Lemonade by Beyoncé is unapologetically black. It is a celebration of all things black. Black art, black history, black love, black beauty, black pain and black triumph. But most importantly, it is an ode to Black Women. A sort of appreciation of black women that often is lacking and simply non-existent in this day and age. The visual album, also titled Lemonade, pays homage to our black roots in the motherland, Africa and the southern roots that we are indirectly tied to. (I'm using terms such as our and we because I am black, a majority of my readers are black, and if you haven't realized it by now melanin (The Mod Little Melanin) is a term often used synonymously to mean black skin.)
Unlike the album, the visual album portrays a series of emotions, ranging from "Intuition" to "Redemption" and features quotes from several black activists, spoken word from several black poets and the mothers of Trayvon Martin, Eric Garner and Michael Brown. To fully experience the celebration of blackness, I suggest you watch the visual album in its entirety.
One of my favorite songs from "Lemonade" is "Sorry," a song that references infidelity that Beyoncé has either directly or indirectly experienced in her life. It also features the now infamous, thanks to Rachel Roy, "Becky with the good hair" line. The visual album titles "Sorry" as "Apathy" and has strong afrocentric themes and imagery throughout the video.
My goal for today's blog post was to find West African inspired pieces that reflected the mood of the video. Now with that being said, cultural appropriation has become a problem in the western fashion world, meaning that popular designers now have a tendency to exploit traditional clothing of other cultures for their monetary gain. Without dragging the conversation on and on, if you have no direct connection to a culture I do not believe you should be wearing the pieces of their culture for fashion. To put it straight, please do not wear any of the clothing I am going to highlight in this post if you are not of African descent. I've read several articles in which Africans stated that Black Americans approriate African culture, which is a bizarre statement to me because, a) we're here in America and not Africa because our ancestors were kidnapped against their will, b) most of us have no way of discovering which country or tribe our ancestors came from and c) Black Americans are direct descendants of Africans. But that is a debate for another time and place.
Dashikis are a traditional article of clothing in Western Africa. They are loose fitting tunic like tops, or dresses and are often brightly colored. Living in America, it can be difficult and nearly impossible to find authentic dashikis. However, many black owned Instagram boutiques sell replicas for affordable prices, @Dashikipride is one of the more prominent boutiques on Instagram.
Another alternative can be found at Hm.com, by mixing a variety of prints and patterns together to form one uniform look. The key to mixing various prints together is to stay in the same color family. For example if your bottoms are mostly red, find a top that also has mostly red in a different pattern. The top and bottom I found are both from H&M. My goal was to achieve the look that Beyoncé creates in her music video. For this reason, I added a mesh top underneath that is also from H&M.
I wanted the accessories for this look to be not overpower the look, but instead to compliment the look. For this reason, I choose a necklace that has sea shells and feathers to keep the look soft. In "Apathy," Beyoncé wears a necklace made of metal, but also is wearing all black or at least darker colors as this scene is in black and white or possibly grayscale. With lighter colors in the pieces I choose, I felt it was important to also choose lighter accessories. The shoes are from Charlotte Russe and look to be an easy DIY if you aren't down to pay that much money for a sandal. I felt the pom pom design complimented the colors in the outfit.
Are you in Formation yet?
- Chelsea Nicole, The Mod Little Melanin 💋
The Mod Little Melanin
The Mod Little Melanin
A Fashion Blog by Chelsea Nicole.