JAY-Z (Jay Pharoah), Beyoncé (Maya Rudolph) and Solange (Sasheer Zamata) with their bodyguard (Kenan Thompson).

“We love each other and above all we are family. We’ve put this behind us and hope everyone else will do the same.”

Exclusive statement to the Associated Press, released by the Knowles and Carter families

Tabloid speculation that persisted even after the couple’s press release attempting to dismiss the rumors.

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#LEMONADE 4.23 9PM ET | 6PM PT | HBO

A post shared by Beyoncé (@beyonce) on

Beyoncé’s April 16th, 2016 Instagram post. In it, we hear Beyoncé ask, ¨What am I gonna do, love?¨ before the title card announcing its forthcoming HBO release.


LEMONADE’S OPENING MOMENTS: A PROLOGUE

“She wanted to show the historical impact of slavery on black love, and what it has done to the black family.”

Melina Matsoukas, one of Lemonade’s directors and Beyoncé’s longtime friend and collaborator

The opening shot of the film is followed by this black and white image of a chain filmed at a slave plantation in Louisiana, the first of many images that transport us back to America’s history of tortuous slavery. Low angle shots are used to emphasize power dynamics, and the extremity of the angle depicts the chain looming over the viewer, as if we’re the ones chained to the wall.

Fort Macomb, an intimidating Civil War era brick fortress that serves as a symbol throughout the film.

Left, a wide shot that demonstrates the fortress’s size and expanse; right, a canted angle gives viewers an implication of stress, intimidation, or uneasiness.

Beyoncé in front of the curtain on stage, which mimics a director addressing an audience before a performance. Like the fortress, behind the curtain is some truth to her story, and she is preparing us, and herself, for its reveal.

Continue reading “Ch. 1 – Intuition (Pray You Catch Me)”

Season 5 begins NOW.

Season 5 dissects Kendrick Lamar’s Pulitzer Prize winning album, DAMN.

A direct continuation of To Pimp a Butterfly, DAMN. tells the story of conflicted prophet Kung Fu Kenny who rejects God’s call to prophesy in order to pursue sex, money, and murder. We follow Kenny as he attempts to reverse his curses into blessings.

Listen to Episode 1 on Spotify now (and a week later everywhere else).

Miseducation Mini-Series Begins NOW.

In honor of its 20th year anniversary, we begin our special 8 episode mini-series on The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill.

Using archival interviews and unmatched lyrical and musical analysis, we discover what exactly makes an album like Miseducation an undisputed classic.

Listen today on Spotify or wherever you get your podcasts.

Season 3 Shirts Now Available

Limited edition Dissect S3 shirts are now available for pre-order!

The S3 commemorative shirt image is inspired by the line “There’s a bull and a matador dueling in the sky” from the song “Solo” by Frank Ocean. The coloring is inspired by children’s rainbow “scratch art”, tying into the nostalgic childhood themes of Blonde. Finally, the two stargazing figures are young adults who may or may not be under the influence, reflecting the teenage experiences shared throughout Blonde (“We laid out on this wet floor/Away turf, no Astro/Mesmerized how the strobes glow”).

We also have standard Dissect logos tees available.

These shirts are available for a limited time. Pre-order today.

Be Featured on Season 3 Finale Episode!

If you’re listened to past seasons of Dissect, you’ll know that on our finale episodes, we feature a montage of Dissect listeners who share their thoughts on that season’s album and artist. Want to be featured on the Season 3 finale episode? Follow these instructions:

  1. Think about your biggest takeaway from Blonde and/or our season on Frank Ocean.
  2. Consolidate your thoughts to 30 seconds. I suggest writing it down. You can say a lot in 30 seconds, you just have to be organized.
  3. Use your phone and record your thoughts. Include your first name and where you’re from. Please, no shout outs or self-promotion.
  4. When you’re done recording, double check it’s around 30 seconds. Submissions longer than 45 seconds will not be used.
  5. Send audio clip to dissectpodcast@gmail.com. Title the email “S3 Submission”. Deadline is Sept. 10th.

Be sure to tune into the finale episode Sept. 18th on Spotify!