Beyonce Quenches Your Thirst With 'Lemonade'

Beyonce released surprise 'Lemonade' CD on April 23, 2016

After shocking the music world with her surprise self-titled CD in 2013, Beyonce did it again on April 23, 2016 with the release of her sixth studio album Lemonade, without advance notice. She dropped the CD simultaneously with the premiere of her hour-long Lemonade film on HBO. Beyonce was involved in composing all 12 songs, and she is joined by four guest stars: The Weeknd, Kendrick Lamar, James Blake, and Jack White. Beyonce is promoting the CD on her beginning April 27, 2016 in Miami, Florida.

The album title was inspired by Beyoncé's grandmother Agnéz Deréon, and husband Jay-Z's grandmother, Hattie White. At the end of the song "Freedom" from the album, White says during her 90th birthday party in 2015, "I had my ups and downs, but I always found the inner strength to pull myself up. I was served lemons, but I made lemonade."

Lemonade Track Listing:

"Pray You Catch Me"
"Hold Up"
"Don't Hurt Yourself" (featuring Jack White)
"6 Inch" (featuring The Weeknd)
"Daddy Lessons"
"Love Drought"
"Forward" (featuring James Blake)
"Freedom" (featuring Kendrick Lamar)
"All Night"

of 07

Beyonce Serves 'Lemonade' on HBO

Beyonce. Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for Global Citizen

On April 23, 2016, HBO premiered Beyonce's one-hour Lemonade TV special promoting her new visual album. The film blends a wide variety of images, from Beyonce jumping off a building, smashing windows and walking through a burning building, to a happy Queen Bey during her wedding to Jay-Z, and a tender moment with daughter Blue Ivy. We also catch a glimpse of father and daughter playing with a football in an empty New Orleans Superdome before Beyonce rocked the 2013 Superbowl for 71,000 live fans, and 104 million watching on television.

Watch the trailer for Beyonce's HBO Lemonade special here.

of 07

'Lemonade: A Tribute to The Power of Black Women'

Beyonce. Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for Anheuser-Busch

The Lemonade film is a tribute to the power of black women featuring cameos by Beyonce's mother Tina Knowles, Serena Williams, actresses Zendaya, Amandla Stenberg, and Quvenzhane Wallis; musical duos Chloe x Halle and Ibeyi, model Winnie Harlow, ballerina Michaela DePrince, and the Queen of New Orleans cuisine Leah Chase. We also see three mothers whose sons inspired the Black Lives Matters movement due to their violent deaths: Sybrina Fulton (Trayvon Martin) Gwen Carr (Eric Garner), and Lezley McSpadden (Michael Brown).

The storyline includes the themes: "Denial,” “Anger,” “Apathy,” “Accountability,” “Reformation,” “Hope,” “Forgiveness,” “Resurrection,” and “Redemption.”

The film closes with a positive thought with images of a variety of happy couples. Beyonce sings, "We’re gonna heal, we’re going to start again. Pull me back together again the way you cut me in half. Pull the sorrow from between my legs like silk. Knot after knot after knot.”

Watch highlights from Beyonce's Lemonade visual album  here

of 07

"Formation" single

Beyonce performs during the Super Bowl 50 Halftime Show at Levi's Stadium on February 7, 2016 in Santa Clara, California. Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

Beyonce released her "Formation" single on February 6, 2016, one day before her performance at Super Bowl 50. It is a song about black female empowerment and became integral to the ongoing controversy about race and the criminal justice system in America.

Lyrics from "Formation":

"My daddy Alabama, Momma Louisiana
You mix that negro with that Creole make a Texas bama
I like my baby heir with baby hair and afros
I like my negro nose with Jackson Five nostrils
Earned all this money but they never take the country out me
I got a hot sauce in my bag, swag

You just might be a black Bill Gates in the making, cause I slay
I just might be a black Bill Gates in the making"

Watch Beyonce's "Formation" video here.

of 07

'Formation World Tour'

Beyonce performs during the Super Bowl 50 Halftime Show at Levi's Stadium on February 7, 2016 in Santa Clara, California. Kevin Mazur/WireImage

While releasing her "Formation" single, Beyonce also announced her Formation World Tour which runs from April 27, 2016 in Miami, Florida through July 31, 2016 in Brussels, Belgium. Formation is Beyonce's seventh concert tour, and like her 2014 On The Run Tour with Jay-Z, she is performing exclusively in stadiums.

The Formation World Tour consists of 24 shows in North America through June 14, 2016 in Detroit, Michigan. The European leg (16 concerts) kicks off June 28 in Sunderland, United Kingdom. In conjunction with the tour, Beyoncé's #BeyGOOD initiative is supporting local United Way programs and working to alleviate the water crisis in Flint, Michigan. 

Watch the promo for Beyonce's Formation World Tour here

of 07

Controversial Super Bowl "Formation" Performance

Beyonce performs during the Super Bowl 50 Halftime Show at Levi's Stadium on February 7, 2016 in Santa Clara, California. Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic

Beyonce performed her single "Formation" for the first time on February 7, 2016 during halftime of Super Bowl 50 at Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara, California. Clad in black leather with bullets around her neck and covering her sleeves, she received severe criticism from law enforcement officials who charged she was glorifying the Black Panthers and violence against police. A "Boycott Beyonce" protest was announced for the NFL office in New York City. However, the protest failed to materialize, and inspired an overwhelming "I Stand With  Beyonce" counter-protest response.

Watch Beyonce's "Formation" performance at Super Bowl 50 on February 7, 2016 at Levi's Stadium n Santa Clara, California here

of 07

Beyonce Defends Herself Against "Formation" Criticism

Beyonce. Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for Anheuser-Busch

In response to the criticism that "Formation" promotes violence against  police, Beyonce told Elle magazine in the May 2016 cover story:

"I'm an artist and I think the most powerful art is usually misunderstood. But anyone who perceives my message as anti-police is completely mistaken." She continued, "I have so much admiration and respect for officers and the families of officers who sacrifice themselves to keep us safe. But let's be clear: I am against police brutality and injustice. Those are two separate things. If celebrating my roots and culture during Black History Month made anyone uncomfortable, those feelings were there long before a video and long before me. I'm proud of what we created and I'm proud to be a part of a conversation that is pushing things forward in a positive way."

Watch Elle's video "25 Times Beyonce Looked Flawless," here

of 07

Beyonce Praises Jay-Z in Interview With Oprah Winfrey

Beyonce and Oprah Winfrey. KMazur/WireImage for People Magazine

Infidelity is a theme in Lemonade, and some lyrics have been interpreted as accusing Jay-Z of being unfaithful. Beyonce rarely comments about her marriage, however in a 2013 interview with Oprah Winfrey, she praised her husband, saying, "I would not be the woman I am if I did not go home to that man."

Beyonce told Oprah that both she and Jay-Z are better because they have each other. She added, "We have done it for each other, and it's the most important thing in our relationship." She also discussed not publicizing their love affair before their wedding has allowed them to maintain privacy not afforded to other celebrity couples. "I think now people have a respect for our relationship," she said, "and it is one of the reasons why. They know that we want to have our lives. When it's time to go on a date, or be who we are, people are respectful of that."

Watch an excerpt of Beyonce's interview with Oprah Winfrey here.