Posted on February 24, 2016

#BHM: Breaking Down Beyoncé’s “Formation”

Opinion

Do you remember when Janet Jackson had a nip slip on live television while performing at the Super Bowl with Justin Timberlake? Well, Risq readers, get in formation because that drama is nothing compared to Beyoncé’s most recent halftime performance.

“The fact that Beyoncé used this year’s Super Bowl to divide Americans by promoting the Black Panthers and her anti-police message shows how she does not support law enforcement,’’ says Javier Oritz, president of the Miami Fraternal Order of Police in a recent press release. Oritz, and many other political leaders, felt as though Queen Bey’s performance was a direct attack on police officers. Many other police departments are now threatening to not protect the singer on her upcoming world tour.

With reflections of the Black Lives Matter movement, Malcolm X and the Black Panther Party, Beyoncé used her influential platform to reflect her views on today’s racial tension. However, according to critics, her performance was one of the many examples of African-Americans “not letting America be great again.”

Kendrick Lamar garnered the same attention with his performance at the Grammy’s, displaying black men in chains and jails cells. He’s calling for a “conversation for the entire nation,” illuminated by a fire that has been roaring for longer than America has existed. Lamar’s performance was indeed honest and a conversation starter. We can be sure the Grammy’s may receive a lot of hate mail for the performance asking, “How do I explain this to my children?” That’s the point. These conversations must be held.

For many, seeing Beyoncé rock the stage was the norm. For others, her message of acceptance and being unapologetically Black struck a chord that did not sit well with a lot of viewers. Many viewers took to Twitter to express their disdain for her “racist” message. Some even argued that her dancers dressed as Black Panthers with natural hair Afros were “uncalled for” and her use of an old-time racial slur was disrespectful. “The Blaze” conservative news anchor Tomi Lahren took to her show to express her views of feeling attacked by Beyoncé—even going so far as to call her out for speaking on the issues of black lives because Beyoncé’s husband was a drug dealer for 14 years. Lahren also argued that this was another example of African Americans shoving the ideas that “black lives matter more.”

The issue of police brutality was a big topic in the “Formation” video. A picture was tweeted minutes before the halftime show of Beyoncé’s back up dancers holding up a sign that read “Justice 4 Mario Woods” in reference to the 26-year-old male who was allegedly shot 20 times by the police with only a knife as his weapon. Many fans were left trying to figure out what was so controversial.

SNL made headlines just after the performance when they made a satirical video titled ‘The Day Beyoncé Turned Black.” The skit was extremely clever and highlighted the issue at hand. When Beyoncé was unapologetically feminist with anthems like “Flawless,” “Run The World (Girls),” and “Pretty Hurts,” she was praised. However, the moment she embraced her culture, she was scrutinized. It almost seems like people have a hard time receiving her message as a woman of color.

One of the most irritating things about this outrage over Beyoncé’s music video is that she was simply stating the truth. The issue of young black men being shot and killed by the police as evident as ever, and quite frankly is a message about the public and young men more than the police.

Beyoncé telling the world that she is proud to be Black and loves her natural roots on her husband and child should not be causing such a stir. After announcing her “Formation World Tour”, the ticket sales do not seem to be hurting at all. But are we really surprised by this? If you don’t have tickets to her upcoming concerts and aren’t quite in Formation yet, the best thing you can do is have a cup of tea and volunteer for any of the 31 charities Bey supports, as well as her own charity #BeyGood.

Photo courtesy of: vibe.com

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6 Comments

  • Reply linda maria hutchins February 25, 2016 at 1:16 PM

    Ashley this is so awesome! I’m so proud of you for this, reading this really had me on my toes! Great job Girl!

  • Reply Arnelle Frimpong February 25, 2016 at 2:03 PM

    I completely agree with your take on the video, as well as the performance! Beyoncé is simply expressing her culture, upbringing, and individuality through this piece. And as for police brutality; is it not a REAL thing that is currently happening to REAL people? A vast majority of these victims are people of color! So sorry not sorry if Beyoncé, a music icon who knows she has listeners from every longitude and latitude of the world, decides to portray this in her performance and music video. It was a brilliant way of getting a point across. People are jumping to conclusions and making it seem as if she’s generalizing about ALL police officers. It may not be all police officers, but the ones who are guilty of these crimes are more than enough to make a statement as bold as Mrs. Knowles did.

  • Reply linda maria hutchins February 25, 2016 at 6:58 PM

    This is so relevant! My friend just sent me this article and honestly i agreed with everything you said. My mum is a police officer and my dad is a sheriff and even as a black family we have the same fears ‘normal’ people. If we are ever stopped by a cop, my mum and dad are always extremely quick to show their badge because they know it gives them privilege. My mum always comes home with stories about the institutional racism she received from other officers. Whilst

    • Reply linda maria hutchins February 25, 2016 at 7:00 PM

      not all officers are bad, we must accept that there are bad ones out there.

  • Reply Christina alter February 26, 2016 at 1:20 AM

    This was so needed! Reading this I found myself screaming yessss to every sentence. Even though it’s under the ‘opinions’ section, you spit straight TRUTH in this article.

  • Reply sheea hicks February 29, 2016 at 9:44 PM

    I heard about this article from a friend in class and reading it i have to say i agree with everything you said. Whilst i am extremely supportive of the police and the service they give I am against police brutality and believe that these issues must be addressed. I do feel that Beyonce was just expressing an issue that was on her mind, just like when the lack of female bosses at the work place was an issue for her, she addresed it so why is it any different when it comes to race. Her race at that.

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