Rosalind Jordan | Contributing Writer
In Beyoncé’s video Lemonade, she illustrates the African American roots in order to give empowerment, clarity, and understanding to the present-day society. Lemonade acknowledges the history of African American ancestors that identifies with our presence in this video. Lemonade represents African American lives as a vivid symphony and a poetic piece of roots to behold in this lemon filled society. The lyrics in Beyoncé’s song “Freedom” support the idea that Black America is Still in Chains a Modern-day Stigma. IBe, author of “Trouble in Mind” is the source of support in this argument. IBe’s personal experiences as a, native African, Black male in America, solicits the connection with Beyoncé’s song “Freedom.”
Beyoncé’s song “Freedom” pours out the essence of what African Americans have and are going through in this land called America. Our past recognizes that Europeans and other white skinned human beings liberally left their countries to stake a claim for a new, free life in America. While Africans and dark skinned human beings were hunted, and captured, sometimes by other native Africans, for trade. They were stacked into boats, brought to America in chains and sold, as they do animals. In bondage and chains with identity stripped away, our ancestors longed for freedom. Slave owners and sellers stripped families apart leaving African women separated from their children and children’s fathers, destroying the family identity as well as their identity. The African women were long-suffering, hard-working, child bearing, brave like Harriet Tubman with strength–to break her own chains; smart–to not let their freedom rot in hell, running to be a winner, and took upon the identity as an African American in a country she was not conceived. The song’s lyrics state:
Freedom! Freedom! I can’t move
Freedom, cut me loose!
Freedom! Freedom! Where are you?
Cause I need freedom too!
I break chains all by myself
Won’t let my freedom rot in hell
Hey! I’ma keep running
Cause a winner don’t quit on themselves.
Now, African American women are still being stripped from their children and children’s fathers per America’s justice system. The American justice system holds a general biased approach to African Americans’ civil rights. Unless you are fortunate enough to have legal representation with superior legal knowledge working on their behalf, you are guilty. According to Nicole Pulglise, “Black Americans were incarcerated in state prisons at an average rate of 5.1 times that of white Americans, the report said, and in some states that rate was 10 times or more.” There are over one and a half million men incarcerated in the United States. This statement is to bring awareness to the unjustified police murders and incarceration of African Americans in this country. Beyoncé’s song, Freedom say:
Ten Hail Marys, I meditate for practice
Channel 9 news tell me I’m movin’ backwards
Eight blocks left, death is around the corner
Seven misleadin’ statements ’bout my persona
Six headlights wavin’ in my direction
Five-O askin’ me what’s in my possession
Yeah, I keep runnin’, jump in the aqueducts
Fire hydrants and hazardous
Smoke alarms on the back of us
But mama, don’t cry for me, ride for me
Try for me, live for me
Breathe for me, sing for me
Men that should be raising their children and making a home worth having are locked up in chains or dead. According to IBe, “I have been to jail, Stearns County, Benton County, Sherburne County, Hennepin County… before I was twenty-five. But check my so-called rap sheet—no guns, no drugs, no theft, no punches”. Janice Williams says, “Black people only represent 13.3 percent of the U.S. population while white people make up about 77 percent”. This indicates to us that the single-family homes, fatherless children, and poverty in the Black communities may be somewhat due to the high percentage of imprisonment of the Black male, would be, role models and breadwinners missing from their family’s lives.
As an African Americans citizen in this country, I have experienced times in my life seeking justice, when the justice system has unfolded a realm of questionable actions. Lies and deceit brought before the court of law with legal representation working with the prosecuting attorney instead of me, the defendant, leaving my case with no chance of real justice. In general, my personal experiences with the police have been negative and unhelpful. As an African American I have realized that, if possible, avoid situations that could involve having an encounter with our officers of law and the justice system.
Lemons have been served to our ancestors just as they have been served to African American women today; but our ancestors have provided today’s African American women with the recipe for lemonade. Beyoncé’s, Lemonade was created to empower women, especially African American women, and to leave a message that “a winner doesn’t quit on themselves, you can break your own chains and take your freedom” as a tool for encouragement in this society. Black America still in chains is a modern-day stigma imputed on this society of people running and calling for freedom in America for 400 years.