Black Parade (song)

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"Black Parade"
Beyoncé - Black Parade.png
Single by Beyoncé
from the album The Lion King: The Gift
ReleasedJune 19, 2020 (2020-06-19)
Genre
Length
  • 4:41 (album version)
  • 5:16 (extended version)
Label
Songwriter(s)
Producer(s)
  • Beyoncé
  • Derek Dixie
Beyoncé singles chronology
"Savage (Remix)"
(2020)
"Black Parade"
(2020)
Audio video
"Black Parade" on YouTube

"Black Parade" (stylized in all caps[1]) is a song by American recording artist Beyoncé. It was released as a charity single on June 19, 2020, also referred to as Juneteenth, a day that originated in Beyoncé's home state, Texas, commemorating the end of slavery in the United States.[2] Released in the wake of George Floyd's death and the protests that followed it, the song serves as a celebration of black culture and the support of black activism. All proceeds from the song benefit BeyGOOD's Black Business Impact Fund, which helps black-owned small businesses in need. An online directory of black-owned businesses called "Black Parade Route" was launched alongside the single's release. The song was later included on the deluxe edition of The Lion King: The Gift, following the release of Beyoncé's visual album Black Is King.[3]

Background[edit]

Prior to the 2020 Black Lives Matter protests, the singer has repeatedly used her platform to raise her voice against racial inequality.[4] A few days after the killing of George Floyd, Beyoncé took to social media to demand justice for his death, urging fans and followers to sign the petition "Justice for George Floyd".[5] On June 14, 2020, she issued an open letter to Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron, calling out the lack of arrests in the case of Breonna Taylor, an unarmed black woman who was fatally shot by police in her own home in March 2020.[6] Beyoncé urged Cameron to "take swift and decisive action in charging the officers".[7] On Juneteenth 2020, the singer launched the "Black Parade Route" website which focuses on black-owned businesses, as well as black artists and creators. All proceeds from the song will benefit the BeyGOOD Black Business Impact Fund, administered by the National Urban League.[8]

Composition[edit]

Nina Corcoran for Consequence of Sound characterized "Black Parade" as a "celebratory blend of pop, trap, hip-hop, and electronica-verging on Detroit techno" with "cascading horns and a chipper flute melody".[9] Jon Pareles of The New York Times described the music as drawing influences from "trap electronics, African songs, brass bands [and] gospel choirs".[10] Mikael Wood of the Los Angeles Times wrote that the track "layers Beyoncé’s throaty singing and casually audacious rapping over a low-slung, brass-equipped groove".[11]

The song tackles issues such as black history, black culture, police brutality and the 2020 Black Lives Matter protests. It also finds the singer addressing her Texan roots as well as referencing the COVID-19 pandemic, the West African Orishas Oshun and Yemaya, and Black Lives Matter activist Tamika Mallory.[12][13] During the second verse, Beyoncé asks the listener to "show black love" and demands "peace and reparation for my people". She also gives mention to some of her influences, including Malcolm X, Martin Luther King Jr. and her mother Tina Knowles.[14] Jazz Tangcay of Variety noted that she pointed out the "pride of the community as the world is awakened to the plight of Black Americans".[15] Beyoncé herself concluded that the song "celebrates you, your voice and your joy and will benefit black-owned small businesses".[16]

Critical reception[edit]

“Black Parade” received widespread critical acclaim upon release. Idolator declared the track as "one of the year's best songs", with Mike Wass writing "It goes without saying that "Black Parade" is excellent and demands your full attention."[17][18] Time named "Black Parade" one of the best songs of June 2020, with Raisa Bruner calling the track "a tour-de-force of references: to black history, to African traditions, to her own family and past" and describing Beyoncé as "the queen of a generation providing guidance and assembling her listeners with black solidarity".[19] Patrick Johnson for Hypebeast praised Beyoncé's "incredible, uplifting vocals" on the track.[20] Jon Pareles of The New York Times opined that the track makes "ambitious, far-reaching connections", and wrote that "Beyoncé flaunts new melody ideas in each verse. Voices gather around her, as her solo strut turns into a parade, or a more purposeful march".[10]

