The book is a course in black feminism that anyone can take, even if he or she can’t attend UT Austin. But more than that, the book is a jubilant love letter to Beyoncé and her place in the culture. It’s an exceptional close reading of Beyoncé’s 2016 visual album, Lemonade. And it’s an insightful memoir of queer black womanhood in 21st-century America ... Tinsley has a posture. She defends her position as a femme in an academic field that, in some interpretations, finds feminine markers unfeminist. Tinsley’s view is that 'femme-inism' is certainly still feminist ... To Annie Lennox’s put-down of Beyoncé’s tactics, Tinsley responds, 'Why, after all, would Lennox assume women choose ‘glamour, femininity, and femme presentations’ for men’s pleasure only?'
Divided into three sections that correspond to the album’s songs, videos, and progression, the book seems to translate the visual and audio to another plane entirely, and will undoubtedly inspire much rewatching and relistening. Tinsley’s many lenses, both academic and personal, make for a rich and exciting study of the modern masterpiece she calls '(arguably) the most widely distributed black feminist text of the current moment.'
[Tinsley] adds to the ever-expanding feminist scholarship on Beyoncé by analyzing Lemonade through a personal lens as a black, queer 'femmenist' with connections to the South. Part memoir, part pop-culture scholarship, this slim, engaging book uses Beyoncé as a springboard for wide-ranging ruminations on sexuality, motherhood and activism, among other big ideas. The book also begins to fill a black femme void in feminist and queer academia ... [Tinsley's] approach makes for a robust work of scholarship, but sometimes results in Tinsley’s own thoughts feeling lost among so many lengthy quotes. There are also a few moments when she tries to establish connections that seem too tenuous, such as one out-of-place story about her grandfather. The book shines, however, when Tinsley writes about the joys, challenges and dangers of black motherhood.