Oh, Matt Walsh. Love him or hate him, it’s pretty undeniable that the blogger is a pretty polarizing writer. I’ll admit to having only read a handful of his pieces. And I’ve actually agreed with some of them. One of his most recent contributions for The Blaze is what brings us here today.
Before I get too far into this, let me clarify something else. I am not now, nor have I ever considered myself a member of Beyoncé’s “BeyHive.” So, my reaction to Mr. Walsh’s recent post doesn’t come from any offense to his criticism. I just simply disagree.
As for why I didn’t express my thoughts directly through The Blaze’s comment board…let’s just say, I’d like to open up an actual discussion, not simply be mindlessly attacked for disagreeing (which is sadly something seen all too often on that website – from BOTH sides).
I count myself a somewhat liberal Christian – something which most people can’t seem to wrap their heads around, and something which I’m prepared to take backlash about.
While I certainly see the issues many conservatives have taken with the sometimes profanity-ridden lyrics of Beyoncé’s latest release, it seems that many of them have failed to also point out the virtue it exemplifies – HONESTY.
Like any piece of art – and whether you like it or not, this IS art – it’s open to interpretation. I’ve done my due diligence and scoured the internet to see what other people think Lemonade is about. Some think is obviously about a marital infidelity on Jay-Z’s part. Others think it’s about Beyoncé’s father. Others still think it’s a completely fictional piece (much like when she penned “Single Ladies” as a married woman).
When I watched it, my mind immediately went to the first theory, and, beyond that, a story of ANY woman who has been cheated on by her husband (I specify husband because if he’s anything less than that…bye.).
Between songs, words appear on the screen:
intuition denial, anger, apathy, emptiness, accountability, reformation, forgiveness, resurrection, hope, and redemption
I thank God daily for my husband and marriage, and though I am fortunate enough to have never experienced this kind of infidelity, I’m pretty sure she nailed the roller coaster of emotions that must follow something like that. Mr. Walsh places a large amount of attention on the anger, quoting such lyrics (pardon the language):
Who the f*** do you think I is?
You ain’t married to no average b***h boy
You can watch my fat ass twist boy
And so on…
But let’s be real, some of these thoughts would absolutely cross my mind in anger. And I think you’re either incredibly self-controlled or just flat out lying if you say otherwise. No, the lyrics won’t be winning a Pulitzer any time soon, but the feelings are real!
Later in his article, Walsh points to another set of lyrics as “encouraging women to degrade themselves for the sake of pleasing men.”
Took 45 minutes to get all dressed up
We ain’t even gonna make it to this club
Now my mascara runnin’, red lipstick smudged
And so on…
Um, I’m pretty sure that’s a married woman talking about sexy time WITH HER HUSBAND. Forgive me if I fail to see the degradation there. Sure, it may not be my preferred time/place to fool around, but that’s not really any of my business.
Beyond that, Walsh completely overlooks any positivity in the story as a whole. To me, Lemonade has a happy ending. Yes, the relationship Beyoncé sings about goes through a lot of anger and sadness…but in the end there is redemption, forgiveness, and hope.
I’m not saying any young girls out there should be listening to and emulating Beyoncé. I don’t think this album was made for them. An artist shouldn’t have to water down their story for fear that your kids might stumble upon it. I know it makes things harder as a parent, but I honestly don’t think that is an artist’s responsibility. Just think of the great art that wouldn’t exist if that were the case.
I have no idea if Bey is singing about her own marital struggles (again, none of my business), but I do know that I hope I would handle that situation similarly. Yes, there would be some anger and emptiness (albeit in private), but it would end with hope.
As a white (Hispanic) person, I won’t even attempt to address the racial themes in Lemonade, and I’m aware there are plenty of them. At least as a married woman, I can connect on those levels. But I’m smart enough to know what I don’t know.
I wish other people did too.