Beyoncé released her latest HBO special, Lemonade, and the album of the same name on Saturday, April 23, and everyone’s still talking about it. Lemonade seemed to continue the conversation Beyoncé began with “Formation,” this time focusing on the lives of black women. The hour-long film took viewers on a personal journey with Beyoncé from Intuition to Redemption that seemed to highlight Beyoncé’s own struggles and the struggles of so many others.
Although there were many standout moments in the film, it was the unapologetic showcase of black women that got people talking. First, gold-medalist tennis player Serena Williams made an appearance during “Sorry.” Williams had dropped a hint that she would be in Lemonade when it first began to air, and fans were happy to see it was true.
Later on in the video is when it became clear that Lemonade wasn’t just about Beyoncé’s relationship, but about all black women, both their history and their future. In a scene, shown along with the song “Forward” by James Blake, according to Fader, Trayvon Martin’s mother, Sybrina Fulton, Eric Garner’s mother, Gwen Carr, and Michael Brown’s mother, Lezley McSpadden, sit silently, holding up pictures of their deceased sons.
The scene also included three other women, including Leah Chase, who according to Mashable, owns the restaurant Dooky Chase in New Orleans. She’s also known as the Queen of Creole cuisine, which is why it’s no surprise she’s hanging with Queen B. Oscar nominee Quvenzhane Wallis was another one of these women, and she also appears again later on in Lemonade, holding Blue Ivy’s hand as they stand with other black women.
Beyoncé showcased a whole crew of amazing young black women in the film. Disney Channel star and activist Zendaya and The Hunger Games star and activist, Amandla Stenberg, who was recently on the cover of Teen Vogue and was interviewed by Beyoncé’s sister, Solange, sat next to Queen B. Chloe and Halle Bailey, the singing duo, Chloe x Hallie, who are signed to Beyoncé’s label, Parkwood Entertainment, also sat on the steps. And twin sisters Lisa-Kaindé Diaz and Naomi Diaz of the music duo Ibeyi were there, as well.
Model Winnie Harlow also appeared in Lemonade. She appeared on America’s Next Top Model, but is best known for proudly showing her vitiligo, a skin condition she’s had since she was four. Michaela DePrince, a ballerina who also has vitiligo, performed on stage in the video, as well. DePrince was an orphan in Sierra Leone before she was adopted and brought to the U.S. at the age of four. She now dances with the Dutch National Ballet.
Throughout Lemonade there were also clips of Beyoncé and her family. One particularly cute clip was of her mother, Tina Lawson, on her wedding day to Richard Lawson. The most important clip viewers were shown, however, was of Hattie, Jay Z’s grandmother. At her 90th birthday, she gave a speech in which she stated, “I was served lemons and I made lemonade.” Hence, the title of the album came from this inspiring quote.
The one woman who didn’t make a visible appearance in the film was poet Warsan Shire. However, it was her poetry that weaved Lemonade together, as Beyoncé spoke Shire’s written words.
The appearances of so many talented, inspiring, and beautiful black women in Lemonade made so many people feel like Beyoncé truly stepped into her Black Girl Magic with this film.
Lemonade is now available to stream on TIDAL and will be on HBO Go and NOW until April 25.
[Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images]