The Lemonade Reader: Beyoncé, Black Feminism and Spirituality, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

The Lemonade Reader

Beyoncé, Black Feminism and Spirituality, 1st Edition

Edited by Kinitra D. Brooks, Kameelah L. Martin


296 pages

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The Lemonade Reader is in interdisciplinary collection that explores the nuances of Beyoncé’s 2016 visual album, Lemonade. Essays and editorials present fresh, cutting-edge scholarship fuelled 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 undergraduate and potgraduate 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: Candice Benbow

Preface: T. Denean Sharpley-Whiting


Introduction: Kinitra D. Brooks & Kameelah L. Martin

Interlude I: "What Do We Want from Beyoncé?" by Maiysha Kai

Interlude II: "Bittersweet Like Me: When the Lemonade Ain’t Made For Fat Black Women and Femmes" by Ashleigh Shackelford

Section I: Some Shit is Just for Us

Chapter One--Section Intro: Deborah Willis and Cheryl Finley

Chapter Two --"Something Akin to Freedom": Black 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 Simmons

Chapter Five--"Beyisms: The Southern, Sociolinguistic Strategies and Rhetorics of Beyoncé" by Alexis McGee

Interlude III: "How Not to Listen to Lemonade": Music Criticism and Epistemic Violence" by Robin James

Interlude IV: "‘Women like her cannot be contained’:Warsan Shire and Poetic Potential in Lemonade" by Shauna M. Morgan

Section II: Of Her Spiritual Strivings

Chapter Six--Section Intro: Valerie Bridgeman

Chapter Seven--"Beyoncé’s Lemonade Folklore: Feminine Reverberations of Odú and

Afro-Cuban Orisha Iconography" by Nicholas Jones

Chapter Eight--"The SLAY Factor: Beyoncé Unleashing the Black Feminine Divine in a Blaze of Glory" by Melanie C. Jones

Chapter Nine--"Let’s Get Information: Beyoncé’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 Tsang

Chapter Eleven--"Beyoncé Reborn: Lemonade as Spiritual Enlightenment" by Lauren V. Highsmith

Interlude V: "On Embracing Then Resisting Respectability: From Destiny’s Child to Coachella" by L. Michael Gipson

Interlude VI: "‘Formation’ and the Black-Ass Truth about Beyoncé and Capitalism" by Tamara Winfrey Harris

Section III: The Lady Sings Her Legacy

Chapter Twelve: Section Intro: Daphne Brooks

Chapter Thirteen--"To Feel Like a "Natural Woman": Aretha Franklin, Beyoncé and the Ecological Spirituality of Lemonade" by Michele Beverly

Chapter Fourteen--"Beyoncé’s Sonic Borderlands: Music and the Racial Geography of the Western South" 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 and the ‘Black Swan Effect’ of Lemonade" 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 VII: "Erasing Shame: Beyonce’s Lemonade and the Black Woman’s Narrative in Cinema" by Aramide Tinubu

Afterword: Regina N. Bradley

About the Editors

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 will serve 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, or black priestess, as an archetype in literature and visual texts. She is author of two monographs: Conjuring Moments in African American Literature: Women, Spirit Work, & 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, & Families, as well as the African American National Biography. She has edited special issues of Genealogy, South Atlantic Review, and co-edited a section of the Routledge Anthology of African American Rhetoric (2018).

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Gender Studies