Kiana Fitzgerald for NPR declared "Black Parade" "a call to action and a salve for a wounded nation".[21] Cori Murray, writing for Essence, called it "an ode to everything blackity, black, black as she takes listeners on a celebratory joyride from the past to the present", as well as "a Juneteenth anthem and call to action for black businesses".[22] Mikael Wood of the Los Angeles Times described the track as "a sweeping yet fine-grained salute to blackness in its many forms".[11] Wood further describes how there is no consensus on what the song of the summer should be like, however, he continues "Ideally, one song could exult, could object, could mourn, could reassure. And indeed, just such a tune appeared last week from Beyoncé, whose exuberant "Black Parade"... celebrates blackness in its many glories, even as it acknowledges the persistent threats of racism and police violence."[23]

Commercial performance[edit]

"Black Parade" debuted on the US Billboard Hot 100 at number 37 on July 4, 2020. The song became Beyoncé's 40th top 40 hit on the Billboard Hot 100, matching Michael Jackson.[24] The song debuted at number 1 on the Digital Song Sales chart with 18,000 sold, becoming her 9th number one on the chart and first solo number one since "Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)".[25]

Impact[edit]

Due to the release of "Black Parade" and the accompanying "Black Parade Route" initiative, Black-owned businesses have received increased attention. The Black-owned laundromat Celsious experienced "a massive uptick in online orders" after the release of "Black Parade". Brooklyn Tea co-founders Ali Wright and Jamila McGill described how they "went from having three orders a day to over 100. The year-over-year is like 2,300 percent".[26] Ellis Island Tea founder Nailah Ellis stated that a surge of online orders occurred after Beyoncé's shout-out. Detroit is the New Black founder Roslyn Karamoko called it "a blessing", describing how she "saw quite an increase in sales in June".[27] Similarly, Black-owned skateboarding lifestyle brand Proper Gnar experienced "a precipitous rise in popularity and product orders".[28] Natural skincare and wellness brand hanahana beauty saw a 300 percent increase in orders after its inclusion in the "Black Parade Route" and in magazines' social media posts.[29] Online dessert company Zac's Sweet Shop saw an increase in sales after being included in the directory, with owner Zachary Coughlin saying that it made him "even more proud of his identity, community and mission".[30]

Personnel[edit]

Credits adapted from Tidal.[1]

  • Recording and production
  • Beyoncé – lead artist, songwriting, composition, production
  • Derek James Dixie – songwriting, composition, production
  • Akil "Fresh" King – songwriting, composition
  • Brittany "@chi_coney" Coney – songwriting, composition
  • Denisia "@blu_june" Andrews – songwriting, composition
  • Kim "Kaydence" Krysiuk – songwriting, composition
  • Rickie "Caso" Tice – songwriting, composition
  • Shawn Carter – songwriting, composition
  • Stuart White – master engineering, mixing engineering, recording engineering
  • Additional musicians
  • Hailey Niswanger – flute
  • Arnetta Johnson – horn
  • Cameron Johnson – horn
  • Chris Johnson – horn
  • Christopher Gray – horn
  • Crystal Torres – horn
  • Lemar Guillary – horn
  • Pete Ortega – horn

Charts[edit]

Chart (2020) Peak
position
Digital Song Sales (Billboard)[31] 1
Australia (ARIA)[32] 76
Australia Urban (ARIA)[33] 30
Belgium (Ultratip Flanders)[34] 13
Canada (Canadian Hot 100)[35] 70
Ireland (IRMA)[36] 45
New Zealand Hot Singles (RMNZ)[37] 3
Scotland (OCC)[38] 25
UK Singles (OCC)[39] 49
US Billboard Hot 100[40] 37
US Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs (Billboard)[41] 18
US Rolling Stone Top 100[42] 27

