Last Saturday’s release of Beyonce’s Formation was felt on so many different levels. From politicians like former Mayor Gulianni, the audience of Super Bowl 50 half time show, the Beyhive to documentarians such as Chris Black and Abteen Bagheri and back to activists- quite a conversation stirred on the interwebs about the singer’s latest single.
Contrary to popular belief, the song itself did not touch upon police brutality; it was the track’s performance at SB50 and its music video that had a vast majority wanting to boycott Queen Bey for being “politically incorrect”. And although we may not ever know the true meaning behind the creative decisions in these two visual displays (can you imagine the brainstorming sessions to create such vision!) It is almost certain the song itself was created to make black beautiful, just as the visionaries of the 60’s and 70’s sought to do. Nina Simone spearheaded that movement when she recorded To Be Young, Gifted and Black. It is this idea married to concepts which allure Black Power in a Black Panther sort of way that got Rudy Gulianni and others offended typing up a twitter storm.
The concept behind the performance at the Super Bowl dripped of historical references just like the music “short-film” does. Here’s how:
1) The Black Panther Party Turns Fifty This Year
This year in October marks the 50th anniversary of the formation of the Black Panthers. And although the end of the Black Panther Party was messy, it was the last of a true revolutionary movement that shaped our present day country and held many honorable beliefs at it’s inception. Don’t believe it? Check out the PBS Documentary set to release this 16th of February , The Black Panthers: The Vanguard of a Revolution.
2) An Homage to the late King Of Pop, Michael Jackson
Yeaaaa her outfit was almost identical of what MJ wore when he performed at the Super Bowl in 1993. Michael’s message? Don’t matter if you’re black or white!
3) In the video, attention is called to Hurricane Katrina
Messy Mya opens the video asking an imperative question “What happened after New Orleans?” Well, the residents would answer a whole load of nothing. Beyonce does state her in the song’s lyrics her mother is from Louisiana-so maybe she felt partial to the struggle there after Katrina hit. So what is so offensive about a pop star donating time and funds to better a community?
The fourth reference is the scene where a small black boy is seen dancing in front of a line of police officers. At first we can easily pair this with the recent historical movement of #BLACKLIVESMATTER and say Beyonce stands with the movement; but first let’s remove any references to the modern day activist group and see the scene for what it is. A small black child is dancing and letters flash before the screen: Stop Shooting Us. Who are us? The future…children are the future. The visual insinuates not only for the present police brutality to end but also for violence within the black community to end as well, in protection of the future. The future may hold the magic and the power that is sought after to lead to change. Afterall, in this scene both child and police have their hands up in unity.
Beyonce’s #FORMATION was something we did not get enough of this week. Many hated it-others understood it on a whole other level, and everyone had something to say. One thing cannot be argued, Beyonce is an Icon and she used her platform to demonstrate she’s aware of her environment.Stay Woke.