How Beyoncé’s Powerful New Album “Lemonade” Speaks to the Truth about Marriage


What's worse? Looking jealous or crazy?

by Meg Keene, CEO & Editor-In-Chief

beyonce car

What’s worse? Looking jealous or crazy? Or like being walked all over lately? I’d rather be crazy.

One of my girlfriends and I always talk about what we consider to the basic fact of life: women need to be able to provide for themselves (and their kids) on a moment’s notice. While being a mother and wife are both some of the most important roles in our lives, our most important job—actual job—will always be the one that pays the bills. Why? Because men can be dumb. Because you never know.

Beyoncé dropped Lemonade late this past Saturday night. It started with a bang: an hour-long, shots fired out of the gate, visual album on HBO, followed by the release of the audio album. All of this was expected—after “Formation,” we knew something was coming, and we all know that Beyoncé can drop an album without any prior notice. But what nobody saw coming was the true nature of Lemonade itself: a rageful, reflective, powerful, and profoundly intimate raw discussion on marriage. On life. On infidelity, and specifically, on how Jay-Z (allegedly) cheated on Beyoncé and the ensuing emotional fallout—and eventual redemption—that followed.

Lemonade is for women, but even more importantly than that, it’s an album by a black woman for black women (which was most excellently noted by Luvvie, of course). In “Don’t Hurt Yourself,” Beyoncé offers up this famous Malcolm X quote:

The most disrespected person in America is the black woman. The most unprotected person in America is the black woman.

She doesn’t stop there—Beyoncé enlisted an incredible team of black women for the video experience. In the track “Forward” (introduced as the “Resurrection” section of the visual album), the mothers of young, slain black men have their own moment. In fact, these women own their moments as they unflinchingly stare into the camera while holding a photo of their murdered child, ending with Michael Brown’s mother’s unbroken gaze, a single tear falling down her face.

michael-browns-mother

She also pulled together a collective of some of the best and most powerful celebrities, athletes, and actresses on the planet: in “Sorry,” Serena Williams, a woman who has been bashed for her appearance and her domination of women’s tennis, twerks and gyrates Beyoncé-style all over a mansion while sending out a silent “Fuck you” with her eyes. Simultaneously, Beyoncé is draped across a throne a la Serena’s Sports Illustrated cover from last year. Quvenzhané Wallis, most recently from the remake of Annie, holds hands with Beyoncé’s daughter in “Freedom.” Poet Warsan Shire worked closely on the creation of Lemonade. Disney star and activist Zendaya appears throughout the hour, and Amandla Stenberg—who you might recognize from Hunger Games and/or her powerful Tumblr—is also present. Beyoncé brings two of her recently signed artists, Chloe and Halle Bailey, into the fold, along with Winnie Harlow. The message? This isn’t just about Beyoncé: It’s not just one woman’s story.

Beyonce in a fur coat

Lemonade is also about the state of a marriage, the power of women, and what our unchecked rage can look like. It’s 2016, and Beyoncé no longer has to sit quietly, smile prettily, and defer rumors about her husband’s possible infidelities. In 2016, Beyoncé—and the album implies #allwomen—can grab the reins of power and put her husband publicly on notice. As she says in “Don’t Hurt Yourself”:

This is your final warning. You know I give you life. You try this shit again, you gon’ lose your wife.

The pain Beyoncé is speaking to, and the experience she is bringing to the forefront isn’t anything new, and it’s not something unique to her—which is part of the power of the album. I mean, who in the world would cheat on Beyoncé? Obviously someone would, or at last might have, and in doing so she joined the legions of women who have come before and will come after—the women who will wrestle with this pain. She’s not even the first in her family to experience it (though we all knew that). She contextualizes her pain in the context of generations of her family and generations of women:

You remind me of my father, a magician… able to exist in two places at once. In the tradition of men in my blood, you come home at 3 a.m. and lie to me. What are you hiding? The past and the future merge to meet us here. What luck. What a fucking curse.

While putting the power not with her father, exposed as a cheater, but with her mother:

Mother dearest, let me inherit the earth. Teach me how to make him beg. Let me make up for the years he made you wait. Did he bend your reflection? Did he make you forget your own name? Did he convince you he was a god? Did you get on your knees daily? Did his eyes close like doors? Are you a slave to the back of his head? Am I talking about your husband, or you father?

beyoncepregnatn

But it was as Beyoncé’s unchecked rage played across the screen, that I realized that this album wasn’t just about the pain of betrayal, it was also the portrait of the depth of married love. Because while—twelve years into my relationship—I haven’t experienced this particular pain, I have experienced other kinds of pain. Death, childbirth gone wrong, the depths of depression. And as Beyoncé sums up in one powerful lyric—the act of being a woman in a relationship is both powerful and vulnerable. We’re the ones who have the power to bear the children, while counting on our partner’s devotion.

So, what are you gonna say at my funeral now that you’ve killed me? Here lies the body of love of my life, whose heart I broke without a gun to my head. Here lies the mother of my children, both living and dead. Rest in peace, my true love, who I took for granted. Most bomb pussy who, because of me, sleep evaded.

By Sunday night, almost every woman I know went to bed angry with her husband. Because if Beyoncé can be cheated on, what does that say for the rest of us? What does that say about men in general?

beyoncejayz

I was angry enough to sit my husband down and make him watch the full hour of Lemonade without interruption, I went to bed that night feeling like marriage is more powerful than I even knew. Because as the album closes, Beyoncé says:

Why do you deny yourself heaven? Why do you consider yourself undeserving? Why are you afraid of love? You think it’s not possible for someone like you? But you are the love of my life… There is a curse that will be broken.

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But for all that Lemonade ends with adorable home video footage of their wedding, and Jay-Z and Beyoncé playing with the world’s cutest child, Blue Ivy, Beyoncé ends with one final warning:

Ashes to ashes, dust to side chicks.

did you see lemonade? how did it make you feel about yourself? Your marriage? Race, culture, legacy? This is your open thread to work out all of those lemonade thoughts.

Meg Keene

Meg is the Founder and EIC of APW. She has written two best selling wedding books: A Practical Wedding and A Practical Wedding Planner. Meg has her BFA in Drama from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts. She lives in Oakland, CA with her husband and two children. For more than you ever wanted to know about Meg, you can visit MegKeene.com. #NASTY

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  • Jessica

    I cannot wait to watch this.

    Having not watched it, but seen stuff about “Becky with the good hair,” and having just watch all of the Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt (season 2), it makes me wonder about the place of mistresses in society now. I’m also watching Outlander season 2 where a lot of the political game takes place in a brothel with men and prostitutes making jokes about the Wives.

    • Maddie Eisenhart

      Weirdly, I also made connections between Lemonade and The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. Though, halfway through watching Lemonade now, my connection is more about women and anger, and our right to access and own that emotion.

      • Danielle

        Yes! You don’t see too many images of women angry, and also beautiful in our culture. Many times feminine anger is stereotyped and pigeonholed as “crazy” (as well as impotent). Which she does explore, but then smashes it :)

        • Maddie Eisenhart

          Right? “I’d rather be crazy” might be the most powerful part of the whole thing for me. Like, we fight against this stereotype SO HARD. But for what? Fuck it, call me crazy. Then what happens?

          • Cellistec

            I want to read more about the power in women owning the “crazy” label. Follow-up post?

    • The B.

      Well, one thing I know is that I am *so* angry at [Name redacted because ugh, but you know] for making Beyonce’s masterpiece about herself. Like, ridic angry.

      Obviously, the internet reaction towards her has been expectedly over-the-top/cruel, but the fact that I’m hearing more about the gossip behind the poetry (which Ms. [Redacted] purposefully instigated with a petty Instagram post) rather than pieces like this one here? Infuriating. Beyonce created something that goes so far beyond any piece of artwork I’ve seen in YEARS and all the media focus is on superfluous details like this woman’s identity, which might have been inevitable. But that woman posted something mere hours after it dropped, likely to fame piggyback. To me, that’s very close to being equally disrespectful to Beyonce (especially as an Artist) than the actual alleged infidelity.

      And I say that as someone who thinks “other women” get an almost horrifyingly unfair reputation in our world.

      • Lawyerette510

        Also, I feel a little badly for Rachel Ray, whose name sounds a lot like the person with whom you are angry, as the Beyhive has swarmed on her confusing her with the person to whom you refer.

