Saturday, October 23, 2021

UT Chattanooga Celebrates Black Womanhood for Beyonce-Inspired ‘Lemonade Week’

beyonce-lemonade-film

*Beyoncé’s “Lemonade” album has inspired a week’s worth of study in black womanhood at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.

English professor James Arnett has dubbed the week of April 3 “Lemonade Week” at the college. Today through Thursday, the university will host daily events to discuss the topics explored on the visual album, such as the “lives, loves and pain of black women.” The event will also use Candice Benbow’s “Lemonade: The Syllabus” to guide discussions.

Arnett said he was inspired to launch “Lemonade Week” after he and a colleague hosted a lunch discussion on the visuals and lyrics in “Formation.” The room was packed during the lunch and Arnett decided explore it further.

Even a year after its release, Arnett believes “Lemonade” is still relevant.

“Thinking back on 2016, it was the text that felt, and still feels, like a rebuttal to the politics that were evolving,” he tells The Huffington Post. “The Super Bowl performance was a lightning rod and Rorschach test for the political horizon. Besides, it’s just a great piece of art ― beautiful music and evolution from Beyoncé as an artist, showing new range and affect, and showing her off in her best collaborative moments.”

“Lemonade Week” events will feature professors analyzing the different areas of feminism and womanism, performances by a drag queen, English and theater students showing off their work, a reader’s salon to celebrate black women writers and a “Formation” choreography lesson.

All events are free, except Thursday’s dance class, and open to the public.

“The week takes its time to celebrate Beyoncé and other groundbreaking black women,” Arnett said. “All in all, I think we were responding to the zeitgeist and trying to meet our students with thoughtful, intellectual content where they already enjoy themselves.”

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