Originally published with New York Observer on April 29, 2016.
Beyoncé’s HBO special Lemonade presents community after community of black women—in homes and gardens, on buses and porches—to emphasize how they have not only shaped her but helped her heal as well. Alongside presence, however, exists absence, the two reliant upon each another for their very definition. What does this mean exactly? Black men are largely missing from the short film.
True, they comprise the music’s subject matter, but they hardly register visually. In a project about and for black women, that absence might not seem so out of the ordinary, but considering how Beyoncé focuses on issues affecting the black community, could there be a larger message underneath?
As a white female music journalist based in New Orleans, my aim here is to pose questions in order to contribute to a larger conversation; by no means am I attempting to claim that conversation, nor to claim Lemonade as something directed toward me.
Indeed, Lemonade serves as a clarion call to black women. But even as it speaks to women, the questions surrounding how it presents men, or in this case, perhaps how it doesn’t, are worth exploring. Does Lemonade highlight the significant and far-reaching effects that follow from men’s perceived or actual absence?
[Full article available at New York Observer.]