        • Meg Keene

          That’s my favorite awful funny awful thing that happened. ALSO, the idea of Jay Z with Rachel Ray is just… HA. #enjoy

          • Lawyerette510

            I hadn’t even actually thought about the idea of Jay Z with Rachel Ray, sounds like an SNL skit

          • Cellistec

            Especially if the skit can work in a line about “I got hot sauce in my bag” to which Rachael replies, “Yum-o!”

          • Totch

            There’s a really tacky “30 Minute Meal” joke in there too.

          • Cellistec

            Oooohhh noooooo. You’re right, though.

      • Jessica

        I seriously don’t know enough about the rumors or Lemonade to make a very good comment on this, but I would put her actions into categorically “I Want To Be FAMOUS!” behavior. Like, wanting book deals and special treatment. This doesn’t excuse anyone’s behavior, though from my super-outsidery viewpoint this woman could also be making “lemonade” with the lot she’s been given.

        Again, not defending her actions and I may be way off base because of my lack of knowledge (I don’t want to google it, it’s all just gossip)

        • The B.

          Ah, see, this is exactly what infuriated me! That she would use something like this (a phenomenal, political piece of art that goes so far beyond the particulars that the particulars are laughable) as a launch pad. I know it’s not a favorite word in the wedding planning world, but ugh, so tacky. At best. And shows how deeply she missed the point.

        • Just Saying

          I didn’t really read it that way. I read it that she already figured everyone knew who she was, and that she was refusing to be made to feel bad.

          • Amy March

            Yeah she is famous. For her work. She doesn’t need this attention on her personal life, didn’t invite it, and I think backlash against her for reacting is misplaced.

      • Just Saying

        I hate it when women are more angry at the side chick than the married man who cheated, though. Also, imagine yourself as a fly on the wall. God only knows what Jay-Z said to her about his wife and their marriage.

        • The B.

          I’m not more angry at the side chick for being a side chick. I’m not even necessarily angry that she was a side chick. I’m angry at her for using Beyonce’s art as a classless opportunity for name recognition. Two very different things, imo.

          Had Beyonce named her out of revenge, it would be a different story.

          • Meg Keene

            Yessss. I hadn’t thought about it this way, but yesss. She really outed herself, clearly on purpose.

        • Caitlyn

          I agree that cheating husbands deserve blame. BUT if you know a man is in a monogamous relationship and you have sex with him – it doesn’t matter what he’s told you. You are doing something wrong. (he is too, he is MORE, but it really bothers me that you’ve said “god only knows what Jay-Z said to her” – what could he have said that would make it okay?).

          • Jessica

            He probably could have said “we aren’t monogamous” or “we have a deal where I can do this,” or any number of lies (including “she doesn’t understand me like you do.”)

          • Just Saying

            He could have said a hell of a lot of things to make it seem reasonable. He could have said the marriage is a sham. He could have portrayed Beyoncé as uninterested in sex. Geez, cheating men do this all the time. Most women don’t see themselves as the other woman until they meet a guy who is really into them and who portrays his marriage as a bad one.

          • Caitlyn

            None of those excuse her actions. Unless you have been living under a rock – you know those are the lines men use to cheat. Again – he is the one using those lines and the one lying and the one cheating (please don’t misunderstand, in this type of scenario I think he deserves 100% of the blame of the cheating and their marital issues). But if he used one of those lines and she believed it – then she is an f-ing idiot. Again, not saying that “side chicks” are more to blame or should be the focus of anger. But commenting that you don’t what he said makes it seem like she did nothing wrong as long as he said the magic lies that would somehow make what she did okay. And I don’t agree.

          • chicken nugget

            Thank you Caitlyn. The cheating partner absolutely deserves blame, but the fact that said partner carries the lion’s share of that responsibility does not disavow the side chick / bro / human from the fact they shouldn’t have gotten into business with the couple in question to begin with.

          • La’Marisa-Andrea

            And as much as we know cheating men repeat these tired lines, there are women who really and truly believe them. They think they are the exception. I have a friend whose husband cheated on her and we knew the woman with and after thinking the woman was the biggest idiot on earth, I just felt really sorry for her. She didn’t see her value, her worth, that she deserved more than a man who was claiming to love her while cheating on his wife and betraying his family. They’re divorced now and the other woman is still thinking she’s gonna ride off into the sunset and it’s never gonna happen.

          • Alison O

            This is not exactly what you’re saying, but it makes me think…. This is what I don’t get about getting involved with a married person (when it’s not a consensual open marriage). The red flags are all there out on the table. By virtue of their wanting to get involved with you when they are married, you know they ARE at least in one CURRENT relationship deceitful, untrustworthy, have trouble fully committing to a person, or otherwise embroiled in some kind of drama that is not enjoyable. Where is the reliable evidence to believe they would act any different toward you? Oh, they promise you XYZ? Unfortunately, it’s already established that their promises aren’t reliable….ask the spouse they probably made vowed fidelity to. Sure, it could happen and you might ride off into the sunset forever, but I would certainly not bet on it.

            It makes me wonder how much the unavailability and betrayal or other dynamics that are built into the structure of the cheaterother wo/man relationship are (subconsciously) attractive to the other wo/man. Because there’s a lot of obvious deterrent stuff.

          • Amy March

            I don’t think it is anyone’s job to police the boundaries of a marriage or respect the bonds of marriage vows except someone who is in that marriage.

            He could have said all sorts of things!

          • chicken nugget

            However fluid our individual of collective morality may be, I think that individuals do hold a responsibility to not knowingly dip into someone else’s monogamous arrangement.

          • Jessica

            To me, that reads as “People have a responsibility to not be manipulated, lied to, nor to take care of their own needs first,” which I just patently disagree with.

          • chicken nugget

            We have a responsibility to be kind and aware, to respect those around us and their bonds and the communities that we are a part of. Sure – side humans can get swept into a big web of lies in which they thought that the wife at home was cool with it, or like the story one of the commentators below the philandering party could keep their ring of and keep silent. Those are things that can happen, but don’t fall under the umbrella of not knowingly dipping into someone else’s monogamous arrangement.

          • Jessica

            “Those are things that can happen, but don’t fall under the umbrella of not knowingly dipping into someone else’s monogamous arrangement.”

            And yet, that’s what we’re discussing. What constitutes ‘knowing,’ when you’re lied to again and again and again. I’m fairly certain the number of affairs going on that are purely “we are having an extramarital affair and know that it will not last, so screw this one particular monogamous relationship” is not as high as one might think.

          • chicken nugget

            A lot of extramarital activity isn’t that deep. There are plenty of one time hookups and the like in which there isn’t the opportunity to be lied to again and again. There is also plenty of willful ignorance. Desire can override kindness and awareness. Infidelity comes in all stripes.

          • Jessica

            It does, but that brings me back to whose responsibility is it to take care of a marriage. We can have ideals about community and compassion, but if you’re out for a one night stand and hit it off with someone, who is married, who may or may not be in an open relationship (which I’m assuming is what they’ll say), why is it the unattached person’s responsibility to not get some that evening? Especially if they’ll never see the married someone again?

          • chicken nugget

            I don’t think that my advocating that individuals practice compassion and awareness in trying not to get down with someone they know is monogamous and partnered shifts blame away from the cheater. If an unattached individual is out looking for something fun and brief, just don’t bone down with the married human. Sure “If they are going to cheat anyway…”. But don’t be a part of facilitating that garbage. Unmarried individual is still a party to an activity that violates a bond, is unkind and damaging.

          • Jessica

            I think you wanting the unattached person to get punished or humiliated in some way, shape or form shows that you consider them as responsible for an affair as the married person, and I just don’t think it’s their duty to do that. I would like to think that most people will be turned off by finding out “hey, my spouse is not ok with me having an extramarital affair,” but that phrase will probably not be uttered. A cheater will probably not be that up front about it. People do not start affairs seeking to be unkind and damaging, they do it for a wide variety of reasons that they probably don’t deserve to be humiliated or punished for.

          • Amy March

            This makes even less sense to me. In a one time hookup you don’t even need repeated lies. Just one- taking off the ring- will do. I don’t run a background check on every dude I meet at a bar. You aren’t wearing a ring and don’t mention another woman I’m going to go ahead and assume you are single.

