It was difficult, if not downright impossible, to be prepared for Beyoncé's highly anticipated Lemonade, her secret project that aired on HBO Saturday night. Thanks to a vague trailer and rumor-fueled speculation, no one was entirely sure what was in store for. Honestly, that's probably for the best, as I'm convinced all the preparation in the world wouldn't have been adequate. This one song from Lemonade, "Freedom," proved that when it comes to Beyoncé and her creative vision, we're not ready and we're not worthy, but we're in desperate need of her message.
The entire HBO special — an hour in length — seemed to take viewers on a very personal journey through Beyoncé's romantic relationship. The first few songs and images evoke anger and pain, brought on what sounded like a possible (but not confirmed) infidelity and talk of a potential divorce. (Romper reached out to Jay Z's representative for comment but has not yet heard back.)
While it's impossible to know what has gone on between Beyoncé and Jay Z, it is clear that Beyoncé was hurting, and now she has let go. The song, "Freedom," seemed to embody the empowering idea that you are better than the hurt you have felt; you're more powerful than the emotions that can leave you chained to jealousy, anger, manipulation, and unhealthy revenge; you're entitled to your feelings; and by feeling them and letting them go, you free yourself.
I don't know about you, but I feel like the message Beyoncé is sending — with "Freedom" and the entire Lemonade album — is the message we all need right now. It's no secret that 2016 has been a difficult year thus far. We've been mourning horrific losses across the globe after seemingly endless terrorist attacks. We've lost musical icons like Prince and Bowie. We've been saying more goodbyes than hellos. So, the idea that we can stand taller than the heartbreak we've been dealt — either self-induced or completely by circumstance — is uplifting and hopeful; everything we need and everything that has been so hard to find in the news and, well, anywhere else.
Beyoncé has been less than coy about making 2016 the year of Bey, dominating the Super Bowl halftime show, releasing "Formation" with little warning and little filter, and announcing her Formation tour. If you thought having a baby and being arguably the most high-profile artist alive would slow her down, you're absolutely wrong and clearly haven't been paying attention.
And now that we have Beyoncé reminding us that we can move past pain and free ourselves from the chains of that one grudge or that one pain or that one insert-heartbreak-here, 2016 doesn't seem quite as dark.
Which is probably why Beyonce's "Freedom" and its message wasn't lost on viewers. Many took to twitter to let Beyoncé — and everyone else — know that they were picking up what Queen B was putting down.
good LORD i just got to "freedom" and i can't believe i didn't know until now how badly i needed beyoncé over a vintage just blaze banger— wackie bradley jr. (@wackhumanbeing) April 24, 2016
How refeshing it is to see an artist like @Beyonce control when, where, and how her art is released...now that's freedom!— Tony (@eclecticnemesis) April 24, 2016
Only heard 30 seconds of Beyonce's song "Freedom" and it may be my favorite yet..— Brian (@eXamper) April 24, 2016
Awe-inspiring rapper Kendrick Lamar is featured on the track, adding to the overall power of the single. You'd be hard pressed to find anyone on the planet who can forget Lamar's powerful Grammys performance, in which the rapper took the stage shackled like a prisoner, touching on the ongoing racial injustice in the U.S. Having Lamar on the track only solidifies the incredible message highlighted by lines like, "I'm telling these tears, 'Go and fall away, fall away' and especially:
To see a woman take control of her past — even the parts that she wasn't responsible for — and let the entire world know that she, and only she, is responsible for her happiness and how she moves forward from injustice (romantic or otherwise) is a lesson we can all learn over, and over, and over again.
Which is arguably the best part of Lemonade and "Freedom"; it can mean multiple things to multiple people, depending on circumstance, but for everyone it will arguably stand for the powerful ability to overcome what once had you drowning.