Beyonce has been looked at as one of the most influential musicians of our time. She had all the single women feeling good about themselves with “Single Ladies.” She had everyone thinking about gender roles with “If I Were A Boy.” She has become a role model for people of all backgrounds and lifestyles; so why are people making a fuss about her Super Bowl performance and her music video to her new song “Formation”?
Let’s start with her Super Bowl 2016 halftime performance. Beyonce and her team of absolutely stunning dancers, equipped with afros to high heaven and black, leather attire, came out on the football field in a marching band style. They broke it down to Beyonce’s new song “Formation,” which was just released February 6th.
The dancers wore their hair naturally, had on all black outfits, and had berets in their hair. Many people equated this to Beyonce being a Black Panther or supporting the Black Panther movement, which began in the 1960 as a response to the discrimination African Americans felt at that time. The Black Panthers were an armed group and were specifically against police violence against African Americans.
Who cares if Beyonce’s dancers resembled the Black Panther Party? There are many white music performers who rock the Confederate flag with no shame at many of their live performances, like Kid Rock and Lynyrd Skynyrd. Many country songs have lyrics mentioning the rebel flag. I see the Confederate flag all over in Southern Virginia where I live! Not once have I seen a member of the Black Panther Party in real life.
If you like it or not, during the Civil War, the Confederates were fighting for their economy and way of life, which was successful because of slavery. Therefore, they were fighting for the perpetuation of slavery. The Black Panthers, even though they used violence, were created in response to an even more violent movement against Africans for hundreds of years. At least the Black Panthers were fighting for rights, not fighting to take them away from a group of people, like many white organizations still in existence (i.e. the KKK).
This leads me into the discussion of Beyonce’s “Formation” music video. I suggest that you watch the music video before continuing this article, so you understand what scenes I am referring to. Many people are saying that this video is against police officers and other accusations that are honestly, ridiculous. “Formation’s” lyrics are unapologetically black and show that Beyonce is proud of her lineage and where she came from, “My daddy Alabama, Momma Louisiana. You mix that Negro with that Creole make a Texas bama…”
The music video has images of black women dressed from all time periods. From colonial times to 2016, all parts of black history are portrayed. Western media mostly tells white people’s stories. Our media is dominated by the Anglo-culture and we equate the white experience to the norm, the default setting of life. But that is not true at all. “Formation” is about Beyonce portraying her side of the experience. She is a black woman and wants her story to be heard, along with the other African Americans who still face the scars of slavery and a pre-civil rights movement society everyday. Anglo-culture has been the standard of beauty, intelligence, and even civilization for hundreds of years, and you are mad that Beyonce drowned a cop car in her music video?
And with the police brutality issue… The U.S. had over 1,000 deaths in 2015 caused by police. Other Western, developed countries are appalled if they even have one death caused by police per year. There needs to be a restructuring of the police force in the United States if civilians are dying at that rate. I am not going to dwell any more on this issue because it is a whole other can of worms, but it is something to consider when watching Beyonce’s “Formation.”
Beyonce stands with her black brothers and sisters and supports the “Black Lives Matter” movement, which is surrounded by the police brutality recently. She represents this movement in the video with an African American child dancing in front of police in full riot gear. They put their hands up while the boy dances to show they stand in solidarity with him and the rest of the black community. In my opinion, this shows hope that we can all stand together in fighting for human rights and for everyone in the US to truly be equal. Think about this…The Black Panther Party began to stop police brutality against blacks in the 1960s and it is still happening today, 50 years later. No wonder the black community is frustrated.
In my personal opinion, this is the best song and video Beyonce has produced in her entire career. This is what music should be. It should be political, convey a message, and make people think about what us happening in society. It should show the different experiences and realities groups of people have in this country. Beyonce’s “Formation” tells an African American’s story and interjects the US black experience into the media. Get rid of all the degrading Hip Hop lyrics, it is time for more lyrics that lift people up! Go Beyoncé!
Published by Odyssey Online on Feb. 15, 2016