For Beyoncé, a song is never just a song; a video is never just a video; a dress is never just a dress. And though her recent launch of Lemonade was filled with fashion that had the world abuzz (that floral Gucci suit, that billowing long-sleeved Rosie Assoulin top, that two-piece Yeezy look topped with a furry Hood by Air coat), the visual of
Queen Empress Bey smashing car windows with a baseball bat decked in a ruffled yellow gown is one we (and the rest of the internet) can't get out of our minds.
But the off-the-shoulder Roberto Cavalli number (designed by creative director Peter Dundas for the label's fall/winter 2016 collection) was, naturally, selected for reasons outside of it being ah-mazing. In fact, speculation has surfaced that the styling was meant to channel African goddess Oshun, the Yoruba deity of love. Facebook user Tasha Robinson posted on Sunday: "Yall think Beyonce was just breaking windows twerking and playing in water. No she was portraying OSHUN a Yoruba orisha ??? Sensual, sexual, beautiful Goddess, Deity who is a healer, gives life, growth, luxury, change and prosperity. That was the message of lemonade. Love, Change and Proseperity."
User Maximiliano Goiz dove even deeper into the meaning behind the outfit in "Hold Up," writing: "[Oshun] has been a victim of abuse, neglect, and loss, which is the reason so many women whom have experienced those actions worship [her]. When she seeks out revenge for those who have hurt her– and her children– she is unpredictable in her methods and temper. She can show herself laughing, dancing and joyous, all while unleashing a wrath on those who cross her. It only makes sense that Beyoncé would allude to Oshun's imagery and personification in an album that is intended to conceptualize a woman's journey of self knowledge and healing, specifically that of a black woman's journey. Oshun symbolizes just that." Though the video's stylist B. Akerlund didn't confirm that Beyoncé was, in fact, channeling the deity, she did give insight into how the highly memorable look came about. In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, she explained: "We had another outfit already chosen [to wear], and then that yellow Roberto Cavalli dress showed up a day late, because it was right off the runway [from the fall 2016 collection]. We weren’t feeling the other dress and we put on the Cavalli and, in that moment, knew it was the ultimate vision of what that video needed to be." "With the context of the video being a little bit violent, we were really looking for something of the opposite to make it flirty and positive and sexy and to sort of enhance a woman’s strengths," she continued, further enhancing the Oshun allusion. "You can be emotional, but yet sexy and strong without giving too much."