A Theological Read on Beyonce’s ‘Lemonade’

The damage that has historically been done and continues to be done to the psyche, spirits and bodies of black women is incomprehensible. There was nothing coincidental about the faces of the women you saw. Serena Williams’ awe-inspiring physique diminished to animal-like features. Insults hurled at Zendaya by fashion police over faux locs. The Onion calling then 9 year old Quvenzhané the c-word. Blue Ivy’s natural fro as an object of vicious public critique. Mama Tina reclaiming love in her 60s after years of enduring a cheating husband. The mothers of the Movement having to defend their parenting and affirm the humanity of their slain children.

Lemonade gathered them all. The dark skinned “African booty scratcher.” The high yellow “house negro.” The hood rat and the mammy. Reminiscent of the Biblical lepers and outcasts. Brought out from the shadows of rejection into the fold of the mainstream. What I saw in Lemonade was Liberation Theology at work in a way that was not only palatable for the masses but so effortlessly soul-stirring that there was no room left for rejection. No room for white supremacy to center itself. No room for questions about the beauty of blackness. No room to deny black humanity. No room to render black woman anything other than reflections of God. That’s why the film required everything from Yoruba Orishas to grandma’s southern home remedies to Native American tribal traditions. Because all of us had to be centered as supreme and regal and indisputable.

Lemonade left us with an open invitation to a celebration of black women’s resilience. You were left with two options: put on your dancing shoes and prepare to rejoice with us – or – leave the party knowing that it will go on – with or without you.


Always forward.

Rahiel Tesfamariam is a public theologian, social activist, writer and speaker. She is also a former columnist for The Washington Post and founder/ publisher of UrbanCusp.com, a cutting-edge online lifestyle magazine highlighting progressive urban culture, faith, social change and global awareness. Visit Rahiel.com and follow her on Twitter and Instagram @RahielT.

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