And unapologetically so.
Recently, the star has been the center of controversy and under heavy fire by critics as she released a new song and along with it, a provocative video called ‘Formation’. The video, set in New Orleans, makes references to black culture and conjures images that make the song a political statement. Beyoncé is undoubtedly one of the most recognized figures in the world, but even she is no stranger to the effects of racism. Her song has been viewed as racist and anti-white, but I’m here to say that ‘Formation’ is not for white people and that’s okay. There is a huge difference between being anti-white and supporting a pro-black movement. In conjunction with Kendrick Lamar’s explosive performance at the 2016 Grammy Awards, this is a major platform for the Black Lives Matter Movement. While presenting the final award of the night, Beyoncé made a small acknowledgement to her criticism by saying, “Art is the unapologetic celebration of culture through self expression.” ‘Formation’ forever changes the way we listen to and see Beyoncé and here’s why:
1. The song premiered on what would have been Treyvon Martin’s birthday and the day before Sandra Bland’s birthday.
2. Beyoncé’s Superbowl Halftime show celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Black Panther Party. Her dancers all wore berets which was an iconic symbol for women affiliated with the party.
3. She also paid tribute to the late Michael Jackson, who was always known for being proud of his blackness, despite his skin color.
4. The sinking police car represents the failure of the federal government to help the hundreds of black Americans in need during Hurricane Katrina and the horrors of systematic oppression of colored communities.
5. The young boy who is basically conducting a police line up represents the staggering number of unarmed black persons killed by police. The ‘Hands up, don’t shoot,’ motto comes straight from Ferguson, Missouri after the death of Mike Brown.
6. “I got hot sauce in my bag, swag.”
The hot sauce in Beyoncé’s bag acts as a cultural weapon. She has always been from the South and she has never been scared to let us know that. This isn’t a reference to how she enjoys her food. It’s a reminder.
7. She responds to critics who say that Blue Ivy should have her hair done. All her dancers are black women wearing their natural hairstyles. She explains that natural hair is beautiful with, “I like my baby hair, with baby hair and afro.”
8. Lastly, she calls for all black women to get in formation; a call towards black feminism.
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