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#LemonadeSyllabus Gives Fans of the Beyoncé Masterpiece a Chance to Learn and Grow in Black Girl Magic

#LemonadeSyllabus Gives Fans of the Beyoncé Masterpiece a Chance to Delve Deep

lemonade syllabus

When Beyoncé’s Lemonade came out, it was clear that it was heavily inspired by myriad aspects of the culture and histories of black women. Now, fans and academics are taking that discussion further by sharing a suggested reading and viewing list that reflects the themes and symbols running through the visual album, creating a Lemonade Syllabus.

As many cool movements do, this one started on Twitter. Writer and doctoral student Candice Benbow compiled suggestions under the hashtag #LemonadeSyllabus, which continues to accrue submissions. According to The Daily Dot, Benbow put out a call “for black women to share ‘the works of art, history, and literature that came to mind or informed their reading of the visual album.’” Over 200 suggestions and counting have come in, and Benbow has gathered 200 into a free PDF workbook at Diaspora Hypertext where you can check your reading off the list as you go, and have plenty of room for notes.

Benbow is also encouraging sharing at Diaspora Hypertext, saying “Read it all here–then print a copy for someone who needs it. If you have means, buy one of the suggested books, print a copy, and gift it that way.”

Lemonade Syllabus includes fiction from Octavia Butler, Toni Morrison, and Terry McMillan; non-fiction by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, bell hooks, and Audre Lorde; and music by india.arie, Jill Scott, and Nina Simone. For black women, it is a celebration of Black Girl Magic, as well as an opportunity to delve more deeply into their own culture and community. For the rest of us, it’s a must-read list so that our educations aren’t incomplete.

It’s a sad state of affairs that not enough works on this list are required reading throughout formal education. If you care at all about differing viewpoints and intersectionality when talking about things like feminism, you should definitely check this out. It’s things like Lemonade Syllabus, the conversations that can be inspired by music, film, and TV that excite me about being a pop culture writer.

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Teresa Jusino (she/her) is a native New Yorker and a proud Puerto Rican, Jewish, bisexual woman with ADHD. She's been writing professionally since 2010 and was a former Mary Sue assistant editor from 2015-18. Teresa's returned to play in the TMS sandbox as a freelancer. When not writing about pop culture, she's writing screenplays and is the creator of your future favorite genre show. Teresa lives in L.A. with her brilliant wife. Her other great loves include: Star Trek, The Last of Us, anything by Brian K. Vaughan, and her Level 5 android Paladin named Lal.