When Beyoncé’s visual album Lemonade was released, women everywhere related deeply
to the bat-toting, raging imagery of a scorned black woman releasing her pain and anguish in plain sight without shame. But this isn’t an unfamiliar illustration of black women and their artistic expression of sadness and regret. This demonstration of aggression can also be found in the lyrics and music videos of Keyshia Cole, Mary J Blige, Rihanna, and certainly the anthem of “I’ll Bust Your Windows out Your Car” by Jazmin Sullivan. Many female artists have released their pain with unrelenting images of cathartic explosiveness to facilitate their own personal healing. Some may say that these images perpetuate the “angry black woman” stigma, but when Jay Z released his already platinum album 4:44 on June 30, 2017, he obliterated not only the rap game, but the narrative of the angry black woman overreacting to situations and going into a unjustified fit of rage.
On the fifth track of the album, which shared the same name as the album, Jay Z includes an acknowledgement of a deeper consequence of his infidelity as he proclaims:
“So I apologize
I seen the innocence leave your eyes
I still mourn this death and
I apologize for all the stillborns
‘Cause I wasn’t present, your body wouldn’t accept it
I apologize to all the women whom I
Toyed with your emotions because I was emotionless
And I apologize ’cause at your best you are love
And because I fall short of what I say I’m all about
Your eyes leave with the soul that your body once housed”
These words not only validate how deeply a man can hurt a woman through his dishonesty and deceit, but it also makes note of how these conditions create a state of internal mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual turmoil. When there is infidelity, a shift occurs where the innocence that a women once knew and the dangerous love that is frivolous and overzealous leaves. It is then replaced by an over-analytical, cautious, and fearful love. The sooner men and society acknowledge this, the sooner black woman can stop being framed as angry and just be embraced as hurt.