‘Ashes to ashes, dust to side chicks’: Beyoncé unearths her pain and vulnerability in her most revealing album to date

By Litaletu Zidepa
25 April 2016

Bey's "visual album" is an emotional roller coaster.

Perfectly poised in a mustard-yellow Roberto Cavalli dress, she holds a baseball bat and starts to laugh. The she sets off swinging the bat, smashing car windows and causing fiery explosions as she goes.

She sings about being wronged, being crazy and jealous – it’s Bey like we’ve never seen her before.


Beyoncé surprised the BeyHive on Saturday with a brand new album, dubbed her most profane and politically charged offering yet.

The “visual album” was released on husband Jay Z’s music streaming network Tidal but it’s rumoured the 34-year-old will make it available on iTunes too.


In the incredible project, the notoriously private star reveals more about her private life than ever before – particularly her relationship with 46-year-old Jay Z.

There’s been much speculation about strife in the Carter-Knowles household, especially after 2014’s infamous Solange-Jay Z “elevator-gate”. Now the mother of one seems to be revealing what went on behind closed doors.

Read more: Beyoncé ‘still not ready to talk about Met Ball fight’

The videos can be viewed as chapters, each dealing with one stage in her emotional journey, like denial, anger, apathy and emptiness.

In songs like Pray You Catch Me, Hold-Up and Sorry, Blue Ivy’s mom hints at infidelity, going as far as to accuse her husband of cheating on her with "Becky with the good hair".


Soon after fashion designer Rachel Roy, who Jay was rumoured to have had an affair with, shared a picture of herself on Instagram captioned, “Good hair don’t care.”

"We will take good lighting for a selfies, or self truths, always,” the ex-wife of Jay’s best friend, Dame Dash, added. “Live in the light #nodramaqueen”.

Read more: Beyoncé ‘struggles to trust Jay’

Of course, this unleashed a tirade of fury from the BeyHive, and Rachel eventually made her Instagram account private.

“I respect love, marriages, families and strength," she tweeted. "What shouldn’t be tolerated by anyone, no matter what, is bullying, of any kind”.

But whether or not it was Rachel, Bey made it clear she has forgiven her husband in the raw and personal segment for "forgiveness", as the famously private pair shared an emotional kiss on-screen.

Home video footage of the spouses of eight years and their daughter Blue Ivy were also used for the song All Night. One clip shows doting dad Jay tackling his four-year-old to the ground as they played football at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome in New Orleans, Louisiana – the same stadium where Beyoncé performed the Super Bowl Half Time Show in 2013.


Each of the videos in Lemonade features themes about female empowerment, while Beyonce also touches on the Black Lives Matter social justice movement by including moving scenes with the mothers of the late Mike Brown and Trayvon Martin, among others, holding up photos of loved ones whose lives had been cut short under controversial circumstances. Read more: 8 times Beyoncé shocked the world It’s an emotional rollercoaster, but that’s clearly what the superstar set out to do. And it all comes together with one crucial life-lesson: when life gives you lemons, you make Lemonade.

A video posted by Beyoncé (@beyonce) on

Sources: Mashable, The Guardian, TIME, The New York Times

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