In Bell Hooks’ article, Beyoncé’s Lemonade is capitalist money-making at its best, the popular Lemonade video is analyzed. The post, published on the guardian seems to disagree with viewers who suggest that the film is primarily made for black female audiences. Indeed, Hooks asserts that the film is about the body of black females as a commodity and nothi9ng close to revolutionary as it has been marketed. The author likens the contents of the film to the business conducted by girls in selling lemonade. Accordingly, the film depicts black women as commodities being marketed to entice any customer, be it black or white. The justifications raised in the article, however valid, are not a true account of the contribution of the film. In fact, it is harsh on the author’s part to criticize work on the basis of one’s personal understanding. Suffice to say, millions of Americans resonate with the message conveyed in the film in its attempts to tackle challenges of black women.
In the first attack, Hooks argues that the portrayal of the women in the film is done to depict them as commodities. In addition, the article asserts that the intended audience is the world of business and that the women are to be sold to any willing buyer. Nothing could be farther from the truth. The representation of different women, some scantily dressed, is not a selling point for their bodies. Rather, the intended message is that women of color are comfortable in their own skin. In essence, the film rides on the current modern world where women strive to be sassy and sexy making them feel even more beautiful. This transformation is not only beneficial to black women but to the women in general for it gives them a sense of being appreciated. The fact that the film puts the women at the center of the world means that they are celebrated. The author is therefore inaccurate in stating that the objective of the film was otherwise.
The author further takes note of the fact that the women in the film are represented as scantily dressed. In contrast, Beyonce shows up as a star dressed in sporty casual wear. In truth, this only serves the purpose of portraying the star as somewhat better than the other women. It depicts the star as some kind of a god for the black women who are depicted as commodities. In addition, the article draws reference from the past where black women’s body have been bought and sold. Today, the article suggests, the only difference is that the commodity is bought for different reasons and as a different package altogether (Hooks, 2016). The purpose of the black bodies is to seduce and celebrate in protest to the dehumanization of the black female body. In this point I agree with the author’s sentiments with regard to the approach employed in tackling the problems. One cannot claim to be fighting a particular vice yet retort to the same vice in their defense. The use of the female black body as a commodity is wrong whether done for the right or wrong reasons.
The article also questions the success of the film in attaining its objective of changing the way people view the black body. Accordingly, the film is right in constructing a powerfully symbolic black female sisterhood because it shows that the black women do not conform to silence. However, the article alludes to the fact that the film remains within the realms of a conventional stereotypes. In essence, therefore, the film fails to shift the stereotype from that of the woman always being the victim (Hooks, 2016). Although the article is accurate in pointing this out, it fails to appreciate the real value of sisterhood. The release of the film was meant to coincide with the launch of the Black Lives Matter movement and was in no way contradictory. The idea behind a sisterhood that refuses to keep silent is to pool women together in unity to define their own destiny. A failure to do so would have resulted in continued dehumanization of the black female body.
Also, the article takes issue with the use of violence in overcoming pain and betrayal among women. In truth, the film starts with a painful story of betrayal where Beyonce’s spouse is involved in infidelity. However, her reaction is filled with rage leading her to use violence in crashing car windows. Moreover, the article takes issue with the fact that Beyonce does not shoot her man but instead opts to direct the violence elsewhere (Hooks, 2016). It is the ‘sexualization’ of the violent acts that alarms the author since any form of violence is wrong. The article argues that the depiction calls for the celebration of rage and violence especially when instigated by women. That notwithstanding, I feel that the author is a bit too harsh on the film and the women in general. It is normal for people to become angry when they are hurt and the depiction in the film is not aimed at sustaining violence. In fact, the smashing of car windows can only mean that the woman is weak and is redirecting her anger elsewhere. By not shooting the man who hurt her, the woman comes out as a calm and peace loving citizen.
The article’s critique of Beyonce’s film, although logical, cannot be taken as the truth. In fact, the article is a classical example of the existence of different opinions. The labeling of the women in the film as commodities lined up for sale cannot be anything closer to the truth. At least, the film is not intended to portray the women as commodities who should be bought in an open market. On the contrary, it is the author who views the women as such raising concerns about the article’s commitment to the end of the commercialization of women’s body. I feel that the film was effective in communicating the message of black women power and their unending unity. Most importantly, the Lemonade effectively tackled the issues of infidelity and the equality of both men and women.
Hooks, B. (2016). Beyoncé’s Lemonade is capitalist money-making at its best. Retrieved November 05, 2016, from https://www.theguardian.com/music/2016/may/11/capitalism-of-beyonce-lemonade-album
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