Out in the Open

Beyonce speaks directly to one woman's experiences with love

Artist Paulina O'Kieffe says Beyonce's "Lemonade" reflects how infidelity is different for black women.
Beyonce appears in a scene from her special, "Lemonade." (Parkwood Entertainment/HBO via AP)

This story originally aired on December 2, 2016

Beyonce's Lemonade is a concept album about infidelity, betrayal, love, and how all those experiences are different for black women.

Spoken word artist Paulina O'Kieffe watched the film that accompanied the album five times the night it was released and for — the most part — she found its messages uphold what she knows, as a black woman, about love. 

"We are always too 'something', too subservient, too loud, too whatever," she says, "Loving us never works out because of us. Therefore, it's easy to throw whatever standard of love at us and we are supposed to accept that because at the end of the day we're here to have sex with you or raise your children or populate the black family or hold up the world."

For O'Kieffe, one song deviates from that narrative. She says "Sorry" presents an alternative way to deal with being cheated on.

"It's the only song that's not accepting of the scraps that you want to feed me, that you call love. If you can't reach my standards or if you can't reach my expectations then I have to go. Bye. You can call 'Becky with the good hair'"

The message of "Sorry" was something O'Kieffe says she never followed through with in her own relationships. She calls it an "eye opener" that not being sorry or making the extra effort to make it work when you're a black couple is an acceptable option.

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