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The Lemonade Syllabus Brings the Classroom to Beyoncé Fans this Summer


If you’re still obsessing over Beyonce’s Lemonade and you’re starting to prep your summer reading list, the Lemonade Syllabus has you covered.

Last week, Candice Benbow, a PhD student at the Princeton Theological Seminary and a lecturer of women’s and gender studies at Rutgers University, debuted a complete list of more than 200 novels, non-fiction works, poetry, music and more that have a topical connection to Beyonce’s visual tale that were written and created by Black women.

Photo Courtesy of Candice Benbow



“I made it as a love offering to Black women... Showing sisters that we see each other and we love each other,” she said.

After the visuals for Beyonce's 6th album debuted on HBO, Benbow received calls from friends asking for suggestions of literary materials that could help them better understand the piece. After the third or fourth request she decided to make a syllabus for the summer, she said.

She emailed her academic peers for recommendations but the support really began rolling in with her three day social media campaign. Hundreds of users submitted their recommendations with the hashtag #LemonadeSyllabus.

“It became much more than just explaining Lemonade, it became a catalog of Black womanhood of the past present and future." she said.

Benbow whittled down the submissions to 258 sources, with works from notable names like Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Toni Morrison and bell hooks. But the syllabus goes beyond these iconic names with genres that range the spectrum from Black feminist literature, religion and womanist theory, non-fiction historical and cultural studies and more. The syllabus is as nuanced as the album Lemonade itself - there's is something in it for everyone.

It has caught the attention of members of the BeyHive and intellectuals alike. As the syllabus went viral, heartfelt responses have poured in from excited fans and celebrities, even inspiring teachers to bring the syllabus to the classroom with responses from "educators from all levels of education who have said 'I’m using your Lemonade Syllabus,"” Benbow said.

I am overwhelmed by and excited by this resource. #LemonadeSyllabus https://t.co/X3MGdjqscI
— Laverne Cox (@Lavernecox) May 18, 2016

The Lemonade Syllabus is a great guide to understand not only Beyonce’s 6th album, but Black womanhood and identity. Your summer will not be complete without a few books from this list, and of course, a pitcher of lemonade.

Brianna Patterson is a student, journalist, creative writer and editorial intern at ForHarriet.com. You can find her work at AnnaSonWrites.tumblr.com  or on twitter at @Anna__Son


Header photo: CandiceBenbow.com




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