Based on interviews with 35 audience members, this essay argues that audiences used
Beyoncé’s hour-long visual album, Lemonade, as a Two-Way Mirror to understand racial and
gendered identities through the lenses of social movements, identity politics, and
relationality. Our findings support Sandvoss (2005) and other audience scholars in that the
Black women we interviewed used the album’s emphasis on Black femininity as a ‘mirror’
that uplifted their own racial and gendered identities. White and male audiences, on the
other hand, used the album less for fashioning their own sense of self, instead using
Lemonade as a lens to gaze into a realm of Black femininity as presented by Beyoncé, a
Black woman herself. While in some cases, this perspective drove White and male
participants’ empathy and support of the Black women’s experiences represented in the
album, their understandings also risked one-dimensionality.
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