          • Lawyerette510

            Yes, the entire time I was single I never thought to affirmatively ask to confirm someone they weren’t cheating on a partner. I avoided people wearing rings on their left ring finger, but there was certainly a time I was in the apartment of a man I had already had sex with and asked who the woman in a picture was and he said “my finance.” I left promptly and didn’t see him again, but I didn’t feel any responsibility or guilt because I didn’t do anything wrong.

          • Just Saying

            Let me tell you a couple of real stories. At different points in my life, I was friends with two different guys who cheated on their wives. I know their stories.
            Guy number one – Married his wife because she was pregnant. He wanted to do the right thing and was determine to make it work. Well, his wife came from a very dysfunctional family situation and the toll it took on her began to reveal itself in the marriage. She wouldn’t tell him when she wasn’t taking her birth control and he trusted her, so they ended up with another child after they were “finished” procreating. She cut off sex for the most part, except when she felt like it, which was almost never.
            He even lamented that when it did occur, it was just fucking with no emotion. This guy made just enough to support the family and his wife had no intention of getting a job. If he would have left them, everyone would have suffered financially. He sought solace in an affair and he loved the other woman. I have lost track of him, but the last I heard, he was still stuck in his miserable marriage because of finances.
            Guy number two – His wife had a very good career which involved traveling a lot. She eventually lost all interest in sex, except for maybe once a month. He also complained that when they did rarely have sex, there was no emotional connection. He tried and tried to talk to her. He told her the relationship was going south. She kept saying it was normal in a long marriage and wasn’t willing to do anything. He eventually had a brief affair with another woman also in an unhappy sexless marriage. The other woman ended up divorcing and moving away, and he ended up getting a divorce a few years later. He had to wait because he was raising the kids while she traveled. The affair was a symptom and the only reason the two didn’t end up together was timing. He loved her.
            I think unless you know someone who did what these two guys did, and were willing to discuss it with you. you don’t know how heartbroken a rejected spouse can feel. These guys felt rejected, but didn’t feel they could leave yet. Neither of these guys lied to the other woman. They told the truth about how bad their marriages were.

          • Alison O

            I think “knowingly” kinda mitigates the first two circumstances (manipulated, lied to). And I don’t think it’s a matter of “People have a responsibility to not take care of their own needs first,” but rather, “Taking care of one’s own needs first is not always the ‘right’ choice.” Talking about morality gets way complicated, though….

          • Lawyerette510

            He could have said they have a nonmonogamous relationship.

      • Meg Keene

        Truth.

      • Amy March

        If an incredibly powerful, rich, famous woman decided to make an incredible work of art that is meaningful and powerful and important, but also about me personally in a way the identifies me, yeah, I get to respond. Of course it is inevitable. Beyonce made it inevitable by making her identifiable, and did it knowing the internet would be over the top and cruel because it always is. Takes two to tango, and I don’t think either of them has done anything wrong.

        • The B.

          How did she make her identifiable? It’s not like the woman’s first name is Rebecca. And “Becky” usually refers to a white woman, so it was even a red herring. The only way it was identifiable was through the woman posting all cutesy/passive-aggressive about it on Instagram. I personally think that sucks.

          • The B.

            Replying to myself to say that I’m not even convinced that any part of Lemonade is specifically about the woman in question; I think it’s equally if not more likely that it’s about the overall themes and a pattern of non-identifiable Other Women in the archetype, both in Jay-Z’s life, as well as her father’s life, as well as how that relates to the patterns in the lives of black women, rather than being a revenge piece about a single person (and if it is, it’s absolutely more focused on her anger towards Jay-Z and Mathew Knowles, let’s be real).

            Which is why I said that [Name Redacted] deeply missed the point–it is not, was, and will never be about *her,* even if she technically played a role in the literal chronology. Actually, to watch something like Lemonade and think, “What a bitch, she’s calling me out! I’ll call her out right back on insta” might even be deeply narcissistic.

          • Meg Keene

            All smart thoughts.

          • La’Marisa-Andrea

            This. Right. Here. There have been rumors of Jay Z cheating on Beyonce for years, so truly, she may have just been one in a line of several and that she thought that reference was about HER is hilarious….

            Unless, maybe when Solange confronted her at that party, she called her a “Becky.” But if that’s the case, nobody else knew about it. So why bring attention to yourself in the worst possible fashion?

      • chicken nugget

        I hardly think that “other women” get an almost horrifyingly unfair reputation in our world. Side chicks deserve what they get if they get dust or shade or humiliation. There is something very wrong with a gal who does that to another woman and she usually doesn’t reap what she sows. Side chicks get to walk away while the rest of us clean up. End of conversation.

        • Amy March

          I think life is so much more complicated than this, and we don’t need more excuses to humiliate women.

          • chicken nugget

            We don’t need any more excuses to humiliate women. But hell, a side chick can be dude. Life is more complicated than this, especially when a human person bangs someone that they know to be monogamous. It is a violation of something that he / she / they do not need to be a part of.

          • Amy March

            And that’s the offensively misogynistic part right there. If a “side chick” can be a dude, why is the term “side chick” instead of “side guy.” “Guy” is treated as a gender neutral term all the time. It isn’t coincidence that it isn’t used here.

          • chicken nugget

            I kind of feel like I am being trolled by the psychic energy of the side chicks who bangs the partnered and don’t want to accept blame. I feel that way as a chick. And as a chicken nugget.

          • Amy March

            Did you just accuse me of being a troll who also sleeps with men who are in relationships? Because that is how it reads to me.

        • Jessica

          I don’t think it’s that easy. The people who commit adultery offer them something–affection, the feeling of being special, the feeling that they know the ‘true’ person. It can be very manipulative.

          My grandfather was a serial cheater, and in a lot of ways he lacks empathy. He’s been married 3 times, with 2 of his wives being the ‘side chick’ first, then going through the same things as my grandmother did. I definitely feel for everyone involved in an adulterous situation, because feelings are not black-and-white, and it’s hard to see the truth when you’re in the middle of something.

          • chicken nugget

            Well that’s sort of a unique narrative, and such a weird, sad chain – but I can’t get with you there in establishing a general, nuanced compassion for the side chick. Ultimately everyone who’s involved in infidelity is indeed part of an unbearably messy situation – but more often than not it is the two partners who started off partnered who are left with the work to do. The side chick ultimately the outlier, the interloper – she evolves and moves forward. And so dusty she shall be.

          • Amy March

            I don’t think it is a unique narrative at all- I think its pretty common. And I find your referral to the outside partner as a “side chick” offensive and objectifying. Why would you assume the person who doesn’t start off partnered isn’t left with work to do and a mess? Why assume that the people who start off partnered are the good people here? Why is it so important to you to de-humanize someone you don’t know in a situation you aren’t involved with? The only way to know what a marriage is like is to be in it. And I think for those of us who aren’t, it’s unwise to rush to judgment.

          • Totch

            Came to say the same: this really isn’t so unique a narrative, even though thinking of it as such might be easier. Off the top of my head, I know 3 families where a side person later became a spouse.

            I was a teenager when I found out that my step-grandmother, who I grew up not thinking of as “step,” was the woman my grandfather left my bio grandmother for when my dad was a kid. It’s hard to navigate these things, but families come in all shapes and sizes. She faced a lot of reprisal, (more than he did, I’d argue) but my step grandmother was also the one who picked up the pieces.

          • Just Saying

            The side chick is often made to believe the marriage is on the rocks and that she is going to ride off into the sunset with the guy. Most of them don’t intend to just walk away.

          • chicken nugget

            Whatever the intention and whatever the baggage the side human takes away with them, said side human is not left untangling – or attempting to tangle back together the existing relationship. I am well aware that the aftermath is often not cute for the side human.

          • Just Saying

            They are left putting their life back together, which is just as hard. There used to be a web site called “The Other Woman”. I don’t know if it still exists, but it was a lot of heartbroken other women attempting to make sense of what happened and putting their lives back together.
            In many cases, the man promised a future with them, and they get their hearts broken when it doesn’t happen.

          • Jessica

            I’m not saying it’s all one way or another, I’m more saying that serial adulterers are manipulative, and they will invite the ‘interloper’ in–it’s literally a choice they’ve made. I don’t think it’s the responsibility of the ‘side chick’ to make sure someone is following their vows, or to protect someone they probably don’t know.

