Lemonade: The Black Woman’s Guide To Understanding What You Saw


Lemonade. Ms. Hattie (Jay Z’s 90 years old grandmother and my paternal grandmother’s name) said, “When life gives you lemons, you make lemonade.”

Truth. Black women have been making lemonade since the beginning of time.

This will be about our history, our resilience, our pain, our anger and our strength.

Out of the ashes, the phoenix rises. Some shit you just have to burn down to rebuild it to be better and stronger.

Before we go any further, I need you to clear your mind of any religious dogma. Your faith isn’t important here. I want you to fully understand your visual experience. This isn’t the devil or the damn illuminati.

Maferefun Oshun. Making lemons out of lemonade.
Maferefun Oshun. Making lemons out of lemonade.

Sisters, I am not going to give you some ubiquitous think piece that speaks to feminism or activism. White media seems to have that covered. *insert sarcasm* Throw that shit in the trash. You won’t need it. I promise. I’m going to gift you with something beautiful yet powerful. Something that was taken from us on our journey to this hemisphere.  It lies at the bottom of the great sea which holds the bodies of our ancestors bound to obsidian graves and it lives in the gentle waters of our wombs where we carry our babies. Omi- where life begins….

The opening scenes of the video reveal Beyonce speaking of wearing “all white and no mirrors….being baptized in the river… being cleansed…. on the mat”. Then, the emerging of the orisha Iyalode/Oshun from rushing water along with the presence of Ibeyi (Oshun’s twins). This faith followed us to the US, the Caribbean and South America and no matter how much colonizers tried to beat it out of us. It still stands. It’s proper name is Lucumi not Santeria or Brujeria. It has many variations from the different tribes  who wound up in various places over here like Voodoo (US),  Candomble (Brazil), Lucumi (Cuba), Voudoun (Haiti), Division 21 (Dominican Republic), etc .  These faiths worship orisha, eggun (ancestors),  and nature. It is polytheistic which goes back to my initial warning if you are reading this with a monotheistic mind. It’s how the Haitians defeated the French. It’s how our ancestors survived the worst atrocities known to humanity.

There is a shroud of mystery around this entire video because many of us are adding code to Beyonce’s video when she is telling the world who she is, where was she was and who her mama is all in one shot.  There were black women and children throughout this video. Our faith is matrilineal and matriarchal. In laymen’s terms- BLACK WOMEN RUN SHIT. This is MORE than “Black Girl Magic” although it is magical in the sense that most of these traditions are orally passed down. Nothing is written and ceremonies are done in foreign yet lineal tongues of which we no longer remember yet they still live on. What’s embedded in us can never die. Maferefun La Ocha.

I am an Oni Yemaya (Yemayá’s daughter) so it was particularly moving to see Beyonce, outwardly, worship her mother through imagery and words. I’m sure if she loves her mother nearly as much as I love mine, the making of the video was liberating.

Bey has always been elusive about her private life but when a person is reborn, you’ve nothing to lose or hide. In fact, you grow and share so much that OTHER mfers wish that you would shut up. Sometimes, you just need to get the bullshit off of your spirit. This is no different. Black women have hidden our hurt, our rage and our wrath for the protection of others even at the risk of our own sanity. Sometimes you just need to get it off your damn spirit.

Speaking of sanity, the elevator scene reminded me of my sister and I. I’m a total Solange and my little sister is very much the Beyonce. She would never let a bitch see her sweat when I would just punch her in the face and keep it moving. Don’t let the smooth taste fool you though. We both have proper hands! I digress.

Beyonce has regained her sanity and is kicking metaphorical asses and taking names.  She’s way too much of  a lady to “slap the shit out a trick” in public… but that pen. Oooooh, that pen is mightier than the sword.

This is Bey’s cathartic purge of the mess that she’s been smiling on the outside about for years. Shit that can eat you up inside. It’s the same truth that we live everyday. She has $800 milly tied to hers. Purge, black girl. Purge.

“Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaade in the waaaaaaaaaaaaaaater! Waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaade in the waaaaaaaaaaaater, children!”

We’ve been there. Infidelity and lies can turn a woman’s spirit from peaceful and happy to angry, sad, regretful then forgiving. Jealous or crazy? Neither. “Boy Bye!”