Release history[edit]

Release dates and formats for "Black Parade"
Region Date Format Label Ref.
Various June 19, 2020 Parkwood [1]
Italy June 20, 2020 Contemporary hit radio Sony [43]
United Kingdom June 26, 2020 Parkwood [44]
Urban contemporary [45]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c "Black Parade by Beyoncé – TIDAL". Tidal. Retrieved June 20, 2020.
  2. ^ "Beyoncé releases surprise new song, Black Parade, on Juneteenth". The Guardian. June 20, 2020. Retrieved June 20, 2020.
  3. ^ "The Lion King: The Gift [Deluxe Edition] by Beyoncé on Apple Music". July 31, 2020. Retrieved July 31, 2020.
  4. ^ Cooper, Mariah (June 20, 2020). "Beyonce Drops Surprise New Song 'Black Parade' in Support of Black-Owned Businesses". US Magazine. Retrieved June 20, 2020.
  5. ^ Kreps, Daniel (May 30, 2020). "Beyoncé: 'We Need Justice for George Floyd'". Rolling Stone. Retrieved June 20, 2020.
  6. ^ Mizelle, Shawna; Sgueglia, Kristina (June 14, 2020). "Beyoncé pens open letter to Kentucky attorney general demanding justice for Breonna Taylor". CNN. Retrieved June 20, 2020.
  7. ^ Folley, Aris (June 14, 2020). "Beyoncé writes open letter calling for charges in Breonna Taylor case". The Hill. Retrieved June 20, 2020.
  8. ^ Kreps, Daniel (June 20, 2020). "Beyoncé Drops Surprise New Song 'Black Parade' on Juneteenth". Rolling Stone. Retrieved June 20, 2020.
  9. ^ "Beyoncé drops new song "Black Parade" to honor Juneteenth: Stream". Consequence of Sound. 2020-06-20. Retrieved 2020-06-21.
  10. ^ a b Pareles, Jon; Caramanica, Jon; Russonello, Giovanni (2020-06-26). "Beyoncé's Surprise Juneteenth Anthem, and 11 More New Songs". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2020-06-26.
  11. ^ a b "Beyoncé drops new song 'Black Parade' for Juneteenth: Listen". Los Angeles Times. 2020-06-20. Retrieved 2020-06-21.
  12. ^ Savage, Mark (June 20, 2020). "Beyoncé releases surprise new song, Black Parade, on Juneteenth". BBC. Retrieved June 20, 2020.
  13. ^ Spencer, Christian (2020-06-20). "'Black Parade' is Beyoncé's new single and Black-owned business initiative". TheGrio. Retrieved 2020-06-21.
  14. ^ Weaver, Hilary (June 20, 2020). "Beyoncé's 'Black Parade' Lyrics Are A Tribute To Her Heritage And Juneteenth". Elle. Retrieved June 20, 2020.
  15. ^ Tangcay, Jazz (June 19, 2020). "Beyonce Drops Blistering 'Black Parade,' Co-Written by Jay-Z, on Juneteenth Weekend". Variety. Retrieved June 20, 2020.
  16. ^ Warner, Denise (June 20, 2020). "Beyonce Drops Surprise Song 'Black Parade' on Juneteenth". Billboard. Retrieved June 20, 2020.
  17. ^ "Beyoncé Marks Juneteenth With New Single "Black Parade"". idolator. 2020-06-20. Retrieved 2020-06-21.
  18. ^ "Let's hope there's a video at some point! @Beyonce's "Black Parade" is one of the year's best songs". Idolator. Retrieved 2020-06-26.
  19. ^ "The Best New Songs of June 2020". Time. Retrieved 2020-06-23.
  20. ^ "Beyoncé and TIDAL Release Extended A Cappella Version of "Black Parade"". HYPEBEAST. Retrieved 2020-06-23.
  21. ^ "Beyoncé Releases New Song 'Black Parade' In The Final Hours Of Juneteenth". NPR.org. Retrieved 2020-06-21.
