a Black American woman's perspective on violence: the hooks-lemonade defense


Contrary to how many people have interpreted Lemonade, Bell Hooks contends that the film promotes the glamourization of the widespread violence against women in American society. More specifically, Hook contends that the Lemonade video does not criticize the use of different body types and complexions to denigrate the bodies of black women. A significant problem is the stereotypical depiction of women in negative media because it tends to lower black women's sense of self-worth and self-actualization, which encourages sexism in men and violence. Therefore, hook argues that the video and intent of the lemonade that rage can help the black women to overcome and solve their self-esteem issues do not work or offer a solution for the long term. The critiques argue that Hook should support Beyonce's advancement of the idea of the black women feminist agenda for appreciation of what they have to go through in violence, and offer a solution to enhance the message rather than pick parts. Therefore, the approach of black American women to rage against violent related activities perpetrated by men does not solve the self-esteem issues because it does not include the male counterparts and other societal factors that contribute to the problem.

Argument Against Glamorizing Violence in Lemonade

One of the arguments by Hooks reaction to lemonade is that glamorizing rage and violence in Black women does not find a solution (Adelman). In quoting the way Beyoncé reacts as the violent woman and through ending up in comforting and resolution, in the end, Hook argues that the joyful nature in smashing the cars does not provide the solution for protecting the women from the violent activities. However, Blair Kelley asserts that Bell Hooks seems to have misread the message of Beyoncé because the artist uses her mother and grandmother to indicate that they are also victims of the anti-black stereotypes and ideologies (Adelman). Joy-Anne Reid does not hold negative views about the presentation of Lemonade because black females cannot feel offended by Lemonade, based on her 21-year old daughter's immediate reactions after seeing the video for the first time (Adelman). However, Anne-Reid acknowledges that the video targets black women but states that Beyoncé makes the black women a priority in the fight because they are the primary victims of popular culture adoration and admiration. Bowen also in critiquing Hook indicates that the approach by Beyoncé in Lemonade is to highlight the rage and feelings the black women go through in the face of violence (Adelman). Besides, despite Hook being a feminist for long, the individual has not offered any solutions to the problem as well hence should bring the issue to the roundtable.

Need to Involve Men in the Fight Against Violence

The second aspect is that there is need to involve men on the other end to enhance willingness on their side to stop violence against women. One of the major issues in lemonade is how people should appreciate the black women of all kinds. Therefore, the aspects of using the woman of one color are not to discriminate but address an issue directed at a particular group (Adelman). The stereotypes in America for the American black women according to hook is that they are violent and are objects of sexuality. An example of this approach is also in the video of formation which uses black women characters (BeyonceVEVO).

Critiques of Bell Hooks' Arguments

However, the aspects brought by the critique of Kelley and Bowen indicate that that Hook could have overlooked important aspects such as the aim of the message is for the men to appreciate the situation women go through as a result of violence (Adelman). Therefore, it is not easy to ascertain that Beyoncé is shifting the gaze of the mainstream community by challenging them to revise the way they view the black female body because the video repositioning fails to contest the overshadowing of the way the conventional sexist constructions of the female gender body and their identity in general. While Blair Kelley suggests that Lemonade presents a message of the black women's struggle for humanity, Joy-Anne, on the other hand, asserts that Lemonade is a form of feminism (Adelman). To Kelly, Lemonade suggests that black women deserve adoration and admiration that white women take for granted. Nonetheless, the critics emphasize on implied rather than the literal meaning of the video.

Advocating and Romanticizing Violence

The critics of Belly Hooks, Kelley and Joy-Anne equally agree that Beyoncé advocates and romanticizes violence as the means through which black women can empower themselves. .In her opinion, Bell Hooks argues that the lead character, Beyoncé acts as an embodiment of female power which is utter fantasy as well (Adelman). Hook suggests that her neutral message is undercut by female violence or anger, which incorporates betrayal and lies. However, they fail to address the issues raised by Hook that there is need to address how men react to the situation as causative agents to the violence. Though they indicate that the interpretation of using black women can be from a different perspective, they still do not address that violence does not only involve women but other social practices such as stereotypes, the role women play in the violence, the attitudes to the issue among other factors. Therefore, though hook as not been able to find a solution despite a feminist for long, it is evident that the lack of addressing other agents can also contribute to the problem has been a major hindrance.


In conclusion, Beyonce's Lemonade reinforces rather than minimizes stereotypes against black women as suggested by Bell Hooks. The subject itself and one can understand the use of black female characters in different ways. The central aspect is the plight of black American women from walks of life to stand against violence through showing their emotions in the process, and he needs for standing together as one to overcome the challenge. Critical arguments such as those of Blair Kelly Bowen and Joy-Anne are hard to justify it because the approach does not find a solution.

Works Cited

Adelman, Lori. "A Black Feminist Roundtable On Bell Hooks, Beyoncé, And “Moving Beyond Pain”". Feministing. N.p., 2016. Web. 29 June 2017. Retrieved from http://feministing.com/2016/05/11/a-feminist-roundtable-on-bell-hooks-beyonce-and-moving-beyond-pain/

BeyonceVEVO. "Beyoncé - Formation". YouTube. N.p., 2016. Web. 29 June 2017.

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