Boy Bye! Lemonade
Boy Bye! Lemonade

She brought her wrath. Oshun’s wrath and we saw her husband at her feet. That’s how it is. When you are awake, you remember who’s in control. Nigga cheated? So what. He will pay. Nigga’s sorry? So what. He will be my footstool. Nigga’s redeemed? So what. We dust ourselves off, reapply lipstick and put our crowns back on and keep it pushing.

Ms. Hattie said, “When life gives us lemons, we make lemonade!”

I knew there was something about THIS Bey that I loved. This isn’t deep. This is a woman who found her voice through rebirth. Becky’s won’t get it. This isn’t about Bill cheating on Hillary. This is recognizing that she is/we are the baddest chicks in the game and niggas are fucking up. Royally. She doesn’t have to/We don’t have to play nice with the Kardashians or the Rachels of the world. And this is serious. Sisters, sometimes, fight each other and that is what it is but just know we ALWAYS fight FOR one another. Believe that. Welcome to the fold, àbúrò obìnrin. I’m here for you.

Out of the ashes, the phoenix rises. Some shit you just have to burn down to rebuild it to be better and stronger.






K. Araújo, a native Detroiter, is a cross between Claire Huxtable, Rosie Pérez and Millie Jackson. Widow, professional dragger of filth and Mami to the dopest Ethiopian EVER, she is the Editor in Chief of “Negra With Tumbao” and a Staff Writer for “The Urban Twist”. Keka has been known to shake what her mama gave her, is the hell and high water, an expert salsera and cussologist with a penchant for the finer things in life and is and forever shall be- unapologetically black.

  • Krystal

    I’m so glad I found your blog! I love it and look forward to your posts. From one Native Detrioter to another…..


  • Tricia Gude

    You have to know to understand that what I seen gave me my power back I felt it in my soul!

    • <3

      Thank you for reading… Sisters always find a way to give one another power.

  • New here…but i think I will stay awhile…I like the energy here! Thanks for welcoming me

  • Why am I in tears. “Some Bullshit, you just need to get off your damn spirirt.”

    Yess…. I feel like you wrote all of what’s in my head for the last few days. I’ve been meditative since lemonade. Didn’t know who Oshun was…but I DID… learned so much that I already knew…if that makes sense. Love you for writing this! “WADDUPDOE!?!?”


    • I’m glad that it moved you… we do need to release. WADDUP DOE?❤❤❤

  • Monique Vaughn

    Thank you, Negra , On Point!

  • Asé

  • Käng

    Voodoo/Vodun practitioners actually serve the Lwa or Loa not the Orichas. Wonderful article though.

    • I didn’t say that they did.. I made a point of reference about African worship ending up in this hemisphere… I appreciate you reading!!

    • Youd be surprised…. What Vodou calls the Nago Nation (where you find the Ogou spirits, as a good example) are the spirits of the group that later/after the Haitian revolution banded together under the name of their language, Yoruba.

      We still have many of the Orisha in a uniquely Haitian way; Ogou Batala, Ogou Yemsen (what happened to Oya Yamsan, mother of nine), Ogou Shango, Ogou Ossange… we still maintain that grouping of spirits that to us are now Lwa, but who at root are faces of the Orisha the Nago people brought to Haiti.

      Marerefun Ochun! (We didnt inherit her; our Erzulies are the ladies of the Aziri river and took the place Ochun would have held in our system, but that girl…. WOW. 😉

  • Madison

    This was so important.

  • Mo

    This was a good read and uplifting, If we don’t stick together and stand then who will?

  • Thank you…every black woman has a Becky….the most unprotected and disrespected is the black woman…rinsing stagnating demons from your spirit. Fresh water and lemons……convoluted religion we turn to the oshun God’s for clarity..spiritual enlightenment….this is so much more than BeyZ. Thank you thank you thank you..

  • Dale negra! Your words are magic.

  • Cat

    Enjoying reading your post. I will be visiting frequently.I connected fully with Beyonces albumn as well as this post. Thank you for being. Medium and connecting us all spiritually.

  • Mary Burrell

    Enlightening learning about African spirituality while I viewed Lemonade twice I kind of figured that’s what all the visuals symbolized. You are a great teacher and writer.

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