Beyonce: When life gives you lemons…

I know you might be sick of hearing about Prince by now—and prayers up for you heathens if that's the case—so I'll keep it brief. The morning we heard that he'd left us, I woke up to my phone blown all the way up, people being concerned about me. My first thought was that my house was on fire, that the world was ending. It was. And I didn't cry, not until I turned on KEXP—and the first words I heard were "Dearly beloved."

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I won't lie, though, listening to and exploring his incredible art and life even more than I always do, hearing people play his music, pour out their hearts about the man—it's been hugely comforting, a blessing. Leave it to Prince to reinvent the whole grief process that I've always felt when my heroes die, to make it a celebration. He'll be so, so missed—especially by his many friends and family, and the city he made so proud—but as long as someone is lustily singing along to his music, expanding the ideas of Blackness, just being a life-loving badass in general, our Prince will live on.

Now: I'm beyond amazed—I'm absolutely flattened at the thought that the biggest moment right now in pop culture is the glorious spectacle of a Queen burning her man to ashes for all the world to see, and then willing him back to life by virtue of her limitless grace. (And we're not talking about some slick 2000s-era R&B video stand-in dude—no, this dude is one of the most powerful figures in music, hiphop's first billionaire, Jay Hova, the God MC. And it's Tidal—the beleaguered streaming service he owns—that serves as the rowboat for his fiery Viking funeral.)

Beyoncé's breathtaking art and agency is a thing to behold, and it's in moments like this that I suspect that hiphop isn't always the things we think it's supposed to be anymore—or, say, what you think I should be talking about. Because in 2016 there's nothing more hiphop as-it-was-supposedly-supposed-to-be, more "CNN of Black America," than Beyoncé Knowles inviting el-Hajj Malik el-Shabazz into the eyes and ears (if not the hearts) of every Becky-with-the-good-hair to talk about how the most disrespected person in America is the Black woman.

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Let's also not forget that it's simply High Black Art, thanks in major part to her codirector, Seattle native Kahlil Joseph—the same guy whose extra-supernatural film work is on display at the Frye Art Museum right here in Seattle (always free) right now in the show Young Blood, alongside the unfathomable paintings his brother Noah Davis left behind before his passing late last year. (Shout-out to their childhood friend and upright visionary Maikoiyo Alley-Barnes for curating this, and much else.)

It was Joseph's breakthrough work with Shabazz Palaces where I first recognized the aesthetics that Lemonade took to the fucking bank—not that you're gonna see too many folks mention that shit, so I will, every time. I just want you to recognize the fact that the very top of the cultural food chain is not only eyeing, but wielding, original Black vision that originated right here in Seattle, where they pay it little more than lip service and try to Xerox. Recognize the real shit amongst you, lift it up, speak upon its influence when you can, because the default setting here is to let it go unsaid or undersold. And I know there's plenty of it here that I'm missing, haven't peeped, so feel free to put me on, or just lift it up yourself. I see you. recommended

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