If you're wondering what's been happening over at the Knowles-Carter house since Lemonade was released, "The Lemons"—a fanfiction series based on Beyoncé, Jay Z, and friends—has all of the answers. Baltimore native Eric Richardson started sending out funny tweets after watching the visual album with his wife. After a positive response and a push from some of his followers, he decided to go all in, publishing the epic tale of revenge on Wordpress.
"[Beyoncé] was so in your face about it, she basically went straight at Jay. I was like 'Man, I wonder what it’s like at home?'" Eric told us over the phone.
"The Lemons" takes place in Jay Z and Beyoncé's home, which has a pool "even bigger than Drake’s which is bigger than Ye’s" and Komodo dragons as guards. It includes cameos from Bey's mom Tina Knowles, sister Solange Knowles, and Kanye West, as well as Taraji P. Henson and Ava DuVernay, imagined as members of Beyoncé's girl gang. There are two Beanie Sigel references and J. Cole goes on a quest to find Prince kale and lemon juice. Basically, it's required reading.
We spoke with Eric about his inspiration for the characters, if he thinks Jay's implied infidelity in Lemonade really happened, and when he's releasing the next part of his fanfiction series.
What do you find fascinating about Beyoncé and Jay Z's relationship?
The fact that she’s the most popular singer and he’s the most popular rapper, and they just found each other and now they are this huge power couple. Growing up around black women, I have to wonder how the relationship really goes. Everybody expects Jay to be this macho guy, but you’ve seen pictures of him diving in the water and throwing footballs. He doesn’t look like the guy wearing the pants sometimes.
All of the women in the story are really just bossing Jay Z around.
If you’ve ever been in a situation when one guy has been caught on some bullshit, all of the women are going to be against him from the get-go, like, "We’re just going to shit on you and you’re going to have to get over it." And the guy has to sit there and take it. It’s always funny in movies and television shows, so I thought it would be humorous to think of that happening to Jay Z.
The way you portray Beyoncé, she’s totally in charge and kind of mean.
I wanted to make her a caricature of how people see her. She’s basically a word now. People say: "I’m the Beyoncé of the group." She’s the idea of the ultimate boss bitch. I figured being the way she is she would talk like a mixture of a queen and an old Houston ghetto chick. So, one minute she would be like, "Oh please, sir would you help me with this?” and then she’ll be like, “Nigga, you got to go.” I thought it would just be funny to have her go between the two.
Why did you decide to include Taraji P. Henson and Ava DuVernay?
When I was making up the tweets, I thought, who are some black women that would probably want to talk to Beyoncé and have the strongest and funniest opinions? And for some reason, I always bring up Ava DuVernay because I just think she’s really awesome. Of course, Taraji is one of the hottest actresses out right now playing Cookie [on Empire]. People are just finding out about her when we’ve known about her since Baby Boy and the movies she did with Terrence Howard [Hustle & Flow].
Prince comes out of the house and asks for kale.
The whole idea of fanfiction is just taking stuff that already exists. You can either keep the story going or make your own alternate universe. Prince just passed and it would seem tasteless to me if I didn’t reference him. So, why not just bring him to life? I also hear he was vegan and liked vegetables, and I know kale is my least favorite vegetable. There’s nothing more vegan than kale. I think that would be his preferred vegetable.
Do you think it’s all true [the cheating plot of Lemonade]?
That’s the thing about it: Beyoncé is an entertainer and clearly she’s a veteran. I would think that with the rumors going around, there were some things that were going on, so she just figured, I’m going to make a whole album about my emotions. I write raps and stuff too; sometimes you’ll exaggerate what you’re feeling to make better music. For all we know, he might not have even cheated. He might have just looked at a chick.
Do you plan to continue your stories?
Yes. I didn’t know it was going to get so popular, but I was having so much fun with it and making them into my own kind of characters. Right now, I’m already up to part four. I want to see how long I can keep it going, like my own little Trapped in the Closet.
Read "The Lemons" part one and two here.
This interview has been condensed and edited for clarity.
Tahirah Hairston is a style writer from Detroit who likes Susan Miller, Rihanna's friend's Instagram accounts, ramen and ugly-but cute shoes.