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Beyonce Again Proves With ‘Lemonade’ to Be Center of Pop Universe

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Beyonce doesn’t simply release albums anymore, she unleashes events.

And so it was this weekend, amid deep mourning for a lost icon, music’s queen dropped “Lemonade,” an arresting display of what technically qualifies as videos and singles, but is better described as a work of art that appeared deeply personal, yet is a bold social and political statement as well.

It contains revenge anthems for scorned wives, a requiem for side chicks, a display of #BlackGirlMagic and support of #BlackLivesMatter, and an ode to forgiveness, all wrapped into an hourlong HBO special Saturday night that would of course land on Tidal, the music streaming service owned by hubby Jay Z, moments after the special ended.

“Are you cheating on me?” Beyonce’s husky voice intones early on. For the first half of “Lemonade,” it seems that Jay Z’s 100th problem was here, and unfixable. While Beyonce has used rumors of infidelity to fuel her music for years, from “Ring the Alarm” to “Jealous,” it seemed as if she was spilling all the tea on her much-scrutinized marriage with “Lemonade.”

On “Hold Up,” an intoxicating song with an island beat, a smiling Beyonce takes “Crazy in Love” to a new level: She smashes a bat on everything around her while reminding her man that other women “don’t love you like I love you.” Later, on “Sorry,” with a twerking Serena Williams by her side, she shows her man the stupidity of his cheating ways and all he’s lost. “Middle fingers up, put ’em hands high, put it in his face, tell him ‘Boy bye.'”

At another point, she references her man’s desire for “Becky with the good hair” and talks about wearing his mistresses scalp — talk about snatching edges.

What could come across as desperate instead becomes empowering, though, in part due to the poetic narrative Beyonce uses to tie each segment together, as well as the imagery, which is a defiant celebration of the beauty of black women: Dark to light, wooly hair to wavy hair, all looking glorious, with cameos from the likes of Oscar-nominated Quvenzhané Wallis, Zendaya and Amandla Stenberg.

And just as we think it’s time to start to get seriously concerned for Jay Z’s safety, he appears, nestled with his queen, in “Sandcastles,” which speaks to a troubled union but a love that transcends it.

While much of “Lemonade” would appear to tie into Beyonce’s own life, or so she would have us believe, she also draws from the angst of the black community: The mothers of Trayvon Martin and Michael Brownare seen, among others, looking somber as they hold photos of their slain sons. At another point, she tells the audience via the voice of Malcolm X that “the most disrespected woman in America is the black woman.”

Like much of her music over the last few years, the music on “Lemonade” is not made for pop radio. Besides the explicit language, it doesn’t fit into neat categories and boxes, ranging from R&B to a bit of reggae to rock and even a country twang. Paired with its visuals, it’s also elevated, becoming a work of art that has many layers to be dissected; there may well be dissertations planned on it at this moment.

It all speaks to Beyonce’s undisputed role the queen of pop — not of music, but of culture. It’s hard to imagine any other artist who could drop a project in the middle of our national mourning for Prince and still not only get attention for it, but captivate us so.

Toward the end of “Formation,” not included on the HBO special but part of the album, Beyonce intones: “You know you that b—- when you cause all this conversation.”

With “Lemonade,” she shows us she is King B, once again.

Entrepreneur, contributor, writer, and editor of Sostre News. With a powerful new bi-lingual speaking generation by his side, Sostre News is becoming the preferred site for the latest in Politics, Entertainment, Sports, Culture, Tech, Breaking and World News.

ENTERTAINMENT

Beyoncé’s Natural Hair is Hair Goals!

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Have you seen Beyoncé’s natural hair? Listen, now that is what I call “hair goals”! Her mother, Tina Knowles-Lawson, has shared a video showing off her famous daughter’s hair on Instagram. In the video Ms Tina is brushing through her multi talented daughter’s hair, and kept saying “au naturale”.

To say that Queen Bey’s hair is “envy enducing” would just be an understatement, that hair is just all kinds of amazing! I mean, if that was my hair I would probably not even wait for my mom to gush about it, I would do the bragging my self. Beyoncé though, isn’t as “petty” as I am, in fact she didn’t seem to appreciate her mother’s antics. She can be heard saying: “Mama, that is really annoying. I mean very annoying”, in a strained laugh.

This is not the first time Ms Tina has gushed over her daughter’s hair on social media. Last year she shared a photo of Queen Bey’s glorious tresses tied in a ponytail, and talked about how happy she was that her daughter’s hair grew back after she had cut it into a pixie.  Ms Tina is obviously proud of her daughter’s hair, but I mean, which mother wouldn’t be?