  22. ^ "Beyoncé's 'Black Parade' Is A Juneteenth Anthem And Call To Action For Black Businesses". Essence. Retrieved 2020-06-21.
  23. ^ Wood, Mikael (2020-06-26). "What is the song of summer? Music insiders spin the soundtrack for a once-in-a-lifetime season". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2020-06-26.
  24. ^ "Beyoncé Ties Michael Jackson With 'Black Parade' Hot 100 Debut". Billboard. 2020-07-01. Retrieved 2020-07-14.
  25. ^ Trust, Gary (June 29, 2020). "DaBaby & Roddy Ricch's 'Rockstar' Returns to No. 1 on Hot 100, Jack Harlow & Lil Mosey Earn Their First Top 10s". Billboard. Retrieved June 30, 2020.
  26. ^ Editors, The (2020-07-24). "We Asked 16 Black Business Owners What the Past Few Months Have Been Like". The Strategist. Retrieved 2020-07-28.CS1 maint: extra text: authors list (link)
  27. ^ Stitt, Chanel. "National, local Black-owned directories spiking sales for businesses". Detroit Free Press. Retrieved 2020-07-14.
  28. ^ "Introducing the First Black Woman-Owned Skateboard Company". Black Enterprise. 2020-07-12. Retrieved 2020-07-14.
  29. ^ Hillian, Shani. "Black-Owned Businesses Are Finally Getting Widespread Support—Here's How to Keep the Torch Ablaze". Bon Appétit. Retrieved 2020-07-14.
  30. ^ journalism, About Ronny Hu Ronny is a sophomore; law; history; news, culture major She has a passion for local; News, International; leisure. "USC Student-Owned Business Featured on Beyoncé's Black Parade Website". Arc Publishing. Retrieved 2020-07-28.
  31. ^ "Beyoncé Ties Michael Jackson's Top 40 Mark as 'Black Parade' Debuts on Billboard Hot 100". Billboard. July 1, 2020. Retrieved October 1, 2020.
  32. ^ "The ARIA Report: Week Commencing 29 June 2020". No. 1582. Australian Recording Industry Association. June 29, 2020. Cite magazine requires |magazine= (help)
  33. ^ "ARIA URBAN SINGLES CHART" (PDF). Australian Recording Industry Association. June 29, 2020. Retrieved July 3, 2020.
  34. ^ "Ultratop.be – Beyonce – Black Parade" (in Dutch). Ultratip. Retrieved July 24, 2020.
  35. ^ "Beyonce Chart History (Canadian Hot 100)". Billboard.
  36. ^ "Official Irish Singles Chart Top 50". Official Charts Company. Retrieved June 26, 2020.
  37. ^ "NZ Hot Singles Chart". Recorded Music NZ. June 29, 2020. Retrieved June 27, 2020.
  38. ^ "Official Scottish Singles Sales Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved June 26, 2020.
  39. ^ "Official Singles Chart Top 100". Official Charts Company. Retrieved June 26, 2020.
  40. ^ "Beyonce Chart History (Hot 100)". Billboard. Retrieved June 29, 2020.
  41. ^ "Beyonce Chart History (Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs)". Billboard. Retrieved June 29, 2020.
  42. ^ "Top 100 Songs". Rolling Stone charts. Retrieved July 3, 2020.
  43. ^ Pagura, Chiara (June 20, 2020). "BEYONCÉ "Black Parade" | (Radio Date: 20/06/2020)". radiodate.it (in Italian).
  44. ^ BBC - Radio 1 Playlist at the Wayback Machine (archived June 26, 2020)
  45. ^ BBC - The 1Xtra Playlist at the Wayback Machine (archived June 27, 2020)