After Beyoncé unleashed her Lemonade, the world was left in a tizzy.
If you’ve caught the headlines and social media speculation over the past week – and if you haven’t, where have you been? – there’s been one line in particular that’s kept people talking.
Yup, we’re still on the subject of ‘Becky with the good hair’.
Amongst the lyrical themes of infidelity, which sparked rumours that Bey and Jay’s marriage might be in trouble, there was talk of a mysterious ‘Becky’ who was dubbed as the ‘other woman’ as a result.
The internet appeared to make it its mission to uncover the identity of the girl who’d incurred the rage of Queen B, with the finger being pointed at Rachel Roy and Rita Ora. They’ve both denied any part in the rumours, but that hasn’t stopped the world from scattering lemon and bee emojis across the internet.
But now, a journalist for MTV has penned a powerful piece entitled ‘Beyoncé’s Lemonade And What Black Girls Really Mean By Good Hair‘. And it seems that people may have got the meaning behind ‘Becky’ totally wrong.
Of course, Beyoncé’s visual album touched on much more than an assumed cheating partner. There were important political undertones, supporting the Black Lives Matter movement and cataloguing the lives – and struggles – of black women.
There’s no denying that it’s a powerful body of work which has resonated with a very wide audience.
Keeping this in mind, the reference to a woman ‘with the good hair’ could mean something much more poignant.
Rebecca Thomas explains, ‘The idea of good hair actually has its roots in slavery, when white owners would deliberately separate and assign slaves with light skin and straighter “good hair” to household work, leaving the punishing field work to those with darker skin and kinky African hair.’
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This awful message seems to still resonate today. In 2009, comedian Chris Rock revealed that he decided to shoot his documentary on this subject, after his daughter Lola asked him, ‘Daddy, how come I don’t have good hair?’
Thankfully, women seem to be embracing and loving their natural hair, with many hitting back against the idea of what makes ‘good hair’. After all, black girls and their natural ‘dos are beautiful, and we can only hope that any negative messages will disappear for good.
Rebecca points out, ‘So when Beyonce tells her cheating man he “better call Becky with the good hair,” she’s nodding to our historical baggage and signifying far more than just a girl with a bouncy blowout.’
How’s that for some food for thought.