The Elevator: Was This The Moment That Put The Lemon In Beyoncé's 'Lemonade'?
Unless you’ve been living under a rock or invented an app specifically to block Beyoncé Knowles-Carter, by now, you’ve probably heard or seen her latest visual endeavor, Lemonade. The musical effort’s intricate storytelling weaves infidelity, the stages of how one deals with deceit and the rocky road to forgiveness throughout the 12 track opus. Sparking rumors of cheating by Beyoncé’s beloved, Jay Z, #BlackTwitter erupted in debate over who “Becky with the good hair” could possibly be. Is it Rita Ora or is it one of the Rachels?
Whatever you feel about the project, Lemonade is an expertly-crafted piece of work from Bey and Jay. The film and auditory pairing was genius, plus seeing them visually express the pain of a wife betrayed by her husband for the sake of profit was revealing. We know the power couple has great business acumen, but how much of a story can be made up when it feels all too real while listening? Beyoncé has grown into one helluva woman, a wife and mother, so maybe this was her musical expression of all the things she has not said in prior albums?
In case it escaped anybody’s attention, the performances and Becky-skin dresses from this year’s Met Gala served to remind us that tomorrow we will be exactly two years removed from the infamous post-Met Gala elevator fight between Bey’s baby sister, Solange and her husband, Jay Z. Which practically begs the question: is this right here the moment that sparked the making of Lemonade? Is this THE LEMON?
Let’s state up front: relationships are notoriously difficult to judge from the outside–let alone those as public as the Jayoncé joint venture–so we may never know the answer. News that Jay may have an answer record to Lemonade heighten the speculation that this is more script than scoop. Hell, Bey’s estranged dad Michael Knowles even suggested that the elevator fight itself was a “Jedi Mind Trick” designed to drum up ticket sales (if so, the younger Ms. Knowles is on a level with Alec Guinness for both Jedi mastery and Oscar-worthy performances!). But it’s fair to ask whether, if we had not had this glimpse into the elevator two years ago, Lemonade would feel as real. Bey has had crafted songs with “everything you own in a box to the left” narratives since almost before Jayoncé was even a thing, but did we care as much, before The Elevator?
Let us take a short trip back in time…
what if Beyoncé was talking about some other situation and Rachel just jumped out and told on her and Hov?
— Vann R. Newkirk II (@fivefifths) April 25, 2016
The aftermath following the 2014 elevator brawl seen by millions around the world, caused many to speculate what Jay Z could have possibly done to cause Solange to attack him in such a way. With Beyoncé standing off to the side, allowing him to be hit, sources have said that Jay Z’s alleged flirting with Rachel Roy on the evening of the ball led to the blow-up. Neither party has denied the events, though Roy went on record via Twitter to state that she “respects love and marriages.” And while we all may stand there, thinking of conspiracies and scenarios — the reality is that the elevator brawl of 2014 does seem like a great impetus in which to craft a new body of work.
To be crystal clear, infidelity is not the only theme presented on the album. Love of her deep Southern roots, love of sisterhood, personal frustrations and reflections, symbolic healing and slaying while unapologetically black are what makes this musical gumbo so damn delicious. Tight-lipped and hidden from view, Lemonade was a mystery up until the April 23rd release via HBO special and TIDAL premiere. Nearly 100 collaborators were credited with stirring the pitcher, some of whom had no inkling of what the project was while even on set. It was a bit difficult to find exact dates of when recording and filming occurred, but accounts point to production beginning in the year of our Bey-Lord, 2015…