5 Pop Culture & Historical References In Beyonce's 'Lemonade'

If you're anything like me, you're currently listening to Beyonce's new album Lemonade for the second (or third or fourth) time. Beyonce debuted Lemonade in an HBO special on Saturday night, and since the visual album dropped, the Beyhive has been abuzz with the news.

For now, let's all just sit back, relax, and jam out to the incredible music of Beyonce. Lemonade is a fantastic, powerful, and feminist work of art, and, in typical Beyonce fashion, it's also chock-full of important pop culture and historical references. Here are a few:

1. Poetry Of Warsan Shire

The poetry of Warsan Shire played a prominent role in the HBO special, Lemonade. Beyonce quoted from her book Teaching My Mother How To Give Birth and from the poem "For Women Who Are Difficult To Love."

This isn't the first time Beyonce has quoted literary figures in her work. She famously featured Nigerian author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie on "***Flawless."

2. Malcolm X

In "Don't Hurt Yourself," a quote from Malcolm X plays: "The most disrespected person in America is the black woman. The most unprotected person in America is the black woman." Here's the speech in full.

3. Trayvon Martin & Mike Brown

In a chapter of the visual album called "Resurrection," the mothers of Trayvon Martin and Mike Brown made an appearance. The mothers both held images of their sons.

4. Messy Mya

TheeHHGz on YouTube

Lemonade the film features several scenes in New Orleans, and the song "Formation" also includes a reference to the city in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. In the intro to the song, Messy Mya — a New Orleans-based YouTube personality who was murdered in 2010 — can be heard saying, "What happened at the New Wil'ins?" The line is taken from a 2010 YouTube video posted by Mya before his death.

5. The Illuminati

Beyonce has, one more than one occasion, been labeled as a member the Illuminati, a "secret society" in pursuit of a totalitarian world government. Yep, it sounds pretty ridiculous. In "Formation," she addresses the rumors:

Y'all haters corny with that Illuminati mess

Images: Wikipedia Commons