Beyoncé has given the people an anthem of cultural pride just when the world needs it most.
Following the unlawful death of George Floyd, the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement has been sparked across the world. With all 50 states and 18 additional countries protesting for racial equality, Beyoncé has been a leading supporter of the movement. She has used her social media presence as a means of activism, encouraging people to sign petitions to get justice for others who have died at the hands of police brutality. In an open video message, she pleaded with her followers to be a part of this movement, and to help the families of the victims.
When Beyoncé surprised fans with a new song in the final hours of the 19th of June, she was bookmarking Juneteenth into history.
Juneteenth is the celebration of slaves being emancipated on the same date, in 1865. The song- named “Black Parade”- is a call to action for African Americans, as she lyrically encourages them to be proud of their roots, of where they come from. This is especially potent when she sings “I can’t forget that my history is her-story”. The song is rich in cultural references, coming from all over the continent of Africa. From the “Ankh” symbol that comes from Egypt to the West African goddess of love and femininity, “Oshun”. This broadens the horizons of who can relate to the lyrics, and who can emotionally connect with the song.
Check out Beyoncé’s New single above
When you listen to it, it’s almost overwhelmingly full of pride and emotion. It feels like a community breaking through and refusing to keep quiet about their culture anymore, and it’s absolutely beautiful. The essence of it reminds me of writers such as Toni Morrison and Grace Nichols, who both wrote about being proud of their roots, and embracing their history. When posting about the single on Instagram, Beyoncé wrote “Please continue to remember our beauty, strength, and power.” Black Parade” celebrates you, your voice, and your joy”.
Alongside the song came the BeyGOOD Black Business Impact Fund. This new campaign is made to support and promote black-owned businesses and elevate them during these hard times. The fund will be administered by the National Urban League. Alongside this announcement on her website came a directory of black businesses, ranging from Art and Design to Restaurants and Bars.
While the BLM movement continues to take over the world in a wave of justice, it’s important to help independent owners.
The song is so rich that I could spend hours analysing every word or image included in it. It is the perfect song to release and is exactly what people needed right now. Empowerment, freedom, and pride.
Words by Abigail Forrest
Graphics by Katie Janes
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