How Beyoncé's 'Lemonade' took Us Home
“She pulled in her horizon like a great fish-net. Pulled it from around the waist of the world and draped it over her shoulder. So much of life in its meshes! She called in her soul to come and see” - Zora Neale Hurston, Their Eyes Were Watching God
At home is not able to simply rest, she must confront the pain of her father leaving and the confusion of how her mother forgave him. There is a lesson she is meant to learn no matter how reluctant she is. The sweet is never without the bitter.
I thought of Janie’s Nanny and Janie’s mother as the camera in Lemonade slowly zoomed into the faces of various women on their porches, standing next trees, faces hidden behind leaves, while Beyonce contemplates: “”
It’s Beyonce wondering, like Alice Walker once did, where our mother’s gardens are. Where was the space for these women—whose bodies, whose spirits, whose hearts were chained by white supremacy and pummeled by the hands of the men they loved—to dream, to create, to live, to heal?
who have had to keep tight reins on their grief.
She is baptized in the same water she was once drowning in. Reconciling with her lover is a beautiful moment, but it is not the point of her story. Her lover is no longer the sum of her worth. Janie discovers this same truth after having to take the life of the man she loved deeply. Both women have been pushed to their breaking point and have pulled together a resilience whose code lies in their DNA. It is something like magic that I've been a witness to my entire life. When my grandfather was murdered at 22, my grandmother took her son, and the daughter growing inside of her, back home to her mother's house. At home is where she grieved an unbelievable loss. At home is where she discovered the strength to pull her pieces together and carve out a life for her children and herself. Home is where the strongest of women are allowed to break down. In Lemonade we bore witness to the strongest woman in popular culture breaking down. But these women do not stay down. Home, as depicted in Lemonade and Their Eyes Were Watching God, is a reprieve, an exhalation, a balm to restore women as they examine the life caught in the meshes of their horizon. I wonder what my great-grandmother saw. Like Beyoncé, I marvel at how she spun gold out of this hard life.