            Do I think cheating is wrong? Yes. Do I think it’s black and white? No. I’ve seen the pain and scars left on my family from people cheating, but I’ve also seen people grow and figure it out, sometimes with the mistress becoming the step-mom where they do help pick up the pieces of the aftermath.

          • Elizabeth

            Or, you know, she is heartbroken AND full of self-hatred.

          • Jessica

            Reading this again, I have to say this is not a ‘weird’ or ‘unique’ narrative, it’s unfortunately common enough to be a trope on television–the middle/upper class white guy who has a ‘starter wife’ and sleeps with the nanny, the secretary, anyone. It’s the guy who has 3-5 wives. It’s not at all strange, it’s unfortunately common.

          • Cellistec

            100% this.

        • Elizabeth

          When I was 18, my very first kiss was with a guy who had a girlfriend and I experienced a lot of self-hatred for that for a long time. Even now, when I can clearly see that that guy was an opportunistic immature jerk and we were basically kids who knew nothing, I still not sure how much I control I could have exercised. Like, did I know what I was getting myself into and ignored it? Did I want it to happen or was I pounced on? I have no idea.

          AND I am extremely anti-cheating. I was not lurking in the shadows waiting for an opportunity to steal some girls guy. What I’m saying is, anybody can be the “other woman.” It’s so easy to say “I would never” but you can never say that for sure.

          • anon.com

            Before we were together, my husband slept with a married woman for a couple weeks without knowing it. She put on her ring one day, which is how he found out. She thought he already knew. He ended it then because he wasn’t comfortable with that, but they could have easily continued to sleep together since the husband was on a different continent at the time.

          • Alison O

            I was tickled to come across your comment about “I would never” statements because I was thinking about that after reading through the comments on this post. However, I come at it from the opposite direction, which is that it’s a huge pet peeve of mine how many people use these kinds of sayings to, in a way, absolve people of lousy behavior. (I want to note that I’m not thinking of the personal anecdote you shared because I don’t know much about it, and I think youth is a reasonable explanation for various “errors” in judgment, or whatever, due to brain development, etc.)

            I’m reminded of how after my boyfriend’s very shitty way of breaking up with me, various people told me, “Yeah, that kind of stuff happens,” like it was some kind of weather phenomenon. And I think absolving things after the fact or generally like this, is in part what allows people to excuse themselves before or during the fact (i.e. when they could choose to act differently).

            Sure, it makes sense in some situations. “I would never steal.” Really? If there was a war and your family had no food and there was a grocery store being looted, you KNOW you wouldn’t join in? Or, “I would never yell at my kids.” Okay…let’s wait and see…

            Of course, we can’t predict the future. But, I can tell you, I am PRETTY DARN CLOSE to knowing I would never cheat on someone or knowingly get involved with a cheater. Just like I’m pretttttttty sure I would never attempt to kill someone.

            One of these “I would nevers” actually shapes my personal morality around food. I think it would be hypocritical of me to eat meat because I think it’s very likely that I would not be compelled to kill a mammal for food even if it were the end of days and I was starving. (Partly this is because I’m like, if the world has gone to shit, why on earth (ha, pun) would I want to stay alive?? I don’t get this about apocalypse stories.) So, if I wouldn’t do it myself, why should I be okay with other people killing the animal–who until that moment is likely living in much worse conditions than free-range apocalypse, sadly–and pretending when I eat a burger that it wasn’t so?

            I guess I’m the type of person who has high standards and is not particularly able or willing to turn a blind eye to stuff. That said, I also don’t care to see people punished or especially enjoy schadenfreude.

        • Maddie Eisenhart

          I am leaving this discussion up, because I think there are a lot of great, nuanced replies to your comment below. However, I will delete any further comments that suggest any woman should “reap what she sows” within the context of backlash, public humiliation, threats of violence. etc. Not OK. Not ever.

          • chicken nugget

            If someone screws around with someone who is in a monogamous partnered relationship I hardly think that they deserve the wrath of god, and certainly wouldn’t advocate physical violence. I may have been hasty with the reaping and sowing language with my post, but I’m not comfortable with the “poor mistress” narrative. Lots of people hook up with cheaters and aren’t being grandly duped. If you do so knowingly it is violation of someone else’s contract and is morally just kind of crappy. That doesn’t mean that things can’t be extremely sad and nuanced for the third party, but for every individual who was told a dozen times that he was going to leave his wife, there are those who are practicing willful ignorance or just going with it.

          • Lawyerette510

            What do you think the person who broke their monogamous commitment deserves? I’m reading so much anger directed towards the person who did not make a monogamous commitment but I don’t see anything regarding the person who actually made the commitment.

        • April

          It’s fine to have an issue with a woman who is the “side chick” (strongly dislike that term) but I know of SO MANY situations where someone gets cheated on and all of sudden it’s “That slur, how dare she” while the original partner isn’t really held fully accountable for their part in it.

          I’m not saying that it’s okay to get involved in other people’s monogamous relationships. I think it’s pretty morally shady and not something I would do, BUT I’ve been cheated on in a past relationship and the woman he cheated with was actually a really nice person. She just made a shitty mistake and felt terrible about it after. He was the jerk in that situation because he’s the one that made a promise and broke it. She didn’t promise me shit.

          I’ve known other people who have been very decent people otherwise, but due to weird shit going on in their lives, made a bad choice… one they weren’t happy with after it happened, and they never did it again.

          Sometimes people make mistakes and hurt other people. I just feel like we should put the shade where it belongs, on the person that broke the trust.

    • Tell me more about Kimmy Schmidt! I haven’t watched it but it keeps showing up in my life.

      • Jessica

        Other than a truly unimpressive and somewhat offensive ongoing racial joke, it’s fantastic! Diverse cast, happy upbeat tone with a dark side that is explored through humor, excellent writing and fantastic guest stars.

  • Vilmos Kovacs

    Your first paragraph is my mission statement.

  • La’Marisa-Andrea

    I loved everything about this album. Visually, it was stunning. She followed up with the magic that was Formation with black woman fierceness all up and through that screen. For me personally, seeing black women portrayed on screen by a black woman and recognizing that black women being presented as we see ourselves, is powerful indeed. We do not often get images of black women in their complexity which is why I think this resonated with so many black women. Often we are the sassy friend or the hyper sexual vixen etc but we are not often ALL of those things. So this, like Formation, for me as a black woman who is unapologetically black, was incredibly affirming and real.

    • Estherwbergeron3

      “my room mate Lori Is getting paid on the internet 98$/hr”…..!cg546ctwo days ago grey MacLaren P1 I bought after earning 18,512 DoIIars..it was my previous month’s payout..just a little over.17k DoIIars Last month..3-5 hours job a day…with weekly payouts..it’s realy the simplest. job I have ever Do.. I Joined This 7 months. ago. and now making over. hourly 87 DoIIars…Learn. More right Here !cg546n:➽:➽:➽➽➽➽ http://GlobalSuperJobsReportsEmploymentsLabGetPayHourly$98…. .❖❖:❦❦:❖❖:❦❦:❖❖:❦❦:❖❖:❦❦:❖❖:❦❦:❖❖:❦❦:❖❖:❦❦:❖❖:❦❦:❖❖:❦❦:❖❖:❦❦:❖❖:❦❦::::::!cg546n….,….

    • Cynthiadevans

      “my room mate Lori Is getting paid on the internet 98$/hr”…..!cc102ctwo days ago grey MacLaren P1 I bought after earning 18,512 DoIIars..it was my previous month’s payout..just a little over.17k DoIIars Last month..3-5 hours job a day…with weekly payouts..it’s realy the simplest. job I have ever Do.. I Joined This 7 months. ago. and now making over. hourly 87 DoIIars…Learn. More right Here !cc102n:➽:➽:➽➽➽➽ http://GlobalSuperJobsReportsEmploymentsGoodGetPayHourly$98…. .❖❖:❦❦:❖❖:❦❦:❖❖:❦❦:❖❖:❦❦:❖❖:❦❦:❖❖:❦❦:❖❖:❦❦:❖❖:❦❦:❖❖:❦❦:❖❖:❦❦:❖❖:❦❦::::::!cc102n….,..

