Floating in the wake of Beyoncé's Lemonade, one feels the urge to react. Our options are limited mostly to tweeting, blogging, crying, or talking to Mom. But conversation and off-the-cuff criticism don't feel like enough — Lemonade is a call to make something, not to chit-chat. Great art inspires more art.
"The Lemons," a piece of fan fiction published on Wordpress yesterday, is art. It imagines the fallout of Lemonade as it transpires between an amazing cast that includes actor Taraji P. Henson, director Ava Duvernay, Beyoncé's sister Solange, most of the Kardashians, Kanye West, Beyoncé's mother, and of course, Beyoncé and Jay Z. It is written as a screenplay, more or less, with Jay Z dodging increasingly acrobatic assaults from Solange in between volleys of percussive dialogue. At one point, Kanye instructs Tyga to put himself on "airplane mode," in deference to Queen B. Thank god.
fan fiction is a logical, silly response to beyoncé
This piece of fiction is witty and mean and cut through with a passionate adoration of female solidarity. It’s exactly the sort of art Lemonade is perfectly suited to inspire.
Of course, Beyoncé has been inspiring us to dream of her for years. The wildly popular Beyoncé Fan Fiction Twitter account is a self-aware chronicle of Beyoncé worship, and how the queen herself feeds into it with gaudy displays of wealth and intimate displays of love for her family. While entertaining, it's the least subtle of the bunch.
Another popular fan fiction saga, named for Jay Z and Beyoncé’s On the Run tour, is as diligent and involved as it is totally messed up. The first chapter envisions the hospital room in which the couple lost their first child.
There are plenty of femslash stories about Beyoncé and her maybe-dear friend Nicki Minaj (who honestly knows), passages written from the perspective of Blue Ivy and Solange Knowles and Kelly Rowland, and even a patently insane tale of Beyoncé err… taking Chris Martin to Red Lobster. It's all goofy, some of it is deranged, and a handful of moments are inspired. I guess that's what happens when a bunch of wide-eyed religious zealots try to guess at the mind of god.
People who listened to Lemonade and took away only a demented desire to riddle out the identity of "Becky with the good hair" sort of strike me as sociopaths who can’t just surrender to 72 hours of soul-crushing compassion. But if we’re going to talk about Jay Z and Beyoncé's marriage then "The Lemons" is a great example of how we should do it — like it's a mythological drama of the gods we will never get to the heart of, and that we may as well make fun of ourselves for pursuing over, and over, and over.