After watching Lemonade I was struck by its power. For a moment, I felt myself questioning: why hasn’t everyone watched this? Part of what stopped me from watching it in the months after its release was its cost. I figure that I am not alone in not wanting to drop $15 dollars on the visual album, despite the great things that I heard about it. I figure that if I am in this position, as someone who has the economic means to make this purchase, but chose not to, this must have affected teens in lower economic statuses than I, specifically because a large portion of Beyoncé’s target audience is young black girls. As the media swarms around Chance the Rapper, who recently donated $1 Million to Chicago public school systems, refuses to sign a record label, and makes all of his music free on streaming websites, it is clear that he is building his empire on a platform of accessibility: everyone can access his music for free. This is important to him as a rapper, who grew up in inner-city Chicago. Should we fault Beyoncé for not making her music as accessible? Or, is criticism against the price of Beyoncé’s visual album sexist; do other black male artists come under the same criticism for charging money for their music? One of the lines that really struck me in Lemonade was “You just might be a black Bill Gates in the making, ’cause I slay/I just might be a black Bill Gates in the making.” By referring to herself a s a black Bill Gates in the making, Beyoncé is pointing out that she, as a black woman, is becoming as rich and powerful as a white man. She is taking ownership of her success and pointing to her intersectional identity. As arguably the most famous and successful black woman in the industry, Beyoncé has the right to empower herself and charge money for her albums, just like almost all other artist do. Just because she is black, it is unfair to expect that she would make all of her music free, when in reality, those who need her message most, are the ones who are able to pay for the album in the first place.

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