Close To Home: A Conversation About Beyoncé's 'Lemonade'
April 23, 2019 3:02 PM   Subscribe

We asked Professor Regina Bradley and writer dream hampton to share their dialogue about the visual album with us, to show the many directions Lemonade is sending people, knowing the two of them don't come to the art or the artist from the same place, knowing they require different things if they're to feel represented, knowing that feeling is a major factor in what's happening right now culturally, but it's not the only thing.
Close To Home: A Conversation About Beyoncé's 'Lemonade'
posted by hippybear (13 comments total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
I saw her tweet out that she didn't think this album was for her, but she still was intrigued. [...] And that was what was in her tweet. She's a white woman and she felt rejected looking at this video.

Maybe there was more to the original tweet than just being "intrigued" that isn't mentioned here, but that set-up really doesn't strike me as someone feeling "rejected" by the video. I'm a white, non-southern woman, and when I watched the music video I greatly enjoyed it - while realizing both that it wasn't *for* me and that it was perfectly ok for art to not be for everyone. I didn't feel rejected, but I also knew that I was not meant to be the target audience.

Edit: Maybe the tweet implied that she didn't watch the video because she didn't think it would be for her? It's still hard for me to parse.
posted by hopeless romantique at 3:29 PM on April 23 [4 favorites]

I'm a gay white dude living in the Inland NW who has not spent any real time in the South, but I found it transfixing and I somehow understood some of the symbolism being used (because I have touched on Santeria a bit in my life and I recognized the references).

I have a hard time with people saying art isn't for them. Like, it might not be your personal taste, in which case it isn't for you, but all art presented publicly is for everyone. How you respond to it is up to you.
posted by hippybear at 3:35 PM on April 23 [2 favorites]

That said, this is a good article about all of the influences and nods in the video. I don't know most of the references, but I like the deconstruction.
posted by hopeless romantique at 3:35 PM on April 23

I knew Lemonade wasn’t made for me but it doesn’t mean I didn’t have tears pouring down my face both times I watched it.

Not even sobbing crying, just water coming out of my eyes.
posted by sio42 at 5:23 PM on April 23 [6 favorites]

Reading the discussion it seems like even they - and to some extent we here - are confused by the two readings of "not for me". I don't see anyone there saying it wasn't to their taste, and I also don't see anyone saying they felt rejected. I am a white middle-class woman, Lemonade was literally not made for white middle-class women, aka "me". That's not rejection and I shouldn't take it as such, nor should a reading of it assume so, because it's *not about me* at all. That's the point. When I express opinions about Lemonade (or Homecoming) I phrase it as such: she didn't make that for my satisfaction, I just happen to find it satisfying, but again my opinion here was not asked for or necessary and I am flagging that I know that. It is meaningful that it is not made for me, I recognize that significance also.

It's a way of de-centering yourself and whiteness in the discussion but still bonding with other people who are enjoying it. It is unfortunately very close to a phrase suggesting "not to my taste" which I try to use in place of "not for me" because of this realization.
posted by Lyn Never at 5:42 PM on April 23 [17 favorites]

I agree with Lyn Never. I think all art can be appreciated by everybody but that doesn't mean all art was made with the world in mind and aimed towards the universal human experience. Lemonade is about the experiences of black women, in the US, in the South. It's not just about those experiences, but it's made with black women specifically in mind as consumers of that piece of art. The enjoyment and appreciation of this art by others is incidental.
posted by schroedinger at 6:38 PM on April 23 [9 favorites]

"Not for me" can be short for "I'm not into it but I'm not saying it's not good because I know I'm not the intended audience."
posted by atoxyl at 9:58 PM on April 23 [1 favorite]

What Lyn Never said.

I knew I was not intended audience.
posted by sio42 at 11:09 PM on April 23

I loved Lemonade and Homecoming, but as a middle class white woman, I knew that they weren't made primarily "for me". They were made for black women. I think acknowledging that and stepping back to let black women be the primary people interpreting and appreciating these pieces is the right thing for white women to do.
posted by all about eevee at 5:50 AM on April 24 [1 favorite]

For me, "not for me" means it wasn't made for me, and I know any opinions (especially negative or neutral) I have about it are not welcome and solely my problem to process by myself or with my people. But I still feel welcome to non intrusively lurk and I feel grateful for the opportunity to view or listen to it. To admire Beyoncé's majesty in getting it done and making such beautiful things happen.
posted by kalessin at 7:40 AM on April 24

As a white male nerd who's been a comics fan for quarter of a century: "Not meant for me" is in general a good thing. There are many, many things that are meant for me. And they tend to be less good, not because white male nerds are inherently less talented but because it's easier for a mediocre white male nerd to be given a platform and because of how many mediocre white nerds have been given platforms it's much harder for one to find something new to say or a fresh way of saying something than someone with a less popular perspective would have.

Many good but not great works (such as most Marvel movies) get a lot of their work done by resonance. If a movie for white male nerds fails to land with me I can call it not good because it even missed the resonance. I can't make this judgement about things which don't resonate with me because they resonate with experiences I don't share - so I'm just not competent to be a critic. And even when they are near or powerful enough to resonate I know I will miss the nuances.
posted by Francis at 8:14 AM on April 24 [1 favorite]

I watched Homecoming. I have yet to listen to the full Lemonade album. But Homecoming was so powerful and resonant. Such a majestic work.
posted by kalessin at 11:33 AM on April 24

Little ol' white lady here and I loved Lemonade!
It was about black women and all women.
The music, the visuals - this woman is so talented!
posted by Mesaverdian at 3:26 PM on April 24 [1 favorite]

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