    • Doris Sheridan

      “my room mate Lori Is getting paid on the internet 98$/hr”…..!cc675ctwo days ago grey MacLaren P1 I bought after earning 18,512 DoIIars..it was my previous month’s payout..just a little over.17k DoIIars Last month..3-5 hours job a day…with weekly payouts..it’s realy the simplest. job I have ever Do.. I Joined This 7 months. ago. and now making over. hourly 87 DoIIars…Learn. More right Here !cc675n:➽:➽:➽➽➽➽ http://GlobalSuperJobsReportsEmploymentsStoriesGetPayHourly$98…. .❖❖:❦❦:❖❖:❦❦:❖❖:❦❦:❖❖:❦❦:❖❖:❦❦:❖❖:❦❦:❖❖:❦❦:❖❖:❦❦:❖❖:❦❦:❖❖:❦❦:❖❖:❦❦::::::!cc675n….,

  • Juanita

    I really dislike the question,”if Beyonce can be cheated on what does that mean for the rest of us?” I haven’t actually had the chance the whole thing, but i can share this thought. If my husband cheats it’s not about me. It’s not how fabulous I was or wasnt. It’s because of something within my husband even if I’m in some way not fulfilling what he needs it’s his responsibility to express that to me, to work out a solution that respects our relationship. Cheating has nothing to do with me, because I may not be Beyonce, but I am amazing in my own right and I don’t care what I do, no one ever deserves to be cheated on. I’m impressed by Beyonce’s ability to be so vulnerable and raw about something so painful. She’s dealing with it in her unique way, I’m glad they’ve grown from it and she’s been able to use it for her art. If anything I think it simply empowers women to realize, him cheating doesn’t make you any less amazing and you have so much power to forgive it move on.

    • savannnah

      I understand why women don’t like this question, but I think its important to recognize the impulse behind the question. It pulls at all of the foundation of what it can mean to be a women in american culture: insecurities, self-doubt, worthiness by looks and the 3 C’s of women’s self-oppression: compare, competition and condemnation. When we stop to think about what being cheated on and what cheating on someone looks like, its not about any of that or at least it’s rarely all about that. But that narrative is ever present, waiting to grab our heels in those moments we stop running.

      • Meg Keene

        I think you’re right on the impulse, in that it’s ever present in our society.

        That said, I don’t personally feel any competition or condemnation with Beyonce. I do think she’s beautiful, talented, super smart, super hard working, and a total bad-ass. I think I’m a lot of those things too, frankly. At least on good days. But yeah, it worries me when someone that amazing gets cheated on, because LORD MEN ARE DUMB.

        I’m not going to defend that as my best impulse, for sure. But it is what actually happens in my head.

        • savannnah

          I totally agree and that’s also my first thought like eh..I am NOT Beyonce, heaven help.
          In terms of the competition and condemnation I’m thinking more about the relationship between a woman and her husband’s mistress or how the world feels publicly about the women who help men cheat and the women who stay after they get cheated on. That anger and resentment is never quite truly placed on the man in most cases.

          • Meg Keene

            Truth.

        • Alison O

          My impulse is just summed up by LORD MEN ARE STUPID. It has nothing to do with Beyonce and how amazing she is or isn’t. In fact, I can imagine how cheating would be more likely to happen with someone in her position (due to fame issues, power issues, time/travel demands, etc. in the couple’s relationship)–not to say I consider it at all excusable given any of those factors.

          But gosh. Men. Why. So emotionally stilted. Such poor communicators. So cowardly and pathetic with relationship endings and rebounds. Ha, do I need the caveat, “not ALL men!” Obviously. But man, pretty much all times I’ve experienced people being really lame in human relationships, they’re men.

          Feminism, help us. I don’t think I’m a man-hater, just too often man-disappointed.

          • Cellistec

            So women don’t cheat?

          • Alison O

            Aha, pretty sure I included all the appropriate caveats and limiting to personal experience in my post that was necessary to preclude this kind of response. And I’m following up on Meg’s “I’m not going to defend that as my best impulse, for sure. But it is what actually happens in my head.” Though my impulse is not identical to hers.

          • Amy March

            Not all men, sure, but also not most men and a decent portion of women too.

          • Alison O

            See below?

          • Amy March

            Simultaneous posting!

      • Juanita

        Thanks for your thoughts, I realize I didn’t dig as deep as I could of. That narrative is at the back of my mind even as I condemn it. If she’s so amazing and I’m just ordinary amazing (or I imagine don’t think I’m any sort of amazing at all) what hope do I have. The comparison game is so destructive, but I know we all play it at some point.

    • Stephanie

      There are thousands upon thousand of average looking women whose husbands worship the ground they walk on and do not cheat. It’s about the man himself.

      • Meg Keene

        I should clarify: I’m not talking about Beyonce’s looks. I’m talking about how smart and talented and fucking amazing she is as a human.

        I also don’t necessarily think Beyonce’s husband doesn’t worship the ground she walks on. I think you can worship your partner and also make poor choices.

        • Abbie

          Repeated poor choices? From what I’ve read, it’s a repeated behavior with Jay-Z.

          • Meg Keene

            I’m not defending Jay Z today, HA, nope. I’m just differentiating the fact that you can adore your wife, and cheat on her. Humans are complicated, and flawed.

          • Stephanie

            I think there are two types of cheaters. There’s the type who is in an unhappy lonely marriage who is looking for comfort and affirmation. Then there’s the type who has a great marriage, but always wants more – more variety, more adulation, more more more. It can be a form of greed. This second type may adore their spouse, but they adore the freedom to keep having conquests more.

          • Not a parent. MockMyInsights.

            If it’s a one time thing, absolutely. Humans are flawed and complex. However (and I have not and likely won’t listen to this album–I’m just not a fan so take this with a grain of salt) from what I’ve read, her lyrics seem to indicate that this is a persistent problem. I do not think you can repeatedly cheat on your partner and adore them.

    • Alexandra

      Yes! I was about to say the same thing.

    • Liz

      Oh for sure, logically, the way a man treats a woman says everything about that man and absolutely zero about that woman. But that’s not how it feels. No no no, not how it feels. In my guts, “If Beyonce can be cheated on…” was an immediate reaction, though I fully know exactly what you say is true.

  • Danielle

    This video/movie/magic affected me more than words can say. I was cheated on several years ago, by my then-fiance. The imagery Beyonce explores in the beginning of Lemonade brought me back to that time… the part when she falls off the roof, then into her bedroom full of water, and can’t get up… yes, I remember that time. The depression and feeling like, “I can’t go on because my life just got ripped out from under me.”

    She spoke all the things I could not say, and so beautifully. The anger with her baseball bat, and looking so gorgeous in the garage with her furs and her braids and her girl posse. Her pride and beauty in the midst of the ultimate disrespect… I felt like she returned that pride to me, all these years later. Didn’t even realize even a smidgen of those feelings remained. Yes, even though (Jackass Ex) took away my power and control, I can still be beautiful and powerful. And it reminded me of the girl gang, my best friend posse, who helped put me back together.

    I’m not a black woman, parts were not for/about me, and yet that movie/magic spoke so much to me.

    And I did go to bed angry, but not at my husband. (Also inspired, healed in a sense, and amazed that a piece of art could have such relevance and such an impact on me.) I did have to tell him, “Don’t ever cheat on me, because I don’t wanna have to smash your car in.”

    • Rebekah Jane

      First of all, thank you for putting this so beautifully. I had a Big Cheating Experience as well and becoming yourself again afterwards…it’s one of the hardest things I’ve ever done.

      Second of all, yes. Yes to all of this. You took the words out of my head.

      Third, I have the “don’t cheat on me, because I get the house and the dogs” conversation every time we watch Friends. “On a break,” my ass.

      • joanna b.n.

        Also I was super excited to find that a dozen years after my own betrayal and resurrection, I could cheer this album on and not be haunted by it like I might have been when I was still sorting it out internally. It gets better!!

      • Danielle

        Yes it is hard, and you did it. It’s amazing and worth it, looking back, right?! ??❤️??

        • Rebekah Jane

          Oh, completely! If anything, it taught me who I am and that’s it completely ok that I’m not who I was “expected to be” as an adult. I’m better than expected and so is my life now!

