Beyoncé’s ‘Renaissance’ embraces the revolutionary act of choosing joy

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With her seventh solo album, “Renaissance,” Beyoncé provides an antidote to the ills of the day, offering only brief glances at politics and protest. 

Some call the album escapism, worrying that the influential artist is not focusing her voice on a full-throated fight against injustice. Certainly, her stardom can bring massive attention to any issue, but her primary focus is not on the powers that be, but on her fans who are in the fight. And right now many of her fans are hungry for the revolutionary act of choosing joy. 

Why We Wrote This

With her new album, “Renaissance,” Beyoncé focuses on supporting her fans, suggests our columnist, many of whom are hungry for joy.

Beyoncé may not meet the often-unattainable expectations of megastars to move the needle on systemic social change, but she is there to reflect back the wants and needs of the Black women and LGBTQ community members who love her. 

The album speaks, sometimes with explicit language, to the exhaustion and frustration expressed by many Black women who need a break, need some Black joy – to be happy and free and to recharge in order to face the continued challenges of racism.

“Renaissance” helps us remember the feeling of joy – and dance it into our bodies. What could be more liberating than that?

Beyoncé’s latest project, “Renaissance,” is a dance party made for our post-everything world.

With her seventh solo album, the singing supernova provides an antidote to the ills of the day, offering only brief glances at politics and protest. Instead, she carves out space for joy, self-love, and blazing confidence. But critics wonder if this escapism is enough to feed hungry fans what they need for today’s societal battles, or if this dance party will be the soundtrack to forgetting to resist in favor of pop fun.

Beyoncé is great at mirroring the mood and energy of her massive following. She may not meet the often-unattainable expectations of megastars to move the needle on systemic social change, but she is there to reflect back the wants and needs of the Black women and LGBTQ community members who love her.  

Why We Wrote This

With her new album, “Renaissance,” Beyoncé focuses on supporting her fans, suggests our columnist, many of whom are hungry for joy.

She provided a voice to their frustrations on her previous studio album “Lemonade,” and here on “Renaissance,” she makes room for listeners to be fierce and beautiful. (She even agreed to remove a slang word from the song “Heated” after an outcry from disability advocates, and is reportedly also removing a song she sampled with the owner’s but not the artist’s knowledge.) The album speaks, sometimes using explicit language, to the exhaustion and frustration expressed by many Black women who need a break, need some Black joy – to be happy and free and to recharge in order to face the continued challenges of racism. 

These days, joy often seems beyond reach, or perhaps even inappropriate when so many are hurt or suffering. Happiness and contentment are hard to cultivate when the raw materials are so scarce. But joy comes from somewhere beyond the pleasures of the day. Joy, like hope, is not a result of circumstances but a choice one makes in spite of them. 



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