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Thursday, April 28, 2016

Lemonade is not for us

In all seriousness, why is Matt Walsh still allowed to write stuff?

He is a walking, sniveling garbage fire. He has never written anything that had any merit at all. His greatest achievement is a white man golf clap. He's got plenty of time to talk about abortion and women's health and what women should be wearing.

He writes for Glenn Beck.

Oh.




The only reason I'm writing about this at all is because there is one sole audience who needs to hear my trite bullshit on this: white people.

And they need to hear it from me because over the past three days, I have witnessed them trampling all over women of color who are celebrating this release. They talk over them. They ignore them. They continue to cling to their tone deaf opinions, actively denigrating the lived experiences of others. Doing what we have done consistently throughout our history, telling people they don't matter. Telling people their experiences are wrong because they don't match our perceptions. And then acting put out when there is pushback on their tired 1983 platitudes. The same smug brush off and blame that this album screams against.

Walsh's latest tripe on Beyonce was well expected and equally as yawn-worthy. Like, I can hardly manage to ramp up any outrage because his points are so insipid, banal and cliche. But, we'll try.

"Never mind that “Beyonce” is more a brand than a person. The lady herself is a person, but what’s presented to the world is a carefully constructed and marketed product. It’s a narrative, a story, a walking and talking fantasy novel for girls." -- Matt Walsh

So? So are you, Matt Walsh. Only replace young girls with old white men. No one is riding your ass about it. Perhaps because you are an old white man?

"I find it therefore annoying and confusing when people speak of Beyonce’s alleged genius, but the unwarranted intellectualization of vapid, empty nonsense is not the most troubling aspect of all of the Beyonce adulation in this culture. The most troubling aspect is that her music is called ”empowering.”" -- Matt Walsh

One would think all those three-syllable, literary sounding words would mask the intent of this sentence better than it does. I mean, that's an awful long way to go for WAAAAAHHHHHH.

White people, pay attention. Sometimes art is made that is not for us. We can appreciate it. We can LOVE it. We can feel like it speaks to us. That does not mean it's for us. Sit down.

Beyonce's Lemonade is a goddamn masterpiece that will last beyond the ages because it is a genre- and life-shattering work of art that speaks to generational history, societal systemic oppression and its effects within a personal narrative that spans the experience levels of most damn people, and contextualizes it in a form of media accessible to our pop culture.

Beethoven’s 5th is mere flatulence when stacked against this album. Even God’s most awe-inspiring artistic achievements – Mount Everest, Victoria Falls, the universe itself – all melt away in the blinding light of ”Lemonade.” -- Matt Walsh

Okay, like, you just look foolish here. Beethoven is probably doing fucking cartwheels in the grave over this album because much like Beethoven in his time, it is a musical venture that pushes the boundaries of all that has come before it. It is exactly like Beethoven, in fact. And it is exactly like the universe itself, in that it is a self-correcting mechanism thrown in the spokes of our white wheels to stop this damn train before we hurt ourselves.

Complaining that new music sucks very much makes you the Simpson's grandpa yelling at cloud. Stop it. You look crotchety and it's not a good look. Plus, your words are going to remain in history as the old afraid of the new. Just like we all read in the books growing up.
Walsh cries about these lyrics:

"Here are a few of the “unforgettable” lines they highlighted:

“Hold up, they don’t love you like I love you / Slow down, they don’t love you like I love you.”

“We built sand castles that washed away / I made you cry when I walked away.”

“Nothing else ever seems to hurt like the smile on your face / When it’s only in my memory.”

“I hop up out the bed and get my swag on / I look in the mirror, say, ‘What’s up?’ / What’s up, what’s up, what’s up.”

They're forgettable and washed up to you because they are not for you. It is not what they say, but what they mean to myriads of people. Someone who has been cheated on needs to know that other people also go through an illogical phase of wondering if they are not enough. Those same women want to feel comforted that they are not alone in remembering the good times. That Beyonce is doing the walking in Sandcastles is what is relevant.  And a woman looking at herself in the mirror and saying what's up is absolutely empowering. She is there. She is real. She exists.

The whole album is a scream: I exist.