          • Danielle

            Yes! Reading your comment made me think, I wish I could go back and tell my freaked-out, just-discovered-cheating self, “It will be ok. This is a blessing in disguise.” <3

  • Stephanie

    “I mean, who in the world would cheat on Beyoncé?”
    I am troubled by that question. Oh, I get it. Beyoncé is beautiful and successful, so just how beautiful and successful does one have to be not to be cheated on.
    But I am still troubled by it. It suggests that “lesser” women should be more likely to be cheated on. It makes Beyoncé a goddess instead of a human being.
    Beautiful women have been cheated on since the beginning of time. Maybe, just maybe it’s about the men themselves. Jay-Z sings lyrics that should have given a hint about who he is. Beyoncé could have done better. A person will only value love as much as they value it in themselves. You can’t make someone value what they don’t really value.
    I read a blog written by a woman in Paris who is dying from ALS. Her husband looks like a damn model and he has been there for her throughout all the horror of that disease. She has written that the only thing he cares about in this world is his family. She has never had to worry about him cheating because he is not made that way. I personally think it’s about damn time that women in general quit rewarding Bad Boys with themselves.

    • Meg Keene

      Oof. I get why you’re troubled by that question—though my asking it was honest, and a question shared by many (all?) of my girlfriends.

      But, I’m similarly troubled by your assumptions about Jay Z and that Beyonce could have done better. I think maybe I just view Jay Z in a different light, but I somehow find it troubling to write him off because you don’t like his lyrics.

      • Stephanie

        Two things. I don’t like his lyrics or his behavior towards her. And, yes, I think lyrics matter. Beyoncé’s lyrics show what is inside of her. Do Jay-Z’s lyrics not show what is inside of him? Sorry, but you will never convince me that this is a man who respects women. Maybe that’s too painful to consider, but sometimes the truth is painful. I will not be surprised if the marriage ends in divorce sooner or later. His lyrics reflect exactly how he has treated her.

        • I mean, I’m not here to speculate (too much) on what the future holds, but I will say that the person and the performer shouldn’t be conflated. While hip hop and rap as genres get a lot more judgement than similarly sexist sentiments in rock and country, none of the lyrics of anyone should be taken as absolute truths about them. I can think of MANY white, softspoken, rock/pop music icons who had respectful lyrics but were later found to have abused women in their lives. So I think there’s space for lyrics vs. real life disparity.

          • La’Marisa-Andrea

            Also as a writer, not everything I write or even most of what I write is autobiographical or even reflects anything about my personal politics. Jay z’s lyrics can’t be discussed outside the context of where he comes from and the genre he’s in

          • Stephanie

            Then words don’t matter. Country music may perpetuate gender roles, but it’s a long way from intentional disrespect. If you are a feminist, then don’t excuse misogynist lyrics. Lots of black women have spoken out about rap lyrics and they’re right.

          • La’Marisa-Andrea

            Those same black women have discussed misogyny in rap with more nuance than you have here as well.

          • Stephanie

            Not this one. She makes a lot of great points about the rape culture in rap songs and about how black women alone pay the price.

            http://www.huffingtonpost.com/sikivu-hutchinson/straight-outta-rape-cultu_b_7942554.html

          • I think we’re getting dangerously close to a country vs rap lyrics battle here, and I think what’s important to remember is that AGAIN writing is not always a reflection of a person’s truth.

            If you’re not into hip hop or rap culture? That’s totally your right. But this isn’t the article for that talk. That’s it’s own piece.

            But if you want to talk about Jay Z in relation to Bey and Lemonade, that’s fine.

          • Stepanie

            My initial and only point is that lyrics matter. Ourselves and our daughters grow up hearing them. It’s not really about one genre of music over another. I am against misogyny everywhere it is found and I don’t make excuses for it.

          • La’Marisa-Andrea

            I think you went a bit further than that actually. It’s one thing to say lyrics are problematic. You attacked a man’s character based on lyrics in a song.

          • Stephanie

            I sure did and I meant it. I’ve explained myself repeatedly and Maddie is threatening to delete.

          • La’Marisa-Andrea

            What is your point here? As you can see from my avi: I’m black. You’re not teaching my anything here. I’m well versed in the scholarship about rap and hip hop. In any event, your entire point was a rapper’s lyrics obviously mean he hates women. Which, if you understand rap, hip hop culture and the black men and women who occupy that space, you would also doesn’t mean lyrics = personal truth.

          • Amy March

            What country music are you listening to that is a long way from intentional disrespect? I hear it all the time. If it’s bad enough that being a girl in a country song is, itself, song-worthy I think it’s pretty bad.

          • Stephanie

            I’m not a fan of country music, but I’ve never heard anything to compare with the misogyny of rap. Have you? I ask that in all honesty.

          • La’Marisa-Andrea

            Also hip hop feminism is a thing.

        • Ok you’re hitting on something that I was discussing on Twitter last night. It’s interesting to me that people assume that singers are mostly autobiographical in their work – we’re seeing it with Lemonade, we saw it with Usher and the Confessions album, etc. But we (we meaning fans) don’t make that same assumption with rappers. It’s like we’ve made some sort of deal with rappers where we agree to enjoy their music and NOT think it’s true/autobiographical, because we know it’s really just a mirage. Most of these rappers are married/in relationships with kids, who do the suburban family life thing, but that’s not what they rap about. I wish more of them would but for whatever reason mainstream rap is about selling an image, not sharing a true story.

          So all of that to say…you can’t assume that every single Jay-Z lyric has been about Beyonce and he’s outright disrespectful to her, just like you can’t assume every lyric and image in Lemonade is about Jay-Z.

          • La’Marisa-Andrea

            Girl. I mean, bravado IS part of rap.

          • Right! Like from it’s inception rap was about bragging – you had the flyest gear, the biggest chain, the nicest whip, etc. It continues today. I don’t REALLY think that Rick Ross is still (or was ever) pushing weight, or that Fabolous has all the hoes. It’s a fantasy, not a memoir.

          • Stephanie

            We can’t have it both ways as feminists. We can’t decry misogynistic views of women, point out where it’s happening, but just shut up about rap lyrics. We look and sound stupidly inconsistent.
            If are going to cut slack for rappers, then cut slack for everyone. I do not understand this making exceptions viewpoint.

          • Maddie Eisenhart

            I think this is exactly what intersectional feminism is about.

          • Who said anything about making exceptions? Your original premise was “Jay-Z must treat Beyonce badly because I looked at his lyrics”. My response is that you can’t assume his lyrics are autobiographical.

            Don’t change your argument because you don’t like the response you get.

          • Stephanie

            I have not changed my argument at all. I have added to it. Tell me I am wrong about feminists being inconsistent when it comes to rap.
            Jay-Z’s lyrics don’t have to be strictly autobiographical. The point is that his lyrics say that he is okay with disrespecting women. And he absolutely has lived that ethic out. You say it’s a coincidence. I don’t think it is.
            Rap as a style is not the problem; the messages are the problem. No one put a gun to Jay-Z’s head and forced him to celebrate misogyny. He has to be okay with it on some level. There are other things to rap about.

          • La’Marisa-Andrea

            His lyrics say what his lyrics say. That’s it. You’re still conflating here.

          • Amy March

            White feminists have a long and problematic history of consistently condemning rap without an understanding of the art form, its history, or the context in which it is performed in ways that are deeply racist. Personally, I freely admit that I don’t know much about rap at all, and I don’t think it’s my place to be policing its language as an outsider to the genre.

          • Maddie Eisenhart

            THIS.

          • Bullshit

            How many rap songs do you know the lyrics to? There are rap songs that glorify rape, songs about beating women up or killing them after you rape them first, songs about how women should drop to their knees and literally choke on dick.
            APW called the song “Blurred Lines” rape culture and it wasn’t anything as graphic and violent as many rap lyrics. This whole “white feminists don’t understand” trope is bullshit. Don’t defend violence against women.

          • Maddie Eisenhart

            This thread does not feel like it is introducing anything new to the conversation, so I’m going to shut it down here. We’re talking in circles. More to the point, APW considers itself a intersectional feminist publication, and I think this thread is disrespecting that mission. I’ll delete any further comments on the matter.

          • La’Marisa-Andrea

            I’m not for critique of rap that does not engage the genre which is what is happening here. As a fan of rap and hip hop WHO IS ALSO A FEMINIST we can talk about this all. Day. Understanding the genre of rap is CRUCIAL to this conversation.

