From Memoir to Make Believe: Beyoncé’s Lemonade and the Fabrication Possibility



Beyoncé’s Lemonade has been one of the most critically acclaimed but also critically autopsied albums in recent years. Over and over again those 13 tracks have been mined to expose an apparent treasure trove of secrets into the artist’s marriage. So ready were listeners to assume that Lemonade was a confession of treachery and anguish, that completely lost was the possibility that perhaps the album was just 45 minutes of folly. In this essay I speculate about why audiences were so willing to interpret Lemonade as memoir rather than make-believe. I propose reasons ranging from the power of I, the influence of social media, and the severe constraints imposed by gender. Lemonade is a fascinating illustration of how a range of social phenomena and distinctly gendered stereotypes have strongly manipulated how women’s art is perceived.

Author Biography

Lauren Rosewarne, University of Melbourne

Dr Lauren Rosewarne is a Senior Lecturer in the School of Social and Political Sciences at the University of Melbourne.


Crosley, Hillary, ‘Beyonce Says She “Killed” Sasha Fierce’, MTV News (online), 26 February 2010 <>






Gender, Culture, and Narrative Special Issue