“Beyoncé and Her Husband”: Representing Infidelity and Kinship in a Black Marriage

By: Oneka Labennett ,  differences
September 1, 2018

Beyoncé and Her Husband

This article explores infidelity and kinship within representations of the marriage of two superstar African American performers, Beyoncé Giselle Knowles-Carter, popularly known as Beyoncé, and her husband, Shawn Carter, whose stage name is Jay-Z. It takes Beyoncé’s Peabody Award–winning twelve-track visual album Lemonade as its starting point, reading this work as a genre-defying autoethnographic text and situating the project’s representation of infidelity alongside Jay-Z’s subsequent response record, 4:44. Both albums and the couple’s marital and familial ties are also read alongside popular commentary, including Black Twitter discourses, online gossip and rumors, entertainment news, and cultural critiques.

I argue that Lemonade is an exercise in autoethnographic kinship formation, one that employs representations of Beyoncé and her family—defined both in the conventional sense of the nuclear family and biological kin and constructed more broadly to include a sisterhood of fictive kin—to reimagine how black marriage, sexuality, and kinship are popularly understood...

​Read the article in its entirety at differences A Journal of Feminist Cultural Studies.


"Professor Oneka LaBennett"