The Lemonade Reader  book cover
1st Edition

The Lemonade Reader

ISBN 9781138596788
Published June 10, 2019 by Routledge
286 Pages

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Book Description

The Lemonade Reader is an interdisciplinary collection that explores the nuances of Beyoncé’s 2016 visual album, Lemonade. The essays and editorials present fresh, cutting-edge scholarship fueled by contemporary thoughts on film, material culture, religion, and black feminism.

Envisioned as an educational tool to support and guide discussions of the visual album at postgraduate and undergraduate levels, The Lemonade Reader critiques Lemonade’s multiple Afrodiasporic influences, visual aesthetics, narrative arc of grief and healing, and ethnomusicological reach. The essays, written by both scholars and popular bloggers, reflects a broad yet uniquely specific black feminist investigation into constructions of race, gender, spirituality, and southern identity.

The Lemonade Reader gathers a newer generation of black feminist scholars to engage in intellectual discourse and confront the emotional labor around the Lemonade phenomena. It is the premiere source for examining Lemonade, a text that will continue to have a lasting impact on black women’s studies and popular culture.

Table of Contents

Foreword by Candice Benbow; Preface by T. Denean Sharpley-Whiting; Acknowledgements; Introduction by Kinitra D. Brooks & Kameelah L. Martin; Interlude A: What Do We Want from Beyoncé? by Maiysha Kai; Interlude B: Bittersweet Like Me: When the Lemonade Ain’t Made For Fat Black Femmes and Women by Ashleigh Shackelford; Part I: Some Shit is Just for Us Chapter One--Some Shit is Just for Us: Intro by Cheryl Finley and Deborah Willis; Chapter Two--Something Akin to Freedom: Sexual Love, Political Agency, and Lemonade by Lindsey Stewart; Chapter Three--Getting to the Roots of "Becky with the Good Hair" in Lemonade by Janell Hobson; Chapter Four--Pull the Sorrow from Between My Legs: Lemonade as Rumination on Reproduction and Loss by LaKisha M. Simmons; Chapter Five--The Language of Lemonade: The Sociolinguistic and Rhetorical Strategies Beyoncé's Lemonade by Alexis McGee; Interlude C: How Not to Listen to Lemonade: Music Criticism and Epistemic Violence by Robin James; Interlude D: Women Like Her Cannot be Contained: Warsan Shire and Poetic Potential in Lemonade by Shauna M. Morgan; Part II: Of Her Spiritual Strivings Chapter Six--Looking for Beyonce's Spiritual Longing: The Power of Visual/Sonic Meaning-Making by Valerie Bridgeman; Chapter Seven--Beyoncé’s Lemonade Folklore: Feminine Reverberations of Odú and Afro-Cuban Orisha Iconography by Nicholas R. Jones; Chapter Eight--The Slay Factor: Beyoncé Unleashing the Black Feminine Divine in a Blaze of Glory by Melanie C. Jones; Chapter Nine--Beyonce's Diaspora Heritage and Ancestry in Lemonade by Patricia Coloma Peñate; Chapter Ten--Signifying Waters: The Magnetic and Poetic Magic of Oshún as Reflected in Beyoncé’s Lemonade by Martin A. Tsang; Chapter Eleven--Beyoncé Reborn: Lemonade as Spiritual Enlightenment by Lauren V. Highsmith; Interlude E: From Destiny’s Child to Coachella by L. Michael Gipson; Interlude F: "Formation" and the Black-Ass Truth about Beyoncé and Capitalism by Tamara Winfrey Harris; Part III: The Lady Sings Her Legacy Chapter Twelve--The Lady Sings Her Legacy: Introduction by Daphne Brooks; Chapter Thirteen--To Feel Like a "Natural Woman": Aretha Franklin, Beyoncé and the Ecological Spirituality of Lemonade by Michele Prettyman Beverly; Chapter Fourteen--Beyoncé’s Western South Serenade by Tyina Steptoe; Chapter Fifteen--Beysthetics: "Formation" and the Politics of Style by Tanisha C. Ford; Chapter Sixteen--"I Used to Be Your Sweet Mama": Beyoncé at the Crossroads of Blues and Conjure in Lemonade by Kinitra D. Brooks & Kameelah L. Martin; Chapter Seventeen--Beyoncé's Lemonade and the Black Swan Effect by Kyra Gaunt; Chapter Eighteen--She Gave You Lemonade, Stop Trying to Say It’s Tang: Calling Out How Race-Gender Bias Obscures Black Women’s Achievements in Pop Music by Birgitta Johnson; Interlude G: Erasing Shame – Beyonce’s Lemonade and the Black Woman’s Narrative in Cinema by Aramide Tinubu; Afterword by Regina N. Bradley


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Kinitra D. Brooks is the Audrey and John Leslie Endowed Chair in Literary Studies in the Department of English at Michigan State University, USA. Dr. Brooks specializes in the study of black women, genre fiction, and popular culture. She currently has two books in print: Searching for Sycorax: Black Women’s Hauntings of Contemporary Horror (2017), a critical treatment of black women in science fiction, fantasy, and horror; and Sycorax’s Daughters (2017), an edited volume of short horror fiction written by black women. Her current research focuses on portrayals of the conjure woman in popular culture. Dr. Brooks is serving as the Advancing Equity Through Research Fellow at the Hutchins Center for African & African American Research at Harvard University for the 2018–2019 academic year.

Kameelah L. Martin is Professor of African American Studies and English at the College of Charleston in South Carolina, USA, where she is also Director of the African American Studies Program. Dr. Martin’s research explores the lore cycle of the conjure woman as an archetype in literature and visual texts. She is author of two monographs: Conjuring Moments in African American Literature: Women, Spirit Work, and Other Such Hoodoo (2013) and Envisioning Black Feminist Voodoo Aesthetics: African Spirituality in American Cinema (2016). She is the Assistant Editor of the College Language Association Journal and has published in Studies in the Literary Imagination; Black Women, Gender, and Families; and the African American National Biography. She has edited special issues of Genealogy and South Atlantic Review, and co-edited a section of The Routledge Anthology of African American Rhetoric (2018).