ON DEMAND: Beyond Feminist Oeuvre: How Beyoncé’s 2016 “Lemonade” Album Inspires HBCU Undergrads Through Sisterhood and Redemption
With the two-fold goal of incorporating more in-depth undergraduate scholarship and increasing a sense of community within a new asynchronous online (Covid-Era) format, I transformed my Women in Music course into a gratifying student experience that culminated in unique academic findings. This General Education course covers women in music, both historically and culturally, with nods to areas like gender studies, social justice, and media bias. In its revised form, after building a knowledge base through assigned readings and reflective discussions, the course guides students toward constructing their own lens and tools for analyzing a major musical work of art by a woman musician. The past two semesters were devoted to exploring Beyoncé’s 2016 Lemonade album and film in terms of its symbolism, overall message, intent as a feminist work of art, personal meaning and value, and model of representation, particularly for students attending an HBCU. Students investigated themes and the musical methods used to convey them, as they also explored their own personal connections to those themes. Through sharing their insights and finding common ground, these classmates assimilated their song analyses into a comprehensive digital artifact, ultimately contributing their distinctive voice to the scholarship on Lemonade’s significance. This venture has revealed a scope of possibilities for including undergraduates in course-based research endeavors. Students with limited expertise can still offer their perceptions and experiences, especially within a communal medium like music, all of which lead toward expanding their views. Most importantly, when students' contributions are validated, they feel empowered.
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