There is no doubt that Beyonce’s Lemonade was a monumental piece of art. It strayed far from the usual music that Beyonce does. She has poured her heart and soul into the album to send a strong message.
The album might not have become as huge a hit as Adele’s 25, but it definitely captured the attention of many. Beyonce didn’t create an album meant for everyone to consume. Instead, she made it specifically for black women. She wants to tell their story from their point of view.
Perhaps, for people who have listened to the songs in the album for the first time, some words don’t mean anything. “Becky with the good hair” and “I like my negro nose with Jackson Five nostrils” are among the metaphors used in her songs that didn’t mean to anyone who has not gone through what black women had- their lifestyle and cultural references.
When Beyonce took the stage during the 2016 Super Bowl half time show, she used the huge platform to not just sing her song, but also express the meaning even more through the entire production. She was hailed for her performance, but also earned criticisms for using the Super Bowl to further a political agenda.
The Academy is still heavily white and male
As Beyonce made her album specifically for black women, only a few of the Academy members might have really appreciated Lemonade. After all, the voting members are still mostly old, white men. This could also explain why throughout the history of the Grammys, only a few black artists have won Album of the Year. The last time a black woman took the same title home was Lauryn Hill in 1999. This is also not the first time that Beyonce surprisingly lost the top plum to a white artist.
Understanding cultural differences
If there is one thing that Beyonce’s defeat has taught us, it is the fact that we have to be more open to cultural diversity. Just because you can’t say that a piece of art was created for you don’t mean it is bad. Beyonce took the risk of inverting the status quo by giving voices to those who were left in the sidelines. Lemonade didn’t speak for everyone, but it shouted and cursed for women who have been let down by institutional racism and political biases.
Adele’s gesture during her acceptance speech was the silver lining in that awards night. She made it clear that the album meant a lot to her and her black friends. She has shown that despite not being a black woman, she appreciated what Beyonce’s album meant. She also made it clear that Beyonce deserved the award and she has been an inspiration to everyone.
Adele even said backstage that she voted for Lemonade to win Album of the Year. It should be a loud call to the Grammys to change the composition of its voting members to include more people of color. If not, they must at least be more open to albums that were not made to cater to the general public.
Hopefully, Beyonce’s defeat won’t stop her from creating music that is as good as or even better than Lemonade. It should also inspire young black artists to strive harder to have a bigger platform to let their voices be heard.
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2nd image by Beyonce_cropped.jpg: *derivative work: — Malik Shabazz (talk • contribs) Beyonce.jpg: Jen Keys derivative work: Beao (Beyonce_cropped.jpg) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons