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On Saturday, Beyoncé’s new visual album Lemonade was released on HBO. I think the whole world was surprised as the generally private artist opened her soul and let us all peer into the intuition, denial, anger, apathy, emptiness, accountability, reformation, forgiveness, resurrection, and redemption (also the name of chapters within the visual album) she has experienced over the past several years following (what seems to be) her husband’s infidelity.

It is the most intimate portrait into the couple’s lives that has ever been provided and I spent an hour picking my jaw off the floor at the raw truth-telling that I witnessed.

Beyonce Embed
Credit: Courtesy Tidal

As I watched Lemonade, it occurred to me how rare it is to see an unedited journey of the feminine — with its complicated emotions, twists, and turns — laid before us in popular culture. Lemonade takes one of the most taboo subjects of all and rips it wide open, illustrating the heartbreak of infidelity and moving it from the realm of quiet whispers among our closest sister-girl confidants and showcasing it to the entire world. While Lemonade is a deeply personal album, it is also one of the most realistic and comprehensive public portrayals of the pain, struggles, difficulties, and ultimately joy of black family life I’ve ever seen.

I don’t know about everyone else, but I was awestruck at Beyoncé’s courageous decision to be so open about her pain and redemption. I laughed, I cried, I rejoiced — it gave me soooo much in one hour. After watching and re-watching (probably ten times in a 24-hour period), I was able to identify four major themes that are vital to recognize in order to understand the work in its entirety. This includes infidelity, resilience of the black family, breadth of black culture, and finally redemption through love.

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