WE'VE BEEN IN FORMATION: BEYONCÉ'S POLITICAL VOICE THROUGH BLACK MUSICAL RESISTANCE
You may have known her as a member of Destiny’s Child. You make have known her as the singer behind “Halo” and “Single Ladies.” You may know her as the wife of rapper Jay-Z. However, this senior thesis illuminates Beyoncé Knowles Carter (Beyoncé) as more than just a pop culture sensation. We’ve Been in Formation aims to help readers get to know Beyoncé as an artist with a powerful political voice, especially since the release of her 2016 visual album, Lemonade. In this thesis Billie Holiday and Nina Simone provide a foundational framework on which Black musical resistance is exemplified. This thesis does not aim to compare Beyoncé to these women, but instead uses their musical works and lives as a blueprint for analyzing Beyoncé’s performances and confirming the fact that her music carries a political message linked to Black musical resistance. Lemonade and the productions resulting from the album serve as the lens through which Beyoncé’s political voice is analyzed, especially with references to Black culture, the Black Lives Matter movement, Hurricane Katrina, and Black feminism. This thesis also explores reactions and responses to such musical productions. The responses, both negative and positive, mentioned in this thesis come from politicians, law enforcement, scholars, celebrities, Twitter users and more. We’ve Been In Formation declares that Beyoncé has joined the formation of women before her, who have used Black musical resistance to display a political voice. For that, we are all the more empowered, encouraged, and enlightened when we take a sip of the Lemonade.
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