Beyonce is, as usual, causing a stir with her new album Lemonade. A surprise drop (on TIDAL only) after her Saturday night special on HBO, the album is drawing attention as much for its raw anger about alleged infidelity as its musical content. (Though, to be sure, it’s receiving critical accolades for the music too.) But it’s the reality TV-style transparency of Lemonade‘s admissions — such as they are — that all is not perfect with Blue Ivy’s mom (or her marriage) that has grabbed the lion’s share of early attention. That’s, we can also be sure, no accident. The mood in the trailer below is clearly meant to stoke the anger bonfire.
The line that’s getting the most attention is the name drop of an alleged Jay Z mistress who’s called “Becky with the good hair” in the tune “I’m sorry.” The term is a use of double code. First “Becky” translates a number of ways and Beyonce may be using them all: it’s slang meanings range from “typical soccer mom” to a euphemism for fellatio. “Good hair” is more than it may originally sound like too. It probably doesn’t mean so much healthy roots and no split ends — the term has secondary meaning among some African Americans, who use good hair to signify a “black person’s hair that closely resembles the hair of a typical white person.” It’s a loaded term and very rarely meant as a compliment.