Last week, I had a dream about Beyoncé and God. Not that kind of dream. The other kind of dream. You know. The kind of dream that makes one reassess some things.
I was on a plantation in the deep south. The kind of plantation populated with poplar trees, adorned with neat beige columns out front, and a tidy swing on the porch.
It was God’s house. Literally.
The air around the house was misty and yellow. It was musty and damp. It was thick enough to chew. Like peanut butter.
God, dressed in a cream-colored three-piece suit, was sitting on the swing with Beyoncé and my own father. God was waxing poetic about the way of men.
The mood on the swing was tense and somber, but they were laughing from the belly.
And then, I serve lemonade in Crimson glass tumblers, but nobody ever drinks it. I wake up.
I am not convinced the dream has any interpretive value.I am a fan of God, I dig ‘Hova, but Beyoncé not so much.
However, it occurred to me after this dream to become conversant in all things Beyoncé. At least all things currently Beyoncé.
So, tucked away in a corner of my house, I poured over every word, every utterance of Beyoncé’s new work, Lemonade.
I read. I listened. I watched what I could bear to watch. Perhaps like most men, Beyonce’s work was sobering and convicting. It was the sum of all our fears — to have our actions, mis-actions, and omissions be made into art.
Beyoncé’s Lemonade isn’t even a tough love letter to men. It’s more like a lyrical laundry list, a musical manifesto, an artistic indictment for halfway crooks, hustlers and players.
And, of course, for Becky with the good hair.
It is the artistic piece written when a woman is sick and tired of being sick and tired. For that reason, for many men, Lemonade is hard to swallow.
And I’ve seen many thoughtful pieces of commentary on Beyoncé’s Lemonade, most of which focuses on the symbolism of the video, the meaning of her lyrics, or more directly, whether Beyoncé’s work autobiographical or not.
But all that misses the point of her work. As an artist, I understand that most work that is created in the artistic realm is not, in fact, autobiographical. And debating whether her work was pointed at personal problems between her and her husband is really inconsequential.
The real issue is what this means for interpersonal relationships. Beyoncé spends a fair amount of time talking about fathers who have gone astray, lovers who have gone astray, and partners who are not doing all they can to fill the covenants of their relationships.
And the fact is many men have sabotaged a great many of their interpersonal relationships because they have not properly learned how to function within them; they are living out what the scriptures call generational curses.
These curses or characteristics can, according to the scriptures, be passed down unless they are broken. Characteristics like racism. Characteristics like sexism. Characteristics like misogyny.
We have seen generations of men within their family and within their own circles of influence operate dysfunctionally, misogynisticly, and have not learned to behave any differently.
While as men our conduct is our own and we must own our own actions, generational curses for broken covenants by us are real and scriptural.
My dream in the final analysis is that we can learn to break these generational curses and inclinations.
And that way Beyoncé won’t have to make any more lemonade.