One of my Facebook “friends” unfriended back in the spring during the primaries because he was a die-hard Bernie Sanders supporter. I was just irked that this dude blew up my comment thread on Facebook by arguing with other friends on Facebook. I had to disable the comments because it was getting ugly. However, I was never in fear of my safety. It is prescient that some Hillary supporters joined Pantsuit Nation (PSN) as a safe space for Hillary Clinton. Did they know something I didn’t know?! In retrospect, I would posit that PSN had many close friends and family who were Trump supporters, and they sought out PSN as refuge. However, it wasn’t like joining Weight Watchers. Pantsuit Nation is the worst accountability partner ever. By remaining silent and not promoting advocacy, PSN was just a place to bitch and moan about Trump. In a way, it makes more sense that there was a secret Trump Facebook group, but since Trump voters had nothing to worry about, I guess it wasn’t necessary. Besides, there are secret Facebook groups for buying guns, and I am sure they reach a similar demographic.
One of my most popular Facebook status updates went something like this:
You don’t have to have an opinion on everything.
I believe that to be true. The only thing is that I rarely see people with dissenting views from popular opinion speak up. As much freedom as we have to say what we feel, many of us have been relying heavily on letting others do that for us. Whether it is a retweet or share, it seems as though we have ceded our opinions to others who have either wrote it first or better. Although I enjoy reading and sharing what someone has said more eloquently than I, I can’t silence myself in deference to others. So here are my thoughts on Beyonce’s LEMONADE.
Don’t worry. My thinkpiece is short.
It’s my opinion. It is my perspective and life experience. I don’t speak for all black women. In case you don’t know, black people are not a monolith, and especially not black women. I am happy that some black women feel vindicated, validated or (Black Twitter-verified) by LEMONADE, but I am not one of them.
First, if you plan on writing about this yourself, please heed the warnings of people who will let you know that everything is not for everybody. (Thanks, Very Smart Brothas!)
As Jasmine Masters from RuPaul’s Drag Race famously said “No Tea, No Shade, No Pink Lemonade”, I will pass on sipping Beyonce’s LEMONADE.
LEMONADE has merits. It is a visual album that has a tighter concept than the previous Beyonce.
The cinematography is stunning. The production is great. The music is phenomenal.
However, the content is not my cup of tea. Calling out the messy details of your marriage may be cathartic, but it does nothing for me. Walking around with bat that says “hot sauce” is a bit on the nose.
My other complaint is that I abhor “plantation chic” fashion. I love a cotton dress, but dressing like a doily is not my thing. In fact, I wish the styling was more of the Afro-futuristic rather than antebellum.
I do like that Beyonce is stepping outside the comfort zone of a pop star, but LEMONADE did not resonate for me personally. I am not thirsty for LEMONADE and that’s OK. Everything is not for everybody. Furthermore, everything Beyonce is NOT for all black women.
When Kreayshawn came out with “Gucci, Gucci” a few year ago, there was much discussion about her authenticity. However, the content of her song were not discussed as much. Now, there’s Lorde and Lily Allen following in her footsteps and they cover similar ground with “Royals” and “It’s Hard Out Here”. There’s an air of arrogant anti-consumerism. Not everyone is into designer clothes and name-dropping brands. I don’t really care about red bottoms or Maybachs. Many hip hop artists have dropped the name of aspirational lifestyle brands in their lyrics. Some of their fans go out and buy it. Lyrics are not necessarily endorsements.The issue here is that artists like Kreayshawn, Lorde and Lily Allen are making the point that they don’t need to mention designer brand to make hit songs. They may wear them on the red carpet, but not include them in lyrics.
Is that greeting too off-putting because I don’t know each and every Black woman in America?!
We may not all be related. We are definitely not a monolith, but we share enough experiences that it is safe to say we are a sisterhood.
Even as strangers, we let each other know if there is lipstick on our teeth or if our purse is not zipped up.
So lately, there has been conversation about women, their careers and lives. Sheryl Sandberg is telling us to “lean in”; Marissa Mayer is saying we can’t work home and Anne Marie Slaughter says we can’t have it all. However, we don’t seem to have a “bitch in this fight”. [ I only say bitch because it is female for dog. I am not calling anyone a bitch or a dog.] What I am saying is that we Black women are NOT represented in this discussion. Neither are other women of color.
Anne Marie Slaughter, Marissa Mayer, and Sheryl Sandberg don’t speak for us. They also don’t speak for their sisters who are white and struggling to keep their jobs, their homes and feed their children.
Aspirational lifestyle articles that talk about Slaughter, Mayer,and Sanberg start off with the assumption that everyone reading them is making bank. They reek of privilege and do nothing to move the conversation about the difficulty of women’s evolving roles as business owners, mothers, wives and community leaders.
How can women without money and resources become authors like Sandberg? How can they become tech start-up entrepreneurs?
How can they homeschooled their kids? How can they run for political office?
We want those stories. Sistas have those stories. Let the conversation start from women with less than six-figure incomes. Everyone can learn from them.
Earlier this week, I was asked “What are the ten most important thing women, 18 to 34, need to know about to remain culturally relevant.” I thought about it and here is my list in no particular order. Add your ideas in the comments.
- Economic Independence: Know that they can pursue their dreams and not starve.
- Reproductive Rights: Be aware of how that the President appoints judges to the Supreme Court and that reproductive laws can vary from state to state.
- Being comfortable with your sexuality: whether you are a serial dater, married, single, lesbian, bisexual. Practicing abstinence counts, too.
- Communicate effectively with grace and like a grown-up. Showing humility with others and stop the baby talk.
- Read about the world both locally and globally: read books, newspapers, magazines and online media. Know what is going on in the world around you.
- Green your life: Be aware of you can be green. More than recycling. It is about using less.
- Being fit: Start now with healthy habits. Walking, running, yoga, going to the gym.
- Enjoy food: Grown your own. Cook your own meals.
- Accept yourself: Be confident about your mind and body. Appreciate your mental quirks and physical being.
- Develop your own personal style: Know what colors and clothes fits your personality and body.