I don’t really have anything to add or subtract from the ongoing Lemonade discourses. I do salute the ambition of a Black pop singer who clearly has an eye for innovative video and cinematic art. But I must say it is fascinating to see the kind of exegesis done on something not 3 weeks old. Whole dissertations have been launched given the lengths that some folk have gone through parsing every color, angle and possibly ripped off image. le sigh. After reading bell hooks comments & some of the pushback, I wrote on Facebook:
I think it is perfectly fine to not agree with major public intellectuals. I think that some folk don’t even know or care about “intersectionality”; “empowerment” or a host of other such words. I do know some women who would never call themselves feminists or womanists for that matter, but they work in this world like every obstacle in their way esp. ones put up by men must be knocked down and so they do. Is the patriarchy going to be destroyed? Is the matriarchy going to be destroyed? I keep reading posts about how this that and the other will, must go and have been for like 40 years and yet this that and the other are still here. Not saying don’t try to make change, just saying we may be at the beginning of that shift, but it will be generations hence that will reap the benefits (what ever those may be).
Today on the Brian Lehrer program after a discussion of the phrase “political correctness” and how its use has morphed over the past 4 decades, Sherman Alexie came on to discuss his most recent efforts focused on naming. Names are important and often what trips me up by fellow Black intellectuals is the lack of names–“the black body”; “the black male body” “the aestheticized black body” are just some of those phrases. Michael Brown, Trayvon Martin, Sandra Bland all have names. They are dead from police or police wannabe generated violence. It is hard to think of them as “bodies.” But then, my take is an outlier to many intellectual gestures, well-considered and well-crafted and I value being the contrarian. Names and naming are important. And when names are detached from the humans with them, there is loss. It is hard to call names of the dead. It is hard to know that young people, good people, smart people, dumb people with parents and cousins and lovers and enemies and dear friends are dead from violence–the police, strangers, close friends, lovers any of them can shoot, stab, choke, poison. The world is a dangerous place.
And yet as Beyonce’s Lemonade shows, even a pop star can develop a vision of moving through this world going from rage to reconciliation (at least there was no rehab here). At some point, each of us learns how to move through life understanding suffering and pain is part of it, but also love, forgiveness and joy. And those emotions and conditions are attached to people with names. Mine is Patricia. What is yours?