The Music Video’s Counter-Poetics of Rhythm

Black Cultural Production in Lemonade

Authored by: Ayanna Dozier

The Routledge Companion to Global Television

Print publication date:  November  2019
Online publication date:  October  2019

Print ISBN: 9781138724341
eBook ISBN: 9781315192468
Adobe ISBN:


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Since the mid-1980s, music videos for Black individuals have provided a crucial space to re-work and navigate the global (re)presentation of Blackness. This study will examine Beyoncé’s 2016 visual album Lemonade to see how Black cultural production, as a global diasporic practice, works through alternative (and often experimental) audiovisual images (like the music video) utilizing television’s expansive digital properties to reconfigure our engagement and understanding of Blackness. Utilizing an undertheorized term of counter-poetics of rhythm by Sylvia Wynter, I argue that the film utilizes television’s sense of immediacy to critique quotidian absences of Black women’s bodies and lives through the aesthetic and sonic dimensions of the video. Counter-poetics, then, defines the work of artists commenting, engaging, and challenging hegemonic structures of oppression, and exists as an engagement of critique through the expressive dynamics of rhythm and image onscreen.

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