CO/CELEB: A New Approach to Understanding Beyoncé’s Lemonade Kelsea Schnitzler The Co.’s Kelsea Schnitzler provides unique perspectives on what’s happening in pop culture today, focusing on their influence and significance in a broader global context. Beyond the contentious lyrical significance, what does Beyoncé’s latest album reveal about us as a viewer? Beyoncé’s newest album has caused a firestorm of discourse. Undeniably culturally significant, the accompanying 65-minute film raises questions around marriage infidelity, black rights and women’s issues. Of less importance yet more popularity, Lemonade also leaves the viewer wondering how much of the album derives from the singer’s direct personal experience or whether it’s a collaborative artistic effort. A few weeks post-release, enough time has passed to properly reflect on the gift that Queen B bestowed upon us. The album has been dissected through many avenues including the lyrical meaning, fashion, poetry and political assertions. Dialogue may be fruitful around the album’s content and provide endless fodder for tabloids, but while we have been debating over Lemonade, what has the album actually taught us about ourselves? In 1697, William Congreve famously wrote, “Heaven has no rage like love to hatred turned, nor hell a fury like a woman scorned.” While over 300 years old, the author’s implication still rings true today. In Beyoncé’s case, it means she just might release an extremely honest album about you and you better not contest it. If you’ve been cheated on before, you understand the complete break of trust, the utter shattering of your world and the feelings of vulnerable rage. Although most of us haven’t created a history-making album through catharsis, a large portion of us know the all-encompassing sting of heartbreak. Conversely, what we often seem to forget is the depth and capacity of a woman’s forgiveness. The majority of the world can’t relate to partitions and being flawless, but we can all understand fundamental human experiences: relationships, betrayal, forgiveness and emotions. Lemonade is the album we didn’t know we craved. Although there have been many records made throughout history about these experiences, Beyoncé is one of the few people in the world with the power and financial means necessary to adapt these shared human hardships into an impactful audiovisual format. In culmination, Lemonade is Beyoncé’s most relatable work yet. On the other end of the spectrum and as the speculated cheater, Jay Z stands to lose a lot from the release of Lemonade; most prominently, his reputation. As one of the most influential and beloved rappers of all time, Jay Z has been put on a pedestal as a family man, music maven and successful businessman. After the release of Lemonade, the internet was flooded with memes of the rapper in various states of fear and submission, quipping he finally does have 100 problems. Perhaps because his wife publicly chastised him so considerably, we cut him a break. Realistically, we need to consider a more deeply-rooted patriarchal issue at play here: why is it that we aren’t more upset at Jay Z’s betrayal? Are we so desensitized to male infidelity that it has become understandable? While a somewhat jovial response materialized from the internet regarding Jay Z and his fidelity missteps, his mistress didn’t fare so well. The world seemed infatuated with hypothesizing who “Becky with the good hair” may be, looking to pin the blame on a woman. While much speculation revolved around designer Rachel Roy as the other woman, nothing has been confirmed, nor will it probably ever be. Roy was not met with the comical banter as Jay Z was, but instead received death threats and hate mail. This evident slut shaming demonstrates the prevailing double standard in our culture where men can’t help themselves and women should know better. Both parties should respect the sanctities of marriage and both parties should be held equally accountable. Taking the personal speculation out of Lemonade, Beyoncé paints a picture of the phases any woman goes through when healing a broken heart. Lemonade isn’t an album about burning your husband or his mistress at the stake, it’s about finding love where you didn’t think it existed anymore. How you interpret the album perhaps says more about you than it does Beyoncé.