Black Parade (song)
|Single by Beyoncé|
|from the album The Lion King: The Gift|
|Released||June 19, 2020|
|Beyoncé singles chronology|
"Black Parade" (stylized in all caps) 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. 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.
Prior to the 2020 Black Lives Matter protests, the singer has repeatedly used her platform to raise her voice against racial inequality. 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". 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. Beyoncé urged Cameron to "take swift and decisive action in charging the officers". 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.
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". Jon Pareles of The New York Times described the music as drawing influences from "trap electronics, African songs, brass bands [and] gospel choirs". 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".
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. 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. 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". Beyoncé herself concluded that the song "celebrates you, your voice and your joy and will benefit black-owned small businesses".
“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." 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". Patrick Johnson for Hypebeast praised Beyoncé's "incredible, uplifting vocals" on the track. 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".
Kiana Fitzgerald for NPR declared "Black Parade" "a call to action and a salve for a wounded nation". 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". Mikael Wood of the Los Angeles Times described the track as "a sweeping yet fine-grained salute to blackness in its many forms". 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."
"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. 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)".
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". 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". Similarly, Black-owned skateboarding lifestyle brand Proper Gnar experienced "a precipitous rise in popularity and product orders". 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. 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".
- 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
|Digital Song Sales (Billboard)||1|
|Australia Urban (ARIA)||30|
|Belgium (Ultratip Flanders)||13|
|Canada (Canadian Hot 100)||70|
|New Zealand Hot Singles (RMNZ)||3|
|UK Singles (OCC)||49|
|US Billboard Hot 100||37|
|US Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs (Billboard)||18|
|US Rolling Stone Top 100||27|
|Various||June 19, 2020||Parkwood|||
|Italy||June 20, 2020||Contemporary hit radio||Sony|||
|United Kingdom||June 26, 2020||Parkwood|||
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