Many of us are still recovering from an amazing evening of music, visuals, art, #BlackGirlMagic, activism and all the other elements presented by Beyoncé Giselle Knowles-Carter’s 11-part visual album Lemonade.
The solid one-hour feature was essentially a film combining elements of experiences and lessons she’s learned about the power of love, forgiveness, and restoration of the heart. But the most controversial aspect was the confession of Jay Z’s many transgressions with other women —and how it not-so-subtly compares to her father’s behavior.
Queen Bey sings her soul to us, with the help of many powerful women from all walks. But there’s 10 things you should know about the production of this fantastic film and corresponding album.
1. Beyoncé is the first: No artist has ever released a visual album on HBO, then immediately dropped corresponding music after. Exact sale numbers aren’t in yet, but we’re sure Tidal is going to have a good week.
2. All-black cast: The 34-year-old used an all-black, mainly female, cast for her visual album. Some notable faces were Serena Williams, Amandla Stenberg, Zendaya, Parkwood Entertainment signees Chloe and Halle Bailey, ballerina Michaela DePrince, and Quvenzhane Wallis.
3. She worked with a young Somali-British poet: Beyoncé quotes words from poet Warsan Shire’s “For Women Who Are Difficult To Love” and “Nail Technician As Palm Reader”. Shire is credited for Film Adaptation and Poetry in Lemonade.
4. A large portion of the film was shot in southeast New Orleans, Louisiana: Queen Bey’s affection for the southern city goes way beyond “Formation.” According to The Times-Picayune she filmed her opening scene at Fort Macomb, The Edna Karr Marching Band at practice, a couple kissing on Bourbon Street, a jazz funeral, and Jay Z and Blue Ivy at an empty Mercedes-Benz Superdome.
5. Beyoncé worked with some serious heavy-weights on this sixth album. Credits include Kendrick Lamar, Just Blaze, James Blake, Diplo, Jack White, André 3000, Sleepy Brown, and Big Boi.
6. The stages of the film all represent her personal struggle: Denial, anger, apathy, emptiness, accountability, reformation, forgiveness, resurrection, hope, and redemption.
7. Guitarist Little Freddie King makes an appearance: The 75-year-old American Delta blues guitarist is shadowed in the background at Fort Macomb playing while she sings.
8. Nigerian visual artist Laolu Senbanjo’s work plays a major role in Lemonade: As noted by OkayAfrica, his Yoruba-influenced markings adorn Beyoncé at one point.
9. There’s a ton of personal footage: Including the 90th birthday celebration of Jay Z’s grandmother, Hattie White from October 2015.
10. Rachel Roy is now trending: Why? The designer who many speculated was the cause of the infamous 2014 elevator fight between Solange and Jay Z Instagrammed a photo with the caption: “Good hair don’t care, but we will take good lighting, for selfies, or self truths, always.” Many are saying she’s addressing Beyonce’s lyrics in Sorry where she says, “he better call Becky with the good hair.”