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MUSIC

Geto Boys’ Bushwick Bill Is “Still Alive and Fighting Cancer”

Legendary Geto Boys member Bushwick Bill has died after a longtime battle with pancreatic cancer, TMZ reports. Last month, Bill released a video describing the chemotherapy treatment he’d been receiving for his Stage 4 cancer.

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Legendary Geto Boys member Bushwick Bill has died after a longtime battle with pancreatic cancer, TMZ reports. Last month, Bill released a video describing the chemotherapy treatment he’d been receiving for his Stage 4 cancer.

His death was confirmed by Geto Boys groupmate Scarface this morning, who took to Instagram to pay tribute to the rapper. “RIP Bushwick Bill,” he wrote in his Instagram caption. He was 52.

Bushwick Bill was born on December 8, 1966 in Kingston, Jamaica. The rapper (born Richard Stephen Shaw) moved to Brooklyn, New York in his youth before ultimately settling in Houston, where he joined Geto Boys as a dancer in the late 1980s.

Shaw suffered from dwarfism throughout his life, which informed to his early Geto Boys stage name “Little Billy.” At 3 feet 8 inches tall, he became one of the group’s most memorable contributors, and his image graced the cover of Geto Boys’ 1991 album We Can’t Be Stopped, which depicts groupmates Scarface and Willie D rushing Shaw to the hospital after shooting his own eye out in the summer of 1991. Shaw released six studio albums as a solo artist including 1992’s Little Big Man, 1995’s Phantom of the Rapra, and most recently the 2010 album My Testimony of Redemption.

Last month, Geto Boys announced a farewell tour following Shaw’s cancer diagnosis, which was later cancelled due to his health. According to reports from TMZ, he was also upset by the title of the tour, which implied he was on his deathbed.

Update (12:30pm): Bushwick Bill apparently hasn’t died after all. TMZ has updated their report to note that the musician is “still alive and fighting cancer” according to his publicist. The publicist confirmed his status with hospital staff, who say that the musician is still in their care, with numerous family members by bedside.

Update (1:45pm): In a new post on Instagram, Bushwick Bill’s son confirmed that the Geto Boys musician is still alive. “My dad IS NOT dead, he’s still alive and fighting for his life,” he writes in the post’s caption. “He needs your continued prayers and support. Certain people have been so quick to write him off as dead so they can capitalize off it, and it’s messed up because y’all really think these people care about him. There is no Geto Boys without Bushwick Bill.”

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MUSIC

Nick Jonas Feared Brothers Would ‘Never Speak to Me Again’ After Band Split

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Just days before the release of the Jonas Brothers’ new album “Happiness Begins” on June 7th, the band sat down with CBS Sunday Morning to discuss their reunion journey and the circumstances behind their breakup.

After the brothers Jonas, Kevin, Joe and Nick, encountered stagnating record and ticket sales and faced internal strife, the band split up in 2013. “To call it creative differences is almost too simple,” Nick said. “And I think a lot of people lost the appetite for what we were putting into the world. So, you know, we were putting up shows that weren’t selling. We were making music that I don’t think we were all super proud of, and it wasn’t connected.”

He explained that the brothers’ relationship was also strained, so he had a “tough conversation” with Kevin and Joe. “I said, ‘You know, I feel like the Jonas Brothers should be no more, and we should go on individual journeys.’ And it didn’t go so well,” he recalls.

At that point, Joe thought that the band was done. “I checked out in my mind that – that was it. There’s going to be no more brothers ever,” he tells Smith.

Nick added, “And I feared that, you know, we – they would never speak to me again.”

Inbetween their breakup, Joe focused on his funky pop project DNCE, while Nick concentrated more on acting and his solo career. Kevin was dedicated to raising his two daughters.

Ultimately, the brothers couldn’t stay apart. “I think we –- we definitely were supposed to go through all of what we went through to get to this point, definitely,” Joe says. “I think it was, it was kind of, I guess you could say destiny, whatever it may be, but yeah, we got a do-over, and I think this time around we’re going to do it right.”

In February, the Jonas Brothers revealed their reunion plans with the release of “Sucker,” which debuted at Number One on the Billboard Hot 100. They’ve since released another single titled “Cool.” Alongside the release of their first album in 10 years, the band announced earlier this week that they would release new documentary “Chasing Happiness” on June 4th via Amazon Prime and a memoir titled “Blood” on November 12th.

On August 7th, the Jonas Brothers will head out on a North American tour in support of “Happiness Begins” in Miami.

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