From Serena Williams to pint-sized former Oscar nominee Quvenzhané Wallis, here's who helped Beyoncé's vision come to life

By Lindsay Kimble
April 28, 2016 02:00 PM
Source: Beyonce/YouTube

The Internet may be focused on hunting down "Becky with the good hair," but we’re stuck on the women standing with and by Beyoncé in her powerful, one-of-a-kind visual album Lemonade.

While Blue Ivy and Jay Z‘s cameos in the HBO special were expected (the family has shared the screen before), a number of female Hollywood power players also got into costume to support Beyoncé’s eye-opening endeavor.

From tennis champion Serena Williams to 93-year-old Creole cooking legend Leah Chase, here’s who Queen Bey tapped to make lemonade – and why.

Serena Williams

While Beyoncé chucks her deuces up, Grand Slam queen Williams twerks beside her in a black leotard during revenge track “Sorry.”

Williams has appeared in a Beyoncé video before – of her own making. She completely re-created the star’s “7/11” clip with Vogue last year, working in tennis balls and racquets. Audition tape, anyone?

Winnie Harlow

Canadian model Winnie Harlow – recognizable as the stunning beauty with a rare vitiligo skin condition – appeared in various scenes from Lemonade, notably wearing a crown of silver thorns in “Freedom.”

Of filming, Harlow, 21, told Billboard, “The theme of my whole trip [was] “anything for Beyoncé.” In fact, the model lent her favorite boots to the pop star for a dance sequence. While the shoes were never returned, she got an even better pair in exchange: Bey’s own!

Leah Chase

At 93, Leah Chase is definitely the oldest squad member – and also one of the most influential. The famous Creole chef owns New Orlean’s Dooky Chase’s and will receive this year’s James Beard Foundation Lifetime Achievement Award.

Fun fact: Chase actually served as one of the inspirations for Tiana’s character in Disney’s The Princess and the Frog.

Ballerina Michaela DePrince

Young ballerina Michaela DePrince, 21, dances in a flouncy white dress during the black-and-white segments of “Freedom,” and joins some of Lemonade‘s other women around an outdoor table.

DePrince, who is a member of the Dutch National Ballet, told The Wall Street Journal that she “thought it was a joke” when she was told Beyoncé wanted her for the special. She said that she shot her sequences over two days at a New Orleans plantation last December.

“She walked up to me and said, ‘It’s such an honor to have you here,’ ” DePrince told WSJ. “I was really cheesy and said, ‘The honor is mine.’ I was on cloud nine.”

The Taking Flight: From War Orphan to Star Ballerina author was born in Sierra Leone, left an orphan after her parents died during the civil war.

Quvenzhané Wallis and Ava Clarke

Holding hands with Blue Ivy, herself, Quevenzhané Wallis, 12, sports a straw hat during the group scenes of “Freedom.”

The preteen is already quite an established actress: she was up for Best Actress at the Oscars for her role as Hushpuppy in 2012’s Beasts of the Southern Wild, making her the youngest nominee of all time in that category.

Child model Ava Clark, 8 – who was born with albinism – also appears toward the video’s tail-end.

Chloe and Halle Bailey, Ibeyi, Amandla Sternberg and Zendaya
Lemonade‘s triumphant ending also brings together some of Beyoncé’s musical protégés, as well as two of the hottest, young black stars – both of whom are making waves as cultural ambassadors.

Amandla Sternberg and Zendaya flank the pop diva on rustic steps, before joining her around the already-mentioned enviable dinner party table.

The girls are joined by Beyoncé’s Parkwood Entertainment label clients Chloe and Halle Bailey, the teen sisters that she signed just last year. The Bailey girls’ debut EP, Sugar Symphony, is due out on Friday.

French-Cuban duo Ibeyi also appears. Lia-Kinsé Diaz and twin Naomi Diaz debuted their first album last year at age 20.

Sybrina Fulton, Gwen Carr and Lesley McSpadden

The mothers of several black men who were killed by police in the past few years pop up in Lemonade holding portraits of their fallen sons.

Trayvon Martin’s mother, Sybrina Fulton; Eric Garner’s mother, Gwen Carr; and Michael Brown’s mother, Lezley McSpadden were “honored” to appear in the video, their attorney Ben Crump said, according to the Tallahassee Democrat.

“They were very pleased that she would use her platform to promote and raise awareness of the need for change,” Crump said, noting that, “Our client participation in this film was to inspire and serve as encouragement to the many mothers who have tragically lost their sons to senseless gun violence and choose to advocate for change in the memory of their sons.”

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