Dear Beyoncé,

Thank you. For some reason those are the first two words that come to mind when I think about Lemonade. “Thank you” and “wow” and “holy macaroni” and “legend.” People have been calling this your best work yet and I can’t help but agree. This album is about more than your marriage, it’s about more than your father, it’s about more than Becky with the good hair. This album is about womanism and “Formation” was just the beginning.

Watching you embrace your culture and so many different kinds of black girls brought me joy. It made me smile and it made me cry because I know that there are little black girls out in the world now embracing their afros because they saw Amandla in your video. I know that there are little black girls out in the world embracing their braids because they saw you and so many other girls in your film wearing them. I know that there are grown black women out in the world finally learning that it’s okay to express their feelings and that they don’t have to worry about being labeled jealous and/or crazy. I know that there are both black girls and black women out in the world learning that they don’t have to apologize for their feelings.

I like to think that the title, stemming from Jay Z’s grandmother speech, represents how black women were given some of the hardest challenges, whether was the disapproval of our looks or our historically tragic roots, and made the best we could out of it and were and still are resilient through it all.

“I had my ups and downs, but I always found the inner strength to pull myself up. I was served lemons, but I made lemonade.” – Hattie White

Beyoncé, thank you for being there for the women going through something with their significant others and the women going through something with their fathers. Thank you for showing that you are human and nothing more. Thank you for showing that celebrities’ lives are not perfect and that they, too, face the obstacles that many of us “regular people” face day in and day out.

Last but not least, Beyoncé, thank you for the music. Thank you for the eleven new songs that I will be belting from my bedroom with a brush in my hand despite the fact that I’m a terrible singer. Thank you for new music that I will write all of my essays and articles to. Thank you for the tracks that I will be blasting from my car on the way to school. Thank you for the girl power anthems, thank you for sharing your gift with the world, thank you for being the consistent black power fist that we all needed, thank you for raising our spirits after losing a legend. Just thank you, Beyoncé Giselle.

Always in formation,
Deni

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