“It is such a shame…You let this good love go to waste…I always keep the top tier, 5 star…”  Hold Up- Beyonce

Those lyrics right there, though. YESSSSSS. (Smirk.)

Beyonce, with the release of Lemonade, has me coming out of blog hiding.  I write a lot for my new gig now (Did I tell you I love it? Lol) and my kid sprints all over the place. So…time. And energy.  And whatever. I’m preaching to the choir, I’m sure.

But I had to write about this.  This new, fiercer (Is that a word?), Beyonce.  This unapologetically Black woman, Beyonce.  The smash up stuff because I’m pissed, Beyonce. LOVING IT.

I get it.

And not because some dude cheated on me recently (That I know of…).  This Lemonade thing is about way more than Jay Z potentially cheating on Beyonce.  It’s about so much more than whether or not we ever find out who “Becky with that good hair” is (THAT line is so good though…And yeah, call her. Humpf.). It’s about more than her “daddy issues”…

It’s about love. And vulnerability (YIKES!). And the struggle of being an unapologetically Black WOMAN.

(And by the way. In some circles, the unapologetically Black woman is mislabeled as the loudmouth. Or the angry bitch. Or the bitter, scorned lover.  I’m so tired of that.)


Just listen to the lyrics on Hold Up.  “What’s worse, lookin’ jealous or crazy?…Jealous and crazy…Or like being walked all over lately, walked all over lately…I’d rather be crazy…”

That one line is so deep.  It has to have you searching and thinking about something in your past (or present!).  We have all been there with that deep love. That love that he may (or may not) deserve.  And then something happens. And you question yourself.  Am I crazy? Am I jealous?  Is this my fault?  If only I had….!

And let’s take it a step further.  That love may be for your kid.  Or your friend. Or your community.  And when that love goes bad. Or crooked. Or is disrespected. Or not reciprocated.  Or dies in the street (You did see Trayvon’s mama and the other moms, right?) because someone else doesn’t share that love,  we are expected to pick up the pieces and keep it moving.  Seriously.  Don’t believe me? Take some time to think about the Black woman’s story in history. You can disagree with me. But if you do, I think you should talk with me over some Chai tea.  And then go watch The Help again.

Per Jay Z’s grandmama…”I had my ups and downs, but I always find the inner strength to pull myself up.  I was served lemons, but I made lemonade.”


Let’s start with Jay.  I know Jay Z may take a hit in this but when have you ever seen a rapper/man show such public vulnerability?  Being sensitive? Check.  Caressing her leg? Check.  That face to face, forehead to forehead thing? (You know what I’m talking about. You don’t even have to speak when that moment happens…)  So yes, he may be in trouble and perhaps he thinks he may lose his marriage but still.  There are men out there who would never be vulnerable in such situations (or any situation) and their stuff isn’t even shown on local TV.  This is on HBO!

And then, Bey.  It’s not easy for anyone to talk about their flaws.  To open up and tell the world (or your three girlfriends…wink) about how confusing your stuff is?  Scary.

I’ve talked before about Brene Brown and her work on vulnerability and daring greatly. She says, “Vulnerability is about showing up and being seen. It’s tough to do that when we’re terrified about what people might see or think.”  Uh, yeah.  Read this: http://www.forbes.com/sites/danschawbel/2013/04/21/brene-brown-how-vulnerability-can-make-our-lives-better/#58643d0960ba.

And so Beyonce puts.it.out.there.  For all of us to see.  She became real.  She’s tired of the BS. And I don’t know about you, but somehow, it became ok for me to be a little more vulnerable. And a tiny bit more open.  And a tad more of an unapologetically Black woman.

Note- Fine, she may not really be going through a struggle with Jay. Maybe this is her art. She sure as hell becomes relatable with this, though.


It started with Formation.  And folks were pissed.  How dare Beyonce tell Black women to get into any kind of “formation” and march proudly!  Yikes, here come the strong Black women.  And she’s smashing stuff and cursing!

“The most disrespected person in America is the black woman.  The most unprotected person in America is the black woman.  The most neglected person in America is the black woman.”

And so strong unapologetically Black women appear in her short film.

Serena should never have to apologize for her body.  Or make less endorsement money because she’s not “mainstream”.

Quvenzhané should not have to explain her name or her hair.

Zendaya should not have to apologize for this: When asked about what she considers cultural appropriation, Zendaya says, “Well, first of all, braids are not new. Black women have been wearing braids for a very long time, and that’s another part of the frustration… Another problem is it became new and fresh and fun, because it was on someone else other than a black woman.”

