StoryWeb: Storytime for Grownups
About This Show
StoryWeb: Storytime for Grownups features stories you’ll love to hear – fiction, memoir, poetry, film, song, oral storytelling, and more. Listen as master storyteller Linda Tate talks about literature and other stories each week – and be sure to catch those special weeks when Linda reads the stories to you. Visit TheStoryWeb.com to learn more, share your thoughts about this week’s story, and subscribe to a free weekly email highlighting the featured story.
Most Recent Episode
127: Beyonce: "Lemonade"
4 days ago
This week on StoryWeb: Beyoncé’s album Lemonade. Beyoncé slays. That’s the only word to describe her achievement on her most recent album, Lemonade. Now I am not a big fan of hip hop or pop music or what the Grammys call urban contemporary music, but ever since Beyoncé’s performance of “Formation” at last year’s Super Bowl, I have been mightily intrigued by this powerhouse of a performer. For Beyoncé’s songwriting and performance go well beyond hip-hop or pop music or urban contemporary or R&B. Indeed, it seems that any genre is just too narrow to contain Beyoncé. “I am large,” said Walt Whitman. “I contain multitudes.” The same might very well be said of Beyoncé. She slays precisely because she contains vast multitudes. “Formation” – especially the video Beyoncé released the day before the Super Bowl – made me sit up and take notice. Indeed, it made an entire nation sit up and take notice. Like many Americans, I pored over the video, read the lyrics online, read analyses of the song and the video, talked with others about what they were hearing and seeing. So many layers of African American history – from Creole culture to New Orleans and Hurricane Katrina, from the Black Power movement to Ferguson and #blacklivesmatter. I continue to watch the video and listen to the song – and I continue to hear and see new cultural references every time I witness this powerful piece. Two months later, Beyoncé released Lemonade, both as a “conventional” album (which in its release exclusively via the Tidal streaming service can hardly be called “conventional”) – and quite unconventionally, as a “visual album.” Back in the 1970s, we would have called this a “concept album” – but the term “visual album” refers to the fact that the entire album is also presented as a 65-minute film, which premiered on HBO in April 2016 the same day the album was released. It’s safe to say that Beyoncé and her husband, rapper Jay Z (who owns Tidal), likely earned considerable money from this album and film. As she says in “Formation,” “I might just be a black Bill Gates in th