Not Drinking the Lemonade: Is Beyonce Empowering Women?

Not Drinking the Lemonade: Is Beyonce Empowering Women?

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Is it me? Am I the only one disturbed by some of the tracks on Beyoncé’s new album Lemonade?

There is no question that Jay Z and Beyoncé are the “it” couple of music.  At the same time, questions regarding Jay Z’s fidelity to Beyoncé have been swirling for several years.  In light of this, the explosive lyrics found on Beyoncé new album raised more than just eyebrows. In several songs along with the accompanying videos, she lashes out, cursing at “a man” for cheating with violence at some points, and referred to the other woman as “Becky with the good hair“.  The internet nearly broke with folks trying to figure out who “Becky” was — one theory was that it was Rachel Roy, who intimated as such on her Instagram page.

There are two possible scenarios here: one, she is going through a terrible time with Jay Z, and is airing their dirty laundry. The second scenario, which has been floated by some media outlets, is that Beyoncé, Jay Z, and Rachel Roy are all in this together as one big publicity stunt to promote album sales and Jay Z’s Tidal music distributing service.

But who is being empowered by the berating of Beyoncé’s marriage?

Either scenario is disturbing, but I will look at them in turn. The first option is that the cheating rumors were true, explaining the beating he received from Beyoncé ‘s sister Solange in an elevator in 2014. It does smack of an angry protective sister, and the only reason a sister would behave in that manner is if her brother-in-law was cheating. See a bit of the history here.

Beyoncé ‘s lyrics in the song “Hold Up” as well as several other tracks are a little questionable.

She says at one point “What’s worse, lookin’ jealous or crazy?
Jealous or crazy?
Or like being walked all over lately, walked all over lately
I’d rather be crazy”
Read more: Beyonce – Hold Up Lyrics | MetroLyrics

The profanity laced “Don’t Hurt Yourself” reflected raw anger and emotion.  Many women are looking at these lyrics as so empowering, thrilled that she is dragging her cheating husband through the mud. May be they see it as “she has the strength to do something I can’t”.

But I ask, is marriage no longer sacred? Since when do we revel in the fact that a woman is dragging her man for cheating? Obviously, writing and music can be very therapeutic and that is healthy. But at the same token, she is choosing to stay with someone who has humiliated her in an incredibly public way. We know she’s not staying for the money, because there’s no question she is one of the most successful female artist in the world today. She’s not necessarily staying for power, because she is an artist, powerful in her own right. She may of course still be in love with Jay Z, but is that how you treat somebody you love? Wouldn’t your marriage and your image be better served if you went to couples therapy and work through your issues in private? The questions could have been avoided as to whether or not he was cheating, and their public relations camp could have continued to blow off the rumors. But, this very public album detailing their perceived problems makes it very clear there is some trouble in paradise. This also cannot be healthy for Blue Ivy, watching her mother drag her father through the dirt for cheating. This of course, is in addition to whatever else she is witnessing at home.

I don’t see the empowerment in this. If you choose to stay with the man that cheats with you on you, where’s the power especially if you’ve done nothing to make a relationship healthier? You’re the “baddest chick in the game” but yet you are tolerating your man cheating on you? You’re acting, to use the colloquial term, “ratchet” by smashing things and cursing; I’m failing to see how this empowers you or other women. In the real world, if you smash someone’s windows out of their car, depending on the amount of damage, you will be charged with a felony. Is it really worth it to prove a point to someone who is cheating on you and clearly has no respect for you? Acting in a destructive manner does not beget respect from anyone, and only degrades the actor.

The other possible scenario is that this is a giant publicity stunt to promote album sales and Jay Z’s music streaming service. I find this equally as disturbing. To destroy the sanctity of your marriage for money and for profits is incredibly shallow. Again, if you look at the effect it can have on their child, all the money in the world is not worth it. I think that is a very disturbing sign of their mental state if they are willing to destroy the sanctity of their marriage in that way.

Don’t get me wrong, she looked great, the lyrics were quite witty, and the videos were visually beautiful.  I just believe some things should be left in private. I question our hunger as a society to watch the destruction of a marriage in such a public fashion, or such a blatant grab for money and profits.

My mind also turns to Hillary Clinton — we all saw how Bill cheated on her, yet she remained in the marriage. We saw how he supported her Senatorial career as well as Secretary of State, and is now vigorously campaigning for her to become the first female president of the United States. But in some minds, one question still remains: did she stay with him after he cheated for her own personal gain? Are we comfortable with a woman doing that– selling out on happiness, and living in an arrangement of a marriage in order to attain personal goals? Men surely do not adopt this model for success. What pain comes with that decision? (To be clear this is not a statement on Secretary Clinton’s qualifications to be President.)

I almost prefer the scenario in the show Scandal, where Mellie and Fitz got divorced, and he supported her in other ways rather than live together in a strange, possibly a farce, of a marriage.

Yes, relationships are tough and complicated. But one constant, in my mind, needs to remain.  Respect, love and loyalty are the cornerstones for success in a relationship. My motto has always been “fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice shame on me.” As my mom would say “cut ’em loose!!”.  It was a tough lesson I had to learn, but in the end, it’s better than the alternative of an ongoing, destructive saga.

But hey, that’s the joy of a free country — everyone has choices, and has the ability to choose happiness!

Sound off on your comments and thoughts on this issue!

M.

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