As you all might have heard, Beyonce surprised her fans on Saturday, February 6, 2016 by dropping “Formation,” her newest single and music video.
The political single gives us a textured voyage through the Southern Gothic culture. Beyonce’s newest video takes us back to her family’s roots, places us in a post-Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans, leads us through corner stores, beauty shops, parlors, and the most suggestive scene, atop a police cruiser sinking into a flood of water.
Just like all of Beyonce’s other music videos, she always incorporates some sort of activism. She gives her fans something to be motivated about and uses her platform to better people. In “Formation,” she did exactly that with the ever-so-famous line, “Okay, ladies, now let’s get in formation.” This distinct line is a call to black women around the world who have been historically overlooked in the activist sphere.
Now, with “Formation,” Beyonce’s focus has moved toward aligning herself with the #BlackLivesMatter movement. Near the end of the video, the camera pans over to graffiti that reads “Stop shooting us.” She also included a young black child with a black hoodie on, dancing with joy and emotion in front of a line of white police officers outfitted with riot gear.
Some viewers took this scene as empowering, but others viewed it as an explicit implication of police violence.
“I think Beyonce was just using this scene as a symbol to portray the Black Lives Matter movement. It was meant to focus on the kid, and how he is still going to be a carefree black boy even with a wall of police officers in his way. When he stops dancing, he puts his hands up in the air as do the police officers. This is a symbol of peace between the police and the black child. In the end, this scene is just showing an end to all the violence, not any tope of mockery toward the police,” says sophomore Gennyka Liebenthal.
The music video alone was enough to get many people fired up, but it was nothing compared to her performance during the Super Bowl halftime show.
On Sunday, February 7, 2016, Beyonce marched onto the field at Levi’s Stadium dressed in a gold cross-body harness in tribute to Michael Jackson’s 1993 Halftime Show performance. Her dance crew, however, were dressed in black leather and berets, a reference to the 50th anniversary of the founding of the Black Panthers, a militant organization that actively fought against police brutality in the 60’s.
Beyonce slayed the show with “Formation,” but apparently not everyone loved the fierce and magical performance. In fact, some NFL fans were so angered at the pop singer that there was an anti-Beyonce rally planned for February 16,2016 at the NFL headquarters in Manhattan.
The invite suggests Beyonce’s performance was racist, and reads, “Are you offended as an American that Beyonce pulled her race-baiting stunt at the Superbowl? Do you agree that it was a slap in the face to law enforcement? Do you agree that the Black Panthers was/is a hate group which should not be glorified? Come and let’s stand together. Let’s tell the NFL we don’t want hate speech & racism at the Superbowl ever again!”
“I feel like people are overreacting. She had something controversial to say and she knew what the consequences would be. I think it’s unnecessary for this rally to take place. You don’t see me going on an anti-Katy Perry rally just because I thought her riding on a giant mechanical lion wasn’t “appropriate,”‘ says sophomore Nyles Glover.
Don’t worry though, Beyonce fans will be there to support her, too. In fact, there’s already a protest protesting the Beyonce protest.
They might run a little late though because they will probably be trying to score front row seats to her world tour, “Formation,” that she announced after her Super Bowl halftime show performance with this awesome trailer:
What side are you on? Do you think Beyonce got her message out appropriately, or did she take it too far?