No more I’m sorry for saying the right thing about who I am, Black ladies.  No more. Because while I don’t have hot sauce in my purse, I darn sure have it in my pantry.  And probably in the fridge.  And I ask for it (almost) every time I have chicken (There was that one time at the country club when I didn’t…). And yeah, Red Lobster and such.

Did Jay really cheat on Bey?  I don’t know.  But look at the Lemonade story in a different way and you’ll realize that it probably doesn’t matter.    Unless you’re a member of the Beyhive.  Because they are pissed.

Sidenote- Notable quotes.  I had to share a few of my favs.

“I tried to change. Closed my mouth more. Tried to be softer, prettier, less awake.” (PREACH.)

“Why do you deny yourself heaven?  Why do you consider yourself undeserving?  Why are you afraid of live?  You think it’s not possible for someone like you?  But you are the love of my life…”

“Show me your scars and I won’t walk away…every promise don’t work out that way.”

“My grandma said nothing real can be threatened. True love brought salvation back into me. With every tear came redemption. And my torture became my remedy.”

“When you hurt me, you hurt yourself…Try not to hurt yourself; When you play me, you play yourself…Don’t play yourself; When you lie to me, you lie to yourself…You only lying to yourself; When you love me, you love yourself…”



“Mother, mother…There’s too many of you crying…Brother, brother, brother, There’s far too many of you dying…You know we’ve got to find a way, To bring some lovin’ here today…”- What’s Going On, Marvin Gaye

Brene Brown, in her brilliant TED Talk in March, 2012 said this, “We heard the most compelling call ever to have a conversation in this country, and I think globally, around race, right? Yes? We heard that. Yes? Cannot have that conversation without shame, because you cannot talk about race without talking about privilege. And when people start talking about privilege, they get paralyzed by shame.”

Ms. Brown is probably referring to the Trayvon Martin tragedy but she easily could have been talking about Mike Brown or Sean Bell or Amadou Diallo or Eric Garner…

Yes, I’m soooo drinking her Kool-Aid right now but her point is valid.  We have many compelling reasons to have that difficult conversation about race. Right now.  In our neighborhoods. In our counties. In our state. In our country.

But in order to have open dialogue about race and culture, which in my opinion is the only way we become more accepting of each other, we must agree to two things: 1.  Honesty.  Honesty is paramount and we need to recognize it is going to be uncomfortable. And 2.  To Ms. Brown’s point, we must be prepared, regardless of what you look like, to deal with shame.

In her book, Daring Greatly, (I’m such the Kool-Aid drinker, I know, I know. This flavor is good, though…) she defines shame as “…the intensely painful feeling or experience of believing that we are flawed and therefore unworthy of love and belonging.”

I mean, break that down.  That’s deep.  And when you relate the feeling of shame to conversations about race, you might say that opening up and having frank dialogue is scary because what you say might get you kicked out of a “clique” you belong to.  You might be unworthy of belonging. You might even see that you’re flawed.  Someone may label you. GASP.  That is scary.

But here’s how I think.  If you choose to have regular, open dialogues (with some rules, of course) with people who do not look like you (or yikes, may even have a different religious or political ideology than you) and you really choose to listen to their perspective (ie- why they may be upset about Eric Garner or why they are not upset about Ferguson), and you embrace the fact that it is going to be uncomfortable, I believe that you become part of the solution.  Because, folks, we do have a challenge.  And we can either be silent…or complain…or riot and loot.

Or we can choose to work on it.

In 2010, I was on the board of a group called twentyfivefortyfive.  We were a philanthropic group and our mission was to “build a more caring, creative and effective community in Howard County by encouraging philanthropy among those between the ages of 25 – 45.”  Yay.

One day, after reading an article about the lack of diversity on various boards in Howard County, we decided to host a summit. In fact, we called it a beer summit.

Now..if you’re wondering why, we called it a beer summit, stop reading for a sec, and please click here immediately  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/07/30/beer-summit-begins-obama-_n_248254.html).

I was super nervous about it. (Thanks again to Ian and Josh for talking me off the ledge…multiple times.) Turn out ended up being great.  Conversation was good.  And no one had a heart attack.  No fights.  And, to my knowledge, no one was kicked out of their “clique”.

But you can read more about it here http://articles.baltimoresun.com/2010-08-26/news/bs-md-ho-diversity-meeting-20100826_1_columbia-foundation-diversity-abby-hendrix.

The only thing I regret is that we didn’t host additional community conversations with more people.  People who may not be drinking the same Kool-Aid we drink.

And so we stopped talking.

And that is shameful.

Picket lines and picket signs…Don’t punish me with brutality…Talk to me, so you can see…Oh, what’s going on…