It’s been one week since Her Royal Majesty Queen Bey blessed us with the sweet sounds and sights of Lemonade, her sixth studio album, second visual album and, arguably, the best album of her career. And I’m still processing all of it’s awesomeness. To date, I’ve watched the videos once (way overdue for an encore) and I’ve listed to the album everyday on my commute.
Amid speculation of infidelity on Jay Z’s part and the mysterious identity of “Becky with the hair,” Lemonade is an ode to Black women — our beauty and our burdens — and, as the title suggests, making lemonade out of lemons, or the best of a bad situation.
When Beyoncé interrupted our weekend that fateful weekend in February with the surprise release of “Formation,” the #BlackGirlMagic anthem to rival all anthems, I relished in her ratchetness. Like President Obama nearing the end of his presidency, Bey simply has no f*cks left to give and I’m here for it.
But a former classmate and Facebook friend quickly brought my attention to my choice in words, describing Beyoncé’s new song and video as “unapologetically Black.” Admittedly, that was the first time I’d heard the phrase. And while there are still ratchet parts to “Formation” (Red Lobster, anyone?), “unapologetically Black” was hands down a better description.
So when I saw the video for “Sorry,” the fourth song on Lemonade, I thought back to that conversation and what it means to be “unapologetically Black.” Sure, on the surface it’s about a woman flipping the proverbial bird to her unfaithful husband. But I took away a lot more than that.
With Serena Williams, a woman people so desperately want to apologize for being young, Black and all the way fabulous, twerking away carelessly next to Bey, it became evident that this song was more than an “eff you” to Jay Z.
It’s about not being sorry for being Black, for being a woman.
It’s about not apologizing for being a feminist and simultaneously flaunting your femininity.
It’s about not being sorry for your sexuality or your sexiness.
It’s about not apologizing for being smart, savvy and/or sassy.
Since the beginning of time, women have been told “to shrink themselves, to make themselves smaller,” as Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie so eloquently said in her infamous “We Should All be Feminists” speech (also featured in “Flawless” from Beyoncé’s self-titled album). From the time we’re born, we’re basically told to apologize for our very existence.
Not anymore. I ain’t sorry. And neither is Bey. And you shouldn’t be either.