Lemonade Syllabus Project

Step 1: Listen to Beyoncé’s Lemonade album
(Links to an external site.)
and watch the videos
(Links to an external site.)
(or the entire visual album if you have access to it) – you’ll find links to both of these in the week 6 module

Select one song that you would like to present from this album. As you’re choosing your song, think about the themes in the lyrics – you will move through this assignment with those themes in mind
Identify a song from the Classic Blues era by a female blues artist like Ma Rainey, Bessie Smith, Ida Cox, or Mamie Smith (or the like – reference the week 5 module) that addresses similar themes to your chosen song from Beyoncé’s Lemonade

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Step 2: Review the Lemonade Syllabus

Read the “Introduction” by Candice Marie Benbow
Review the “Fiction & Literature,” “Non-Fiction & Autobiography,” “Black Feminist Studies,” “English & Critical Theory,” “Historical & Cultural Studies,” “Inspirational & Self-Care,” “Religion & Womanist Theology,” & “Youth” sections
Select one reading from this section that speaks to the specific themes of your chosen Beyoncé song and your Classic Blues song (i.e. if your songs are about overcoming obstacles, you might find something in “Black Feminist Studies” by bell hooks)
You don’t need to read the entire thing, but you should:
Find your reading (use the library or google books to help – let me know if you have trouble finding your source!)
Familiarize yourself with the content in the reading
Research the author – who are they? What is their perspective? What discipline do they come from? What is their approach?
Consider how this reading relates to the themes in your songs
Select and find one thing from the “Poetry & Photography” section that relates to the themes of your songs
Select a song or an album from the “Music” section to listen to. Your chosen selection should touch on themes from your chosen songs
Review the “Theatre, Film, & Documentary” section – which of these are you familiar with (you all should have seen at least one of these after week 5). Are there other films you can think to add? Find a film from this list that touches on the themes of your songs (you may choose to watch it or find a summary/description to use)

Step 3: After steps 1 and 2 you will have:

3 pieces of music: a Beyoncé song from Lemonade, a Classic Blues song, and an album or song from the Lemonade syllabus – all addressing similar themes
A reading selected from the Lemonade syllabus
A piece of photography or poetry from the Lemonade syllabus
A work for theatre, film, or documentary from the Lemonade syllabus

With these items, you should develop a presentation that addresses the ways in which music (but also writing and the arts) can be used in a socially conscious manner to speak to the lived experiences and realities that Black women have faced and continue to face. This project builds on the work we did in the week 5 module, and asks you to think critically about the arts as a tool for addressing injustice, inequality, and personal experience.

As you may recall in week 5, Black Studies scholar Daphne Duvall Harrison details the themes that Black blues women sang about as being deeply personal, and according to activist and author Angela Davis, “feminist traditions are not only written, they are oral, and…these oralities reveal not only rewrought African cultural traces, but also the genius with which former slaves forged new traditions that simultaneously contested the slave past and preserved some of the rich cultural products of slavery” (Blues Legacies and Black Feminism: xix). This assignment asks that you engage with a variety of materials as you develop and present your own understanding of Black feminism and blues legacies in relation to the works of prominent Black musicians, writers, scholars, and artists.

Your presentation will take the form of pre-recorded audio or video that you submit (you could record a video for YouTube
(Links to an external site.)
or Flipgrid
(Links to an external site.)
, create a podcast using Audacity
(Links to an external site.)
, or record audio to accompany a google slides presentation). You must include the following:

An introduction and conclusion
Audio examples – you should include musical examples in your presentation
Reference to each of the items you have selected, as detailed in step 3
Explain how these elements relate to each other, providing context for each of the items you have selected
In addition to sharing your presentation with me via the link in the week 6 module, please also share your references for the assignment.

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