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Honoring "Lemonade" and Its Place in The Reproductive Justice Movement  

"To speak to the glory of Beyonce’s Grammy 2017 performance, that was an ode to motherhood and more specifically the holy wombs of Black women whose bodies have been ripped apart and tortured for the sanctity of white women’s fertility. An ode to Anarcha, Lucy, and Betsey, the Black slave women the father of modern gynecology, Dr. James Marion Sims experimented on. Depiction of the Virgin Mary and Jesus. An ode to all the Black women who suffer through the belief that we have a higher tolerance for pain, leaving doctors to dismiss our concerns and diagnosis us too damn late. For the PCOS, the lupus, the sickle cell and others that go under researched, burdened in the wombs of Black women. For the lack of any holy imagery praising the holiness of Black motherhood, while Aunt Jemima and mammy are commodified for mass consumption. For the Welfare Queen of Ronald Reagan’s imagination that held its foot down on Black women’s neck, even though she was really a white woman. Beyonce repainted herself as the western image of Mary, Mother of Jesus while not denying that even that image was brought through brutality against Black women. But we are the mothers of the world much like Oshun, arms extended like Parvati. In essence, no matter your belief system, your womb is holy. This is the image young girls, little Black girls who in so many ways are reminded they are supposedly not worthy, these are the images they need to see. That there is a beautiful lineage that proceeds and birthed them and only through them can that beauty extend."- Jouelzy, "The Genius of Beyonce Reshaping Black Motherhood"

Redefining and Honoring Black Motherhood 

"Lemonade juxtaposes the realities of living in a racist, patriarchal society—most notably infidelity, sexism, misogyny, and police brutality—alongside a dreamscape we now all desperately want to be real: a place where Black women and girls are free to perform, to celebrate, to grieve, to love, to be magical without judgment. Lemonade dares to envision a world where matriarchs are divine and powerful. It reminds us that despite living under the thumb of patriarchy and misogyny, we’ve always had the power to turn sour lemons into lemonade.

This message was made apparent to me with the appearances of Sybrina Fulton, Gwen Carr, and Lesley McSpadden solemnly holding photos of their sons Trayvon Martin, Eric Garner, and Michael Brown respectively, all of whom notably lost their lives to police brutality. (Geneva Reed-Veal and Angela Helton, mothers of Sandra Bland and Rekia Boyd respectively, would’ve looked just as regal and pained holding their lost daughters.) By featuring Sybrina, Gwen, and Lesley, Lemonade brought the focus back on Black motherhood, something that America seems to only direct attention to when one of our children is unfairly murdered. These women are representative of the disservice society has done to Black mothers, but they also remind us of Black women’s ability to move forward from pain to serve a higher purpose. They represent the height of loss, but also the painful applications of Black Girl Magic."

"Though we see the tragedy and pain life in a patriarchal society brings Black women, we also see the beauty in being able to survive in those spaces that aren’t welcoming to us. The love and transformation found within Black motherhood and womanhood is perhaps even stronger than partnered love in Lemonade. (Remember: “Me and my baby we gon’ be alright / We gon’ live a good life.”) Grandmother was an alchemist, as Beyoncé recites in “Redemption,” and she passed on this survival skill to her daughters to pass on to their daughters—not her sons," Ev Petgrave, "Lemonade is The Ode to Black Motherhood We Didn't Expect, But That We Deserve." 

A Collection of Works Celebrating Black Womanhood and Motherhood 

"Because Black motherhood isn’t ghetto. Black motherhood is the hardest job in the world and it is beautiful."

“I love you so much, I want to carry you around all day in my pocket,” I tell my daughters, even though I am well aware of the fact that the same urge to protect them from harm would, if acted upon, result in their suffocation. For this black mother, the trick is to provide my children safety without suffocation, and prepare them for the fight while also reminding them that the world is a good place, where it’s good to get angry and good to hope."

Mommy wars? “That doesn’t make a lick of sense,” Mama, who’s now 80, would say. Mama lived to sit at the kitchen table — our light blue princess phone nestled in the crook of her neck as she took long drags on her cigarette — gossiping about her girlfriends. But there was a mutual sense of love and respect among the moms of her generation. They were always tired, just like moms now. But never too tired to offer encouragement — words like, “Girl, all you can do is the best you can.”

"When I respond to questions about my motherhood, am I simply challenging notions that I cannot be a Good Mother, or falling for the siren song of “proper” Black motherhood made in the image of polite, white-washed femininity? The lines are blurry. Respectability may be resistance, but it is neither solidarity with my sisters, nor liberation for any of us."


""Your mother is a woman. And women like her cannot be contained."- Beyonce, "Lemonade"