I’ve had Lemonade on repeat since its release, watched the visual album bout fifty leven times and engaged in some lively dialogue about the implications behind the lyrics and where Beyoncé’s artistry is headed.
So on The Formation World Tour‘s opening night a couple of Wednesdays ago, I started to feel a little regret about my budget-based decision not to pay $280 for tickets to see queenie this year. I momentarily believed I was the anti-YOLO. But after watching fan videos of the show the following day, my decision to keep my coin, my voice and my wig this go-round was well with my soul.
Hear me out Hive; it’s probably not what you think.
I’m a real Beyoncé fan through and through. Destiny’s Child’s “Get On the Bus” has a prime spot on my high school soundtrack.
Every now and then I watch the bonus video on I Am Yours: An Intimate Performance at The Wynn Las Vegas so I can neck roll with Bey as she explains to Frank Gaston where she will and won’t stand on stage to connect with her audience; end of conversation.
According to the interwebs, I guess I’m one of a select population who genuinely enjoyed Life Is But a Dream.
And since I declare this woman to be my spirit animal, I still have a secret plan to be the subject of a bayou photo shoot wearing that red maxi dress she did in the video for “Deja Vu”. It’s deep.
But my affinity for Beyoncé isn’t always a conflict-free match with my creative preference. In this case, Lemonade wins over Formation.
The visual and audio’s rawness, darkness, Warsan Shire poetry, ethereal brown beauty, 19th century Deep South feels with a Flannery O’Connor filter, wickedness, wokedness, meaningful and just right collaborations (Diplo, Jack White, James Blake?!)…it all gives me so much life. The kind of life my 30-year-old, obsessed with personal evolution, looking intently for my purpose, socially and politically agitated and exhilarated, in love and the occasional duel (but mostly love) with my boyfriend self craves.
The Formation show looks like a lot of fun and showcases not only songs from Lemonade, but also the hits from throughout Beyoncé’s career.
Watching her give that “Partition” chair the business while “Rocket” plays in the background or do a line dance to “Daddy Lessons” in a velvet Tejano bodysuit and thigh-high boots with perfect hair (and that damn fan blowing) is beyond entertaining; it’s impressive as hell. The kind of that leaves you in awe and makes you ask yourself what you’re even doing with your life.
The show’s presentation just doesn’t feel like a match for what the album or even the tour’s title track represents for me.
Beyoncé is undoubtedly a grown woman, and she knows her goals, vision and most importantly her desire to do what she wants with her artistry better than I ever will. But art is to be appreciated and interpreted by the beholder. And I behold Lemonade as pimp strolls, messy braids, African prints, flowy attire and down-assedness.
It has a fresh, natural feel that drew me in and made me fall in love with it the Saturday before last.
From what I can see, this unfiltered spirit is present somewhere in the Formation show, but it’s definitely not predominant.
Sasha in her bedazzled uniform is showcased on Formation’s arena setting, and she’s frankly harder for me to hear right now. Especially because Lemonade Bey was so bold and spoke to me where I am.
The last thing I want to do is objectify or impose my expectations on another person, let alone one of my favorite people.
Beyoncé is doing her thing, as per usual, and I love it. I appreciate her because she empowers me to do what I want to, and she should be able to do the same.
As for me, I can’t wait for her to do another more intimate show, in which case I will fight like hell to be there.
Meanwhile, I’ll be wearing “Boycott Beyoncé” tour paraphernalia in the streets and rooting for my spirit animal as she schools life in her lane while she, through Lemonade, helps me do the same in mine.