In many ways, “Black Parade,” the surprise single Beyoncé released on the night of Juneteenth, is a consistent extension of Homecoming and auxiliary projects EVERYTHING IS LOVE (2018) and The Lion King: The Gift (2019), where celebrating Blackness and Black sounds were main concerns. But, here, everything is better. Her vocal is an elastic, shapeshifting thing that deftly switches between different flows and melodies. Her music is swelling, polyrhythmic, and lovely, anchored somewhere between the HBCU marching band tradition of Homecoming and the thrilling diasporic sounds of The Gift. Her words are sharp and vibrant and continue to tell stories of community, self-love, spirituality and powerfully affirm that the color of her skin is the source of her worth.
Crucially, “Black Parade” is attuned to our moment in history and arises as a song of protest. Though it shines with solidarity, it simmers with a palpable anger.