The Afro-Caribbean Connection In Beyoncé’s Lemonade You Might Not Have Known About
Since evolving from Destiny’s Child into a solo artist, Beyoncé has worked with a wide range of female musicians and artists, particularly black women from around the world. There’s the Sugar Mamas , for instance, her 10-piece touring band; her inclusion of Nigerian writer Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s inspiring TEDx Talk about feminism in “Flawless;” and her weaving of Somali-British poet Warsan Shire’s haunting poem about betrayal on Lemonade.
Among that illustrious group? Franco-Cuban sisters Ibeyi.
The sisters, Lisa-Kaindé and Naomi, not only appear in Lemonade alongside the likes of Zendaya and Amandla Stenberg, but also had their song, “River,” featured in an Instagram post Beyoncé made to promote her September 2015 Vogue cover. You can watch the video for “River” below, because it’s fantastic and because we love you:
And ~that’s not all.~
There’s a theory snaking its way around the internet that some of the striking imagery Beyoncé employed in Lemonade takes its cues from Santería and other Yoruba-influenced faiths popular across the Caribbean and Brazil, including and very notably in Cuba. In fact, one prominent orisha, Oshun, is mentioned by name in “River.”
“Wemile Oshun, Oshun dede, Alawede Wemile Oshun, moolowo beleru yalode moyewede.”
Here’s how Oshun is commonly depicted:
Lots of people, specifically on Instagram, are making the visual connection between elements in Lemonade — Beyoncé’s yellow Roberto Cavalli gown, a shot of her standing amid streaming water — and the color and element so often associated with Oshun.
Check it out:
To paraphrase the poster above: even when others might alter or fail…
Maybe Beyoncé was influenced by her 2013 trip to Cuba? Something to ponder.
Now go check out more of Ibeyi’s music.
What’d you think of Lemonade? And how many times are you going to listen to Ibeyi today? 187,321 times at least, right?
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