Late Thursday evening, Beyoncé surprised the world by dropping her fifth studio release, an incredible "visual album" featuring 14 songs and 17 music videos.
In the song "Flawless" (previously released as "Bow Down"), she samples the words of the famous Nigerian Author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.
Her most famous works include this year's Americanah, a novel that beautifully meditates on race, identity, love, and diaspora, and Half of a Yellow Sun, a powerful story centered around Nigeria's civil war (that has now been adapted into a movie).
Awkwardly, her name is misspelled (missing the second "i") on iTunes, where the album is available exclusively until its physical release next week.
On the song, Beyoncé samples a humorous and powerful TED talk where Adichie argues, "We should all be feminists."
Her sample of the speech reflects many of the things Beyoncé explores in this album: love, sexuality, empowerment, and marriage.
"We teach girls to shrink themselves, to make themselves smaller. We say to girls, you can have ambition, but not too much. You should aim to be successful, but not too successful. Otherwise, you would threaten the man. Because I am female, I am expected to aspire to marriage. I am expected to make my life choices always keeping in mind that marriage is the most important. Now marriage can be a source of joy and love and mutual support but why do we teach girls to aspire to marriage and we don't teach boys the same? We raise girls to see each other as competitors not for jobs or accomplishments, which I think can be a good thing, but for the attention of men. We teach girls that they cannot be sexual beings in the way that boys are."
And she ends the sample with Adichie's definition of "feminist":
"Feminist: a person who believes in the social, political, economic equality of the sexes."