“Moving Beyond Pain” Response – Jamirka De León

         In “Moving Beyond Pain” the author praises the way Beyoncé’s music video Lemonade depicts black female bodies but also exposes readers to how the video fails to celebrate the idea that women can move past pain instead of simply enduring it.  The video clearly positively illustrates black female bodies by “ . . . placing them at the center, [and] making them the norm,” but the author explains that it goes beyond that. The author explains that this very illustration of the black female body transgresses societal boundaries and “ . . . its purpose is to seduce, celebrate, and delight – to challenge the ongoing present day devaluation and dehumanization of the black female body.”  They go further into explaining that the video is “ . . . the construction of a powerfully symbolic black female sisterhood that resists invisibility, that refuses to be silent.”


         However, the author then challenges their original statement by saying that “ . . . this radical repositioning of black female images does not truly overshadow or change conventional sexist constructions of black female identity.”  The author explains that the video portrays “black women as always being the victim and as expressing their pain and emotions through anger. She points out two things the video lacks: an illustration that “ . . . men must do the work of inner and outer transformation if emotional violence against black females is to end” and also a representation that “It is only as black women and all women resist patriarchal romanticization of domination in relationships can a healthy self-love emerge that allows every black female, and all females, to refuse to be a victim.” The video Lemonade shows both a positive representation of black women bodies but also shows that women must endure pain instead of being able to move past it.

         I first found this article extremely confusing because of the authors initial statement: “Beyoncé’s visual album, Lemonade, was WOW – this is the business of capitalist money making at its best.”  I didn’t know what the author would be focusing on but it became more clear as I continued reading.  I especially like the part where the author mentions: “ . . . when violence is made to look sexy and eroticized, as in the Lemonade sexy-dress street scene, it does not serve to undercut the prevailing cultural sediment that is acceptable to use violence to reinforce domination, especially, in relations between men and women.”  I feel this is very important to note that although this video portrays a very important message it also enhances society’s ideas that using violence to portray pain (especially when it comes to men) is acceptable therefore reinforcing the violence will inflict change.

Comment ( 1 )

  1. Kayla Cason
    I also though this article was confusing as well because Bell Hooks presents multiple arguments and ideas that are unclear in my opinion. Separately, the ideas are well developed, clear and intriguing to think about. However, when put together, Hooks's overall message gets lost in her unique language and multilayered analysis of Lemonade. I did, however, appreciate each analysis of the themes Bell Hooks extracts from the album. For example, I was particularly interested by her thoughts on Beyonce's portrayal of black women in her videos. Hooks mentions that Beyonce did this in attempt to reverse the incorrect, stereotypical and demeaning representations of black women throughout the media. Overall I found the article interesting and I agree with your response to the text.

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