Beyoncé released a new album on Friday at midnight. If you aren’t a fan or a music junkie or live under a rock, you probably missed this momentous event. People – both celebrities and normal folk alike – took to social media to express their shock and awe. The internet was all abuzz with a diversity of reactions. Most of the commentary was fun and funny to watch and read. Others were much more thought provoking a la this post over at the Crunk Feminist Collective and this video by the Queen of Nerdland, Melissa Harris Perry, where she hails this visual album as Beyoncé’s ‘Feminist Manifesto’. My favorite track is ***Flawless, which features the words of Nigerian feminist Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie from her Ted Talk entitled, “The Danger of a Single Story“. It has me bobbing my head, shaking my hips, puffing out my chest and singing at the top of my lungs, “I WOKE UP LIKE DIS!” As a womanist with feminist leanings, this song speaks to my soul.
I have been listening to the album non-stop since Friday. It was released as a visual album, meaning that she recorded a video for every song. I recommend watching the videos as you listen to the songs to get the best experience and to understand the context.
All the commentary and pop culture hoopla aside, I was particularly excited about this album because I am in the midst of the hardest season of the year. I have written about my struggles with Seasonal Affective Disorder and am valiantly trying to be positive and proactive during this time of year. It’s hard. I am facing my third Christmas a divorcée. I thought it would get easier, but its not. I travel all the time. I am a long distance away from my family. And I’m sad.
So as I woke up on Friday and reached for my phone, I couldn’t wait to download, listen to and watch this album. It’s hard for me to get out of bed. Like really hard. I jokingly posted as my Facebook status the following:
“Only Beyoncé can get me out of bed excited. Well, and God. But seriously God is using Beyoncé today. #FLAWLESS #thatisall”
I was only partially joking. I believe that music can be therapeutic and I believe that God uses various mediums to remind us of God’s never-ending love and encouragement. So in this instance, God used Beyoncé to encourage me and remind me of the power of love.
The album is all about love – love of self, love of others, love of home, love of life.
It’s all about love – eros, agape, philia and storge.
It’s all about love – confident and mature love.
It’s all about love, which I am desperately seeking…
I’ve struggled with loving myself. I feel like I am on an ongoing journey of practicing patience and grace towards myself. I really want to grow in love of myself because I believe that I can only truly love others and experience love in relationship if I love myself. This album has me thinking more about what it means to not only love me, but to happy with me.
The last line of the opening track, Pretty Hurts, ask the question – are you happy with yourself? I feel like the rest of the album goes on to answer this question and it seems that Beyonce is happy – not fleetingly, surface level happy – but truly happy. And I want to experience that. I want to be happy too.
I’m inspired and for that I’m grateful. This album is going to get me through the next few days until I am home and can revel in the love of family and friends. It will get me through this season of being alone. It will get me through the sadness.
Thanks Beyoncé. Your music and vision give me life.
As always, thanks sister for your truth and opinion. I am a fan of B yes, but a die hard, album released go get it fan? No, but what you have revealed, I may change my mind….well, at least for this album. Your opinion has influenced me!
Out of a 16 year relationship, going on my 3rd Christmas as well, I know I too suffer from depression. And yes, my truth is I too am looking for love and taking my time at it, but as I am older than you, I worry if I will in fact find it, if it has already passed me by, and singleness (I was going to use another term but hate it too much, they don’t call men ‘minsters’) is this it for me?? I get into a funk over this so bad, even the love of Jesus cannot get me up, as it could not do this Sunday to go to worship – I used the snow as an excuse and by Sunday morning my excuse of the snow was just as wishy washy as the remaining snow in NYC.
So as I often do, listen to songs to lift and inspire me, I will listen to this and catch the videos when I can.
Blessings, always in my prayers
Hugs, prayers and LOVE to you dear sister. Even as we are physically alone, we are not spiritually alone. I don’t know what is to come but I do know that the communities we find ourselves in have the ability to speak life and love, even when we don’t or can’t ourselves. Thinking about you this holiday season and looking forward to seeing you in the new year.