You can't hear the word "lemonade" these days without thinking of Beyoncé.
It's the name of her chart-topping visual album and it's the inspiration behind a new course taught by Dr. Kinitra D. Brooks, Assistant Professor of African American and Afro-Caribbean literature at The University of Texas at San Antonio.
The inspiration for the course, named "Black Women, Beyoncé and Popular Culture," came from a few places.
First, was Beyoncé's striking music video "Formation." After it premiered, Dr. Brooks and her students began to dissect it's content in relation to social issues. Secondly, she was inspired by the release of "The Lemonade Syllabus," by Candice Benbow.
Students who take the "Beyoncé class" will also study 19th century folklore, where Beyoncé is presented as a contemporary manifestation of The Conjure Woman.
"[Beyoncé] is changing identities. She goes from one type of woman to another," Dr. Brooks told Eye Opener. "She's able to change and deal with the idea of magic and... rootworking."
Brooks says they don't incorporate Beyoncé in the work every day, but the songs are a jumping off point for themes.
Beyoncé is used as a running thread throughout the course to help tie in other literary examples in African American literature.