    • Amy March

      Beyonce made herself a goddess instead of a human being. She has crafted that public persona for years, through her art and through her striking silence outside of her art. I think it’s an obvious and important question to ask about this work- not that it isn’t a problematic question but I think it is clearly a question the work brings to mind by design.

      • Bella

        Yeah, a literal Goddess. Also a culture-appropriating one unfortunately.
        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YykjpeuMNEk

      • Heather

        I respect your opinion but I think we need to separate Beyoncé’s
        public persona from her private one. She has star power and that is what sells
        albums. It is a business at the end of the day. There are plenty of music icons that people
        glorify to the point of Goddess or God status, Michael Jackson, Bono, Prince,
        Madonna. But all of these people are flawed humans who are experiencing life.

  • Megan

    I ugly-cried during Sandcastles. This is one of those things where I need to process it (and watch it a few more times) before I’m ready to discuss. Interested to read all the comments though!

  • Jess

    How can I watch Lemonade? Is it available anywhere other than one showing on HBO? I’m seeing a lot about it today and I’d really like to watch the whole album. Thank you!

    • Meg Keene

      Tidal! 90 days free right now. It’s no longer on HBO.

    • MC

      I think you can also buy it on iTunes as of today!

  • Alexandra

    Gosh, I dunno…I love Beyonce’s music, but I wouldn’t listen to it with a lens of “this is a representation of the truth about marriage”. I mean, except inasmuchas the truth that celebrities tend to have sucky marriages because celebrity culture doesn’t lend itself to healthy monogamous relationships. I’m not trying to throw shade at Bey, but celebrities get that way be being megalomaniacs with massive talent who got where they are by working obsessively hard. It’s actually more of a miracle if they stay together than if they split up. Writing an album full of rage about a relationship is kind of a symptom of the problem. Not to blame her for the sins of Jay-Z, but…it’s a great album, fun to speculate about, but the truth of marriage? Really? Seems like attributing too much importance to it. The truth of celebrity marriage, maybe. Not my marriage, certainly.

    Also…I guess I don’t give a second thought to Beyonce being cheated on (this is in response to the paragraph about if Beyonce can be cheated on, anybody can be cheated on) because I have a theory that two celebrities can’t really be married successfully. You can’t have two people married who are both used to being the center of the universe. Somebody’s going to be shady to the other one, because somebody’s ego is going to revolt against the idea that they have to be monogamous to anybody. Successful marriage is a lot of humble pie eating. It doesn’t have that much to do with how hot you might be, in the end.

    • joanna b.n.

      So… First, yes I agree that celebrity marriage is probably its own animal, but I think, now that I watched it all, this is exactly why Lemonade is getting at a deeper truth:you gotta eat humble pie is Right On about marriage, and the last few songs in this album she’s dropped the fierce, I am too amazing for you business and is just saying, I love you and want to find a way through this together. So, if there’s any of Beys personal truth in those songs, then girlfriend is preaching what you & I already know.

      • Alexandra

        Yes! I listened to it again and realized the same thing. And surprised myself by being indignant at Beyonce! Because…oh it’s just hopeless, famous people hardly ever have good marriages; Jay-Z isn’t going to change his ways, Beyonce is going to write more songs about being independent and a survivor, it’s all going to be a big mess. But what do I know? To me, if I were in her shoes, my response would be to not say a single thing about it publicly, keep writing amazing, kick-ass albums that had nothing to do with my personal life, throw the bum out, be single for a while, and then maybe marry a nice normal guy very quietly and never talk about him, like Dolly Parton with her husband. But man, I’m not Beyonce.

        I JUST used Survivor to teach my students about iambic pentameter last week. (The chorus is in iambic pentameter.) The song is also a pretty good example of paralipsis, too (when she says she’s not going to diss him on the internet, but isn’t the whole song kind of a diss?)

  • CMT

    Hmm. So personally I think this piece was maybe too hasty. There are some things in here I think should have been slept on for another day or two. But anyway. I wonder if Lemonade will make anybody out there think twice about cheating being an automatic end to a relationship? I know a lot of people view it as the worst thing somebody could do, and for them it spells instant divorce or break up. Beyonce doesn’t make forgiving/moving on from cheating look easy by any means, but definitely possible. I would be devastated if my partner cheated on me, but I love him so much that I don’t know if I could instantly end our relationship. I would want to try to work through things (complete with smashing things, I’m sure).

    • Alison O

      I’ve thought about this question of cheating in the following light recently, as I approach getting engaged. I think a lot of people don’t take words–specifically, their vows–extremely seriously, but I feel like I want to feel really clear about what my vows mean and do not mean. Most vows I’ve heard do not seem to suggest, “If you break your vows, I’m allowed to break mine.” I’m wondering if other people see vows as a sort of contract that is null and void if one person breaks the contract (i.e. by cheating, if your vows disallow it). I tend to feel the other way – that just because my partner breaks a vow, doesn’t mean I get to. I think you could make an argument that cheating, in some circumstances, is sort of a “sickness” as in, “in sickness and health,” kind of meaning. If nothing else, I feel like if I’ve committed to loving and supporting someone, I don’t have free range to be an outright jerk to them even if what I end up doing is ending the relationship due to their actions… Just writing as I think through this…

      • Jess

        I mean, there are a lot of things that come standard in vows that I’m not in a position to promise anybody.

        Can I say for richer or poorer? If you’re gambling all the money away and it’s affecting my ability to feed and house myself? Do I need to stand there and let you do this to me and to whatever family there is? I don’t believe so.
        Can I say that I will be there until death? I don’t know. I don’t know if I should. If there ends up being some extreme sickness/addiction/whatever that I simply cannot stay safe and sane through, do I owe it to you to break myself trying?
        Can I say that I will remain faithful to you and expect you to do the same? How do we define faithful? Is flirting off limits, if the both of us are present and involved in a situation involving another is that off limits, etc…? There may come a time when we are incapable of meeting each others needs in that arena, and I believe that looking to someone else can become negotiable, even if I’m very much emotionally not ok with it today.

        We’re trying to find something that captures more what our goals are than making finite distinct promises about what we will and will not do. Creating the best support system we can for each other and to walk down the same path.

        I don’t know how other people approach vows, but for me, I don’t want to promise something I can’t possibly do. All I can promise is to try.

        • Alison O

          Are you saying you wouldn’t say standard vows because you don’t feel you can do so with integrity, or are you saying you’re fine saying the standard vows but don’t think it’s reasonable to expect that you or other people will fully live them out? I think you are saying the former, but I wanted to confirm.

          This is what I’m wondering about…intentionality of vows and how explicit people are with themselves and each other about what they can reasonably expect and commit to, and how much the actual vows matter to them. I think all the questions you pose show a certain amount of critical thinking about the vows. Alternatively, I think it’s fairly common for people to just “assume” the marriage is going to work because that’s the hope and not think very critically about what they’re actually saying in the vows. And if things start to fall apart, I wonder how often people think back specifically to the vows that were made and whether they guide their actions.

          My partner and I once thought about one word to describe how the each of us thinks/speaks. At first I thought I was “detail-oriented,” but he came up with “accurate,” and I was like, YES, that’s it. So that’s probably partly why I think about vows like this. Also, I feel that we’ve been through a sizeable amount of sickness/health and better/worse (including dishonesty/legal/financial issues) over our 6 years for 20-, now 30-somethings, so it feels more tangible what it’s like to hang on with something through those types of peaks and valleys.

          • Jess

            I personally fit into the former – where I couldn’t promise the standard vows with integrity or at least without lots of long discussions and agreements about what those words mean to me and R both.

            I think there are a lot of people who fit into the latter. I’m not quite sure how they feel about it. Some people take their vows and say, “I promised to do this. So I’m doing it.” (see: my parents) I think others are really just hoping for the best, or don’t see a time when they can’t fulfill that, and are caught off guard when that moment comes.

            For me, I take promises and vows really seriously. I also have a really hard time trusting people to do what they say they will do, so I don’t want somebody making a promise to me lightly.

      • Eenie

        Vows are a promise. People break promises all the time. I don’t think you throw in the towel after one is broken. At some point the scales tip and you have to take care of yourself. Once you have kids it’s truly forever if both parents are involved in the kids life, it may tip the scales more towards making it work.

