26 April 2016
We – I love it all. The visuals, aesthetics, music, art – all of it! The visual album featured emotive and profound words. In every line spoken, we are taken through a provocative, often stinging, yet gentle trail in the poems. They carried a sort of heaviness that seemed to describe the emotions the visual album wanted to portray. It is not the first time Beyoncé has collaborated with a literary head, she sampled Chimamanda Adichie’s TED Talk “We Should All Be Feminists” in her song Flawless.
Warsan Shire wrote the poetry for Beyonce’s Lemonade. More than just the beauty, the poetry of Warsan Shire centers around motherhood, beauty, sex, infidelity which was the key theme of Lemonade.
Warsan is a Somali-British poet, she has been named London’s first-ever Young Poet Laureate in 2014, having published her first book “Teaching My Mother How to Give Birth”, in 2011. Her work has been translated into several languages, including Italian, Spanish and Portuguese. She being the child of Somali parents who relocated to London as a young girl, she often writes about the immigrant experience, especially on the life after immigration.
For Lemonade, Beyoncé and Shire adapted lines from several of Shire’s poem from “The Unbearable Weight of Staying”, “Dear Moon”, “How to Wear Your Mother’s Lipstick” and “Nail Technician as Palm Reader”. They can all be heard on a digital album Shire recorded in 2012.
Here are some excerpts from the short-film- Lemonade:
I’ve tried to make a home outta you
But doors lead to trapdoors, a stairway leads to nothing
Unknown women wander the hallways at night
Where do you go when you go quiet?
You remind me of my father, a magician.
Able to exist in two places at once.
In tradition of mean in my blood, you come home at 3AM and lie to me.
What are you hiding? The past, and
The future merge to meet us here
What luck. What a fucking curse
Culled from the Lemonade Script on genius.com