‘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.’

Read that again. This time, replace ‘America’ with ‘world’.

Anyone who listens to those famous words by Malcolm X as they play in Beyoncé’s ‘Don’t Hurt Yourself’, and still attempts to reduce her Lemonade album to Jay-Z’s infidelity is refusing to hear and refusing to see black women. And that refusal in itself would not be surprising, because if the world had really been interested in hearing or seeing black women from the start, Lemonade would not have existed.

Lemonade is the story of the relationship black women have with the world. In this relationship between black women and the world, black womanhood is usually up for grabs by everyone all the time.

At its core, Lemonade reclaims black womanhood after the world has demanded our loyalty, our smiles, our patience, our kindness, our warmth, our forgiveness and our understanding.

Lemonade reclaims country. Lemonade reclaims R&B. Lemonade reclaims reggae. Lemonade reclaims rock.

In a world where white women claim solidarity with black women and then go on to tell us to deny our blackness for the sake of the ‘greater struggle’, Lemonade is for black women and black women alone. In a world where black men claim solidarity with black women and then go on to tell us to deny our womanhood for the sake of ‘the greater struggle’, Lemonade is for black women and black women alone.

Lemonade stans for the black sisterhood that the world so fears by saying we are going to stans together, cry together, fight together, laugh together, twerk together, sing together, grow together, and goddamn, we are going to love together. Lemonade stands for black women across the word by connecting the dots between the Americas, the Caribbean and the African continent.

Lemonade stans for the black sisterhood that the world so fears by featuring as many black women as it can from Quvenzhané Wallis and Serena Williams to Lesley McSpadden and Sybrina Fulton. In a world where it’s easier to appropriate than to appreciate, Lemonade stands for black women by referencing Warsan Shire, Alice Walker and Toni Morrison to Julie Dash and Carrie Mae Weems.

Lemonade reclaims the world for black women because, after all, it is built on black women’s backs.

In crafting a personal-political statement, I don’t need for Beyoncé to get it all right for me to love and appreciate her. What is most significant about the album is the continued personal-political growth of back women in public. It is most significant that she charts a moment, a space to be so publicly vulnerable after years of carefully curating a brand image of black womanhood that is acceptable, desirable and unthreatening to the world, like so many black women have to do everyday to make it at school, in corporate, in the arts and the wider world that demands an image of ‘strong black womanhood’.

Lemonade reclaims the world for black women because, after all, it is built on black women’s backs.