    • emilyg25

      I feel like believing that cheating is an automatic end to relationships is an immature view of marriage. It’s okay if it’s a dealbreaker for an individual, but to feel that way in general neglects the depth and nuance of human relationships. It’s possible for both partners to recommit to the marriage and come out stronger for it.

  • Totch

    I’ve only gotten a chance to listen to the album so far, but that part of me that cries at commercials? It started crying at “Imma keep running cause winners don’t quit on themselves.”

    Freedom, man.

  • Natasha Romanova

    Is there an audio only version of Lemonade available anywhere? For those who don’t watch music videos.

    • It’s streaming on Tidal and it’s available on iTunes as well. It’s not on Spotify yet :-(

  • Alison O

    People interested in the subject of cheating should check out the Dear Sugar’s latest podcast episode which features the “third wheel” in the cheating relationship, as well as an older episode that talked with cheaters who wrote in.

  • Likeabell

    I just watched Lemonade for the first time, and I get it. I get it so hard. Not specifically in the context of an affair, but more broadly as an instance where you’ve experienced a big, shitty betrayal from your partner. You’re furious. You want to be allowed to be furious. And then you need to use that anger as power to appropriately protect yourself—setting boundaries and teaching your partner (and/or others) what treatment you will and won’t accept from them, etc. But in the middle of it all is that nugget of compassion because…we’re all a product of those familial chains, those curses. On the flip side of Beyonce’s words to her mother could be Jay Z’s dialogue with his mother/father about what family history they’ve handed to him that he’s struggling with. Family history that leads someone to hurt their partner and their relationship is its own curse.**

    Dealing w. all of that might be a pretty essential “truth” of marriage, or at least that how it seems to me, 2 years in. I got blindsided by one such betrayal/curse while freshly engaged and have spent the first couple years of marriage working through it in therapy + getting really into reading about family/developmental psychology. It took a loooong time for it to really sink in that my partner’s actions weren’t really about me. Which is why I took Meg’s “if this could happen to Beyonce…” not as “I could totally see this happening to someone lesser, but she’s SO amazing…?!” but as a reminder that “Hellooooo, personal denial, it doesn’t matter what you do or who you are (<—most especially, don't think that)," it's not about you. Women are so often taught to take responsibility for other people's emotions/actions, to look to ourselves as doing/not doing something that was a catalyst for our partner's actions (I think also in some shittier/less equal relationship contexts, it can be a way of trying to maintain an illusion of power, even when you don't have much). So when your partner hurts you, your inner voice isn't going "How could HE/SHE do this?" it's going "How could he/she do this TO ME?" And sometimes (a lot of the time?) the answer is: it's NOT you.

    **Related sidenote: everyone has some kind of baggage somewhere, but you really get a window into intergenerational hurts/trauma when that person is a writer/musician. Have been reading everything I see about Prince (RIP) this past week, and his relationship with his dad gives me all the feels. :'/

  • I’m also troubled by the question “Because if Beyoncé can be cheated on, what does that say for the rest of us? What does that say about men in general?” As much as we might think we know about Beyonce and Jay-Z’s relationship, in the end we just DON’T know what’s going on between them. What their private issues are, both as a couple and as individuals. We can speculate, sure, but asking a question like that seems to presume we have more knowledge of them than we actually do.

    • Heather

      Thank you for raising this point. I am also grappling with
      this idea, which has been raised in more than one forum. Because I think
      the larger question, is what does this say about cultural perspectives
      regarding marriage and commitment? And because we KNOW that women cheat as
      well, what does this say about respect for the human condition and respecting
      your partner and their dignity? I am also concerned with this attack on social
      media against Rachel Roy. How about holding the alleged cheater accountable? If
      he did cheat, then the onus of responsibility is on him as well. Because he
      disrespected his partner and his family by cheating. He set a poor example for
      his daughter and what she should expect out of a partner. Yes human beings make
      mistakes but we all have to be held accountable for them. I don’t know, I haven’t
      seen the video yet. Yes, I must be the last person in the world. Lol. I set a
      reminder on my phone and then I fell asleep. And life got busy. So I just don’t
      care right now. I better get it together because my husband has seen the video
      and he is holding me to task at the moment. Oh the things that make the world
      tick.

  • Bsquillo

    Commentary on Beyonce and Jay-Z’s marriage aside…does anyone else think that this was a brilliant business/marketing strategy? I’m not saying it’s *just* for show or to *just* make money, but it’s interesting that no one has mentioned that angle yet. Controversy sells. (And I’m not even saying it’s necessarily a negative thing; I’m 100% fascinated that Beyonce and Jay-Z likely sat down and weighed the rumors that would come from this work vs. the profits.)

    • Maddie Eisenhart

      I mean. There’s a reason it’s called Lemonade right?

    • Eenie

      The business decision behind this (Tidal exclusive streaming rights) is more fascinating to me than who Becky is or isn’t.

  • macaroni

    Today, a little over a year and a half after we got married, I changed my name. I have to admit that listening to “Lemonade” while driving from the Social Security office to the DMV, etc. created some weird cognitive dissonance. We had family in town this weekend, so I didn’t get to watch until yesterday afternoon. My husband walked in the door as the film was wrapping up, and I almost made him sit down and start it again. We’ll watch it this weekend for sure.

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  • Not a parent. MockMyInsights.

    This has really been bothering me (and taking up far more head space than it probably should). I, admittedly have not seen/heard this album and likely won’t (No reason, I’m just not enough of a fan to seek it out). Here’s what’s bothering me: From what I can gather, this album goes into great detail about the problems in Beyonce’s marriage (among, I’m sure many other things). What about her daughter? Her daughter is going to grow up and go to school with kids whose parents listened to this album. She’s going to listen to this album. It really bothers me that someone who has done such a great job of protecting her kid from the insanity of celebrity just publicly released what amounts to some really personal journal entries. It just makes me feel—off. And I’d genuinely like to know what other people’s thoughts are.

    • Danielle

      I don’t necessarily think Beyonce hides her daughter from the public eye. She put Blue Ivy in her Formation video, for example; and she is also featured in Lemonade.

      Any artist will have a certain element of their life out in the open – because most art is based on some part of life. Lemonade is certainly more confessional seeming than a lot of art, but think of the whole spectrum. I’ve heard other celebrity kids be embarrassed to hear about their parents life choices… But should the parent not create art then? That doesn’t seem right.

      • Not a parent. MockMyInsights.

        Thanks–I didn’t know Blue was in any videos,i was basing this off of instagram, where she seems very careful to hide blues face and identifying features.

        It’s a tricky, and very personal line to walk. I do think there’s a difference between Brittany Spears dancing and singing things that her sons will likely be embrassed about (i mean who wants to consider that their mom is seen as sexy by a loy of the world and/or their friends?) And releasing a confessional album about your martial troubles.
        I’m not saying that anyone shouldn’t create art, but I think as a parent you have a responsibility to protect your kids as well. This seems to cross a line.

        Also—you can clearly create art wothout involving your family. Kerry Washington is a great example of this.

        • Danielle

          Yes. Jay Z also brought Blue Ivy onstage a few years ago when Beyonce was accepting an award, and made her say, “Congratulations, Mommy.” They’re not camera shy with their kid; perhaps it’s a business decision – she’s really cute.

          Any type of memoir or confessional will likely be difficult for those close to the artist to handle, including kids. Not every artist needs to make a memoir, but some will choose to. (Personally I think that’s great – it’s one of my favorite forms.) Kerry Washington hasn’t done that (yet). Her director, Shonda Rhimes, wrote a great self-help-ish book called “The Year of Yes,” in which she honestly spoke about her weight loss, feeling lonely, drinking too much, and breaking up with a guy who wasn’t right for her. She also described her daughter spitting up on her, and going crazy from lack of sleep and self-care when her daughter was a baby. Will this be embarrassing to her daughter when she grows up? Probably. Did Shonda Rhimes need to include these really personal reflections of single motherhood? Well, define “need to”. Maybe she needed to get that part of her story out, especially because so much of motherhood is presented like a Hallmark card. It certainly made her book much realer and more refreshing.

          It’s an interesting question and I don’t know there are any wrong or right answers. I’m also not a parent, so like your name suggests – feel free to mock my insights too!

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