Beyoncé Addresses Jay Z’s Alleged Infidelity. Beyoncé has once again helped create something really cool and interesting.
And it was birthed from a very painful life experience. Which is sort of the way these things have to happen.
With very few details announced in advance of her LEMONADE one-hour special on HBO, the music icon debuted her new album as a film, featuring contributions from The Weeknd and James Blake. Similar to 2013’s BEYONCÉ, she pieced together music videos with in-between vignettes and spoken-word introductions.
And although she was not hyper specific about the content of the music, it’s clear she is coping with the emotional fallout from her husband, Jay Z’s, “alleged” cheating. Consequently, this film stands as a medium to explore her feelings about the situation and how she got through it. Well, sort of got through it.
Because does ANYONE ever really move completely past anything so life altering?
I have my doubts… regardless of who you are. And I think Lemonade is a testament to this.
Directors for the visual-album include Mark Romanek (one of my faves), Khalil Joseph, Melina Matsoukas, Todd Tourso, Dikayl Rimmasch, Jonas Akerlund and, of course, Beyoncé.
It should be noted the short film sequences are entirely devoid of dance routines, which is one of her hallmarks. Instead, LEMONADE is an exploration of marriage post-Superstar Beyoncé, where now she is much more straight-faced, staring the infidelity right in the face and addressing her husband directly.
“You remind me of my father, a magician / Able to exist in two places at once / And the tradition and men and my blood, you come home at 3 a.m. and lie to me / What are you hiding?” she says.
At one point, she plunges off a building into a deep ocean, reemerging in a bedroom asking, “Are you cheating on me?”
Later, in the song, “Don’t Hurt Yourself” she is wrapped in a fur coat, strutting through a parking garage with her hair done in cornrows, addressing her husband:
“Beautiful man, I know you lying, Who the f**k do you think I am? You try this shit again, you gon’ lose your wife.”
As the woman scorned, she turns her aim to the mistress and confronts her directly:
“Did he bend your reflection? Did he make you forget your own name? Did he convince you he was a god? Do you get on your knees daily? Do his eyes close like doors? Are you a slave to the back of his head? Am I talking about your husband, or your father?”
Beyoncé’s father, Mathew Knowles, also appears in the film, playing Grandfather with Blue Ivy during “Daddy Lessons.”
And finally she comes around with the song, “Forgiveness,” one of the themes that lays out the stages of grief which she experiences through the film:
“Baptize me, now that the reconciliation is possible / If we’re going to heal, let it be glorious. One-thousand girls raise their arms. Do you remember being born? Are you thankful?”
Beyoncé sits at a piano keyboard with headphones on as the first images of her and Jay Z appear, signifying a change and bringing to life maybe her best song lyrics yet:
“We built sandcastles that washed away, I made you cry when I walked away / Oh, and although I promised that I could stay baby / every promise don’t work out that way,”
Singer-songwriter James Blake appears on a stark piano ballad, where Sybrina Fulton and Lesley McFadden hold up pictures of their sons Trayvon Martin and Mike Brown, both killed by police. It’s a continuation of the politically-charged “Formation,” which is included at the album’s end.
The film comes to a conclusion by going full circle: Beyoncé is pictured with Blue Ivy and Jay Z, smiling and laughing in a backyard. It’s a nice conclusion to her latest musical opera, but whether Bey and her husband have truly come out on the other side remains to be seen. Being rich and famous certainly doesn’t make you bullet proof to emotional turmoil.
However, there are not too many artists, in either film or music, who have had the balls to showcase the effect an infidelity has had on them, and then make it the center piece to an entire artistic expression.
Hats off to ‘Team Lemonade’ for breaking out and giving us something to think about.