Beyoncé recently took the world by storm with the video for her new song “Formation.”
The song’s release was followed by the goddess performing “Formation” at the Super Bowl 50 halftime show on Sunday, Feb. 7, accompanied with background dancers dressed as Black Panthers. Even backstage, her dancers held a sign that said “Justice 4 Mario Woods,” a Black man who was shot and killed by the San Francisco Police Department on Dec. 2, 2015.
In short, so much bravery happened within that weekend.
When I first heard the song, I was thinking that Beyoncé had done it again. I even had to take the hot sauce out of my purse and start dancing as I heard it. As a Black woman, I was excited to hear an anthem that celebrated Blackness and Black womanhood, even if it was her own experience. Any song that does that is alright with me. So, why all the hate?
It pays homage to the Black Lives Matter movement, the South that I grew up with and love to this day (New Orleans) and all the Black boys that have lost their lives to police. Clearly, these gestures show Beyoncé’s awareness of what is happening with the Black community. In the past, she and husband Jay-Z have been criticized for their silence on matters involving the Black community. Now that she’s doing something this brave, it’s a problem. Seriously?
When I saw the video, it definitely struck a chord with me. In the first few seconds, the video pays homage to Hurricane Katrina, as she sang on top of a police car in flooding water. Hurricane Katrina was a disaster that I unfortunately had to experience when I was 14-years-old as I was spending time with my family in the South for that summer.
Since its release, “Formation” has caused talk, both positive and negative. On the positive side, “Bitter Gertrude” blogger Melissa Hillman expressed the importance of the song in regards to self-love and “excellence” for the Black community. Editor of “For Harriet” and publisher Kimberly N. Foster called the song the “anti-respectability anthem” that we needed so much. Even YouTube personality Kingsley (with his picky self) was “slayed” by the song and its message.
At the same time, everything is wrong with expressing awareness, apparently. For instance, talk show co-host of “The View” Raven-Symoné called the video “hilarious.” The Washington Post also posted an article that nit-picks and focuses on the “contradictions” of the song. New York’s former mayor Rudy Giuliani expressed his dislike for the performance at the halftime show, calling it an “attack” on police.
Many social media users have called the song “problematic,” believing it to be “anti-white.” Why? She entered the conversation of Blackness in the 21st century and created what many people are calling a “visual anthem.” She used her platform to successfully create a hit that has kept her name in people’s mouths, even to the point where she used a medium as grand as the Super Bowl halftime show to spread awareness and convey hope and strength in the past and present for the Black community.
Even if I were not a part of the BeyHive, I would still say the same things. From those who have grown close to me, they would know that I analyze and criticize music to its bare bones. Again, as a Black woman, this song is needed to express Blackness, hope and freedom in a society as troubled as this one.
I am not saying that Beyoncé is an activist; I’m simply saying that she successfully used her platform to not only create a hit, but also put out a song about Blackness and prove once again that she was “that b—h.”