On May 11, 2016 I responded to bell hooks critic of Lemonade here’s what I had to say then;
“I’ve spent sometime reading and reflecting and rereading over my flight to New York. What reading am I referring to? The Bell Hooks response to Lemonade.
Before reading I was hesitant to even begin because I respect both of these powerful black women for vastly different reasons. I knew Bell Hooks was not a fan of Beyoncé if for no other reason than her having once refer to Beyoncé as a domestic terrorist.
I must admit I do agree with Bell Hooks on all of her critiques of lemonade except one very specific stance. Bell hooks says that we need to move past the pain, anger and violence. I agree BUT I also think it is is important to allow space to voice and express the much deserved anger and frustration in a way that releases it. I agree combative violence against men does nothing but make female bodies look at best angry and unstable BUT Beyoncé expressed/ released the anger and frustration in a way that was of minimal violence. She made lemonade literally she created an album to express in a fictitious way her feelings. AND simultaneously served her capitalistic needs by providing entertainment. Seeing Beyoncé smash cars and Windows is much more visually stimulating than seeing Beyoncé and Jay Z at the family therapist at the end of the day she has albums to sell (as I’m sure you understand because you have books to sell and your expertise to sell) it’s a part of survival and yes capitalism that we all contribute to. In order to exist and simply survive in a capitalist world ESPECIALLY as a ball of marginalized identities it’s necessary to conform in some aspects that’s the reality.
I absolutely love what Bell Hooks said about the effortless intent to incorporate black female bodies into the film because it was completely normalized and even celebrated in the hour long mini movie.
I do also appreciate Hooks’ thoughts on how violence acts in general will not combat or equal out the violence of men because it will not.
On a final note I appreciate and agree with the hesitation to lean in too far and trust Beyoncé definition of feminism. As much as I love Bey we cannot forget the privilege she currently holds and some privilege she’s always had. Growing up upper middle class and now upper class she hasn’t had the experiences of many people of color. She holds lots of class privilege which buys her out of some (but not all) of these experiences. As Hooks mentioned it’s evident that patriarchy still exists in Beyoncé’s definition of feminism which is yes problematic. But Morality and life lessons should not be derived from Beyoncé for we all have our own path and road to our own truth. “