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Black Women

My Daddy Said Shoot

W hat happens when your husband is just like your father?

In June of 2003, Beyonce broke the internet/television/radio/album sales/etc with the release of her first solo album, Dangerously In Love. I just turned 20 years old when the album dropped, and as the saying goes, it gave me life. Here was this unabashedly beautiful, classy, and talented woman, serenading the world with songs of love, (youthful) female empowerment, and a ballad to her father, Matthew Knowles.

We all know the troubled history within the Knowles family as it pertains to fidelity. Matthew cheated on Tina. Beyonce has now spoken on the matter quite poetically in “Daddy Lessons” on her new album.

But here’s my question again – what happens when your husband is just like your father?

The song, “Daddy”, from Dangerously In Love was a beautiful ode to fathers everywhere. The pride that daughters feel when they see their fathers, the way they make us feel like princesses, the way they are selfless in teaching and guiding us.

But here’s my question again – what happens when your husband is just like your father?

Beyonce sings, “I want my unborn son to be like my daddy/ I want my husband to be like my daddy/ There is no one else like my daddy / And I thank you for loving me”. Knowing what we now know about Matthew and Tina, those words hurt. The devastation of watching the pedestal crumble, and seeing your daddy face down on the ground, coupled with the heartbreak of your mother, and your own disillusionment.

Lemonade carries this pain. On the song “Daddy Lessons” (which is undoubtedly my favorite on the entire album), she sings, “He told me when he’s gone /Here’s what you do /When trouble comes to town / And men like me come around / Oh, my daddy said shoot / Oh, my daddy said shoot.”

What happens when your husband is just like your father? When you marry a man who seems to be supportive and loving, like your father? When you marry a man who loves his daughter and helps provide for her to the highest degree possible, like your father? When you marry a man who is unfaithful, just like your father?

The adage, “Do as I say, not as I do” rings hollow. How can a man expect for his daughter what he refuses to give his wife?

What happens when your husband is just like your father? When you marry a man who seems to be supportive and loving, like your father? When you marry a man who loves his daughter and helps provide for her to the highest degree possible, like your father? When you marry a man who is unfaithful, just like your father?

The unfortunate irony is when your husband is exactly the kind of man your father is – a good father, a good (co-) provider, but an unfaithful partner.

For countless women with “good fathers,” our daddys are the first men we love. They are our models for masculinity, chivalry, and more. Every little girl with a “good father” put her daddy on a pedestal, holding him to god-like standards of infallibility. And our daddys want us to have husbands who are worthy of their little princesses.

For me, the most beautiful aspect of Lemonade is the fact that Beyonce addresses her pain, hurt, and love for her father. The song “Daddy Lessons” seems to be Beyonce’s attempt to grapple with her father’s fall from glory, while recognizing that she loves what he instilled in her.

It seems a logical step on the path to (re)formation for a woman/wife, who is grappling with the pain of infidelity, both from her husband and her father, to reflect on her love for the first man in her life. And if she is able to love her fallible, fallen father, maybe, just maybe, she is able to love her fallen husband.

I still have questions on how to navigate this tricky terrain. But as a woman who sees glimpses of herself in Beyonce’s stories, I’m thankful to know that she was both able to heal and able to provide a blueprint for healing.


*I acknowledge that this is a cisgender focused outlook. I know this isn’t everyone’s experience, but I feel it best to leave non-cis perspectives to those who can speak to them most accurately and personally.

By Bethany Criss-June

Bethany is a black woman. She is also a mother and a wife. She advocates and mobilizes around issues affecting black women and girls. Their stories, identities, representations, and overall flyness consume her. There's nothing she wants more in life than to see her daughter successfully navigate black womanhood in America.