This is my responsibility towards Lemonade, and towards all art produced by women of color who are not Latinx:
- Watch it. Be aware of how it affects other women that I have dubbed “sisters.” Revel in the images I understand; Google the references that I don’t. Remember that this art was not made with me in mind.
- Read as much as I can about it. Soak in how black women can educate me about Beyoncé, the Yoruba influences in “Lemonade,” the Southern aspect of “Lemonade,” and its place in the greater musical tradition of black music. Seethe silently when white men write dumb things about it (exhibit A). Support other sisters who choose the fight the battle against ignorant people.
- Incorporate it into my own writing, if it is relevant. Look for moments of solidarity between work by Latinx artists and Beyoncé. Connect the kindred spirits I may see without eliding difference. Never allow my voice to be louder than that of black women on this topic.
- Criticize it, if needed. Do so lovingly. Do so only if I have all my facts straight. Do so knowing that I should be ready to leave the conversation if I am asked.
- Know that “Becky with the good hair” is code for “white girl.” Do not take this personally. Remember that white people invented Becky when they dubbed kinky hair “bad.” Let the words of Jamila Lyiscott echo in my brain:
“I’m so tired of the negative images that are driving my people mad
So unless you’ve seen it rob a bank stop calling my hair bad
I’m so sick of this nonsensical racial disparity
So don’t call it good unless your hair is known for donating to charity”
In short: Know it. Love it. Use it. Remember that it is not yours.
For further reading:
Melissa Harris-Perry: http://www.elle.com/culture/music/a35903/lemonade-call-and-response/
Amanda Alcantara: http://remezcla.com/features/music/beyonce-lemonade-yoruba/
Compiled by Hannah Giorgis: https://www.buzzfeed.com/hannahgiorgis/i-aint-sorry?utm_term=.kaQ21AqMW#.mnQ5kbDjw