On the Saturday morning BL (Before Lemonade), I tweeted, ‘#LEMONADE day! What do you think it is? Album? Mini movie? She’s revealing gran’s lemonade recipe?’
About three quarters into the visual album, I gasped. There it was – Beyoncé’s spoken word voice-over sharing her grandmother’s lemonade recipe.
‘Take one pint of water, add half a pound of sugar, the juice of eight lemons, the zest of half a lemon, Pour the water from one jug then into the other several times. Strain using a clean napkin.’
The themes explored on Lemonade are multi-layered: adultery, infidelity, love, sisterhood, redemption, forgiveness and generational pain. While Lemonade is made of undistllled #BlackGirlMagic, it’s the last theme I keep coming back to: the sins of our fathers and the resilience of our mothers.
‘Am I talking about your husband or your father?’
Throughout the film, Bey draws a parallel between the pain caused by her lover (maybe autobiographical) and that caused by her father (definitely autobiographical). The idea of ‘daddy issues’ is not new territory in pop culture, but Beyoncé’s reframes it, looking at it through the lens of black womanhood.
‘When trouble comes to town / And men like me come around / Oh, my daddy said shoot’
Her ‘Daddy Lessons’ – not issues, mind you – are bittersweet: independence, toughness, but flavoured with sour notes about her father’s relationship with her mother. Beyoncé talks about legacies passed down through generations. She describes how her grandmother ‘spun gold out of this hard life, conjured beauty from the things left behind […and…] found healing where it did not live’.
‘You passed these instructions down to your daughter who then passed it down to her daughter.’
It’s been a week since we were served Lemonade. It’s made me cry, dance, write and most importantly, think. Lemonade challenges me as a feminist, as a woman and as a newlywed. How do I partner? How will I parent? How will I work through generational pain to ensure I only serve those who come after me the sweetest lemonade?