Unfortunately, in Beyonce’s case, when her lyrics aren’t warmed-over and cliched, they’re vulgar, ugly, manipulative and destructive. Often they’re all five of these things at once. Granted, many pop songs are profane, mind numbing garbage, but considering Beyonce’s status as Pagan Goddess of Secular America, her garbage is all the more toxic. Especially when mixed with racial exploitation. Remember, this is the woman who gave us a militant homage to the Black Panthers at the Super Bowl. -- Matt Walsh

Racial exploitation? I got Bingo. You are so mad right now, though. Stop. If you don't like this visual album, fine. Sit. Down. Beyonce's life, choices, career and art do not need to pass your pearl test.

"For a piece of work hailed as “groundbreaking” and “brilliant,” it’s strange that the title is one of the most overused cliches in the history of cliches." -- Matt Walsh

He didn't watch the visual aspect of this piece, or if he did, he doesn't understand what family can do for cliches. The grandmother's speech in this film, "I was given lemons, but I made lemonade," absolves this cliche. If it needed absolving, which it doesn't.

Lemonade is a tribute to generations of forced silence, a rebellion against the conventional societal bonds that tie women, but especially Black women, to norms that exist solely so that we can watch them drown and then claim it was their fault. It is a masterpiece tribute to love, life, history.

It is a statement demanding the context we have stripped from generations, giving voice and meaning to those with only the raw power of vulnerability and quieted strife and shoulders of silent steel while deafening white America with its veracity and truth. It is opening eyes and shutting white mouths everywhere.

It is revolution. It is everything everyone has ever needed.

And the lyrics are part of that, Matt Walsh. If they do not make you feel empowered, then sit down. This is not for you. And please, have you completely forgotten the Somali poet, Warsan Shire? Of course you have. Her work, quoted in this album, lends it yet another level of brilliance, molding genres and reaching people where it counts. It is a literal lifting up of a voice that needs to be heard. But not by you. Because it's not for you. 

"Leaving aside for the moment the racist undertones and the fact that she dresses like a wealthy stripper, let’s look at what she’s actually saying." --Matt Walsh

Racist undertones? Wealthy stripper? Oh, wait. Actually, I've been wrong this whole time. This album is for you. That is why you are so pressed. Lemonade is for Black women, then Black men, then white women, and then Matt Walsh. Only instead of empowering him, it threatens him.

Matt Walsh is threatened.

Good.


I was able to discern 6 messages your daughter will hear loud and clear while listening to “Lemonade:”

Lesson 1: Use sex as a weapon to possess and to gain revenge.

Lesson 2: Find self-worth in your money and the expensive things you can buy.

Lesson 3: Speak with the grace and femininity of a drunken frat boy, saying things like “suck on my b*lls.”

Lesson 4: Never hesitate to f*** a b***h up.

Lesson 5: Express your empowerment with middle fingers.

Lesson 6: Eat corn bread and collard greens. -- Matt Walsh


My seven-year-old girls and I will take your watered-down, racist, whiny lessons and think on them. And then we'll go right back to listening to the real messages (many of which overlap with this list to be quite honest. I ain't sorry), and let you go back to crying in your soup with Glenn.


And there is so much of Lemonade that is lost on me. Because this is not for me.

This piece by Ijeoma Oluo is a fantastic starting point.

I don't understand the neighborhood scenery in Hold Up other than to know that it is breathtakingly beautiful and real. I miss all of the nuance because this is not for me. I don't understand the parking garage graffiti in Don't Hurt Yourself. Because this is not for me. I don't get the layered meanings of the different traditional dress and makeup. I don't precisely know what the heart-stopping tambourine is representing, nor the meaning of the cheerleaders/dancers in the poetic interlude leading to Don't Hurt Yourself. Why are they on a bus during Sorry?

Why? Because this is not for me, that's why.

On some levels, it very much is for me. But on most levels, I am not qualified to type a damn word about this.

The only thing I truly can say about Lemonade is to white people.

Sit. Down.


6 comments:

  1. Stand up if you want Darlena, but as you say..."This is not for us." However, we can stand on the sidelines and cheer for the pure poetry and artistry of the work, Lemonade.

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  3. Why are you so guilty about your whiteness yet choose to live in a white neighborhood? Oh yeah, because you are a self-loathing hypocrite.

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  5. This piece is amazing. Especially after Beyonce was snubbed AGAIN at the Grammy's. Thank you for such a thoughtful and thorough evisceration of another sexist, supremacist talking head.

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  6. I always believe that one's opinion can't speak for the others.
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