Beyonce performed alongside Chris Martin and Bruno Mars at the 50th Super Bowl Dec. 7. Her performance, fierce as usual, featured her new single “Formation”. The song was dropped with a music video which included shouts out to her southern heritage and her love for black culture.
In the past, she had been accused of being too quiet on the #BlackLivesMatter front but those critics can pack their bags and go home. She spared little in her music video which featured references to Hurricane Katrina, had a young hooded black boy dancing in front of white police officers, and graffiti saying “stop shooting us.” Her political statements did not stop there however, during her halftime performance, she featured an all black dance team which created an X formation as a tribute to Malcolm X, and sported costumes resembling those of the Black Panthers.
The Black Panther Party was founded in 1966 by Huey Newton and Bobby Seale, inspired by Malcolm X, as a militant self-defense group for minority communities. This was during a time when the officials who were meant to protect these communities were the ones harming them. The party would organize patrols through black communities to monitor police brutality. They initiated social programs which helped disadvantaged groups in the communities. One such program provided children with free breakfast in schools. Their ultimate goal however, was to promote black nationalism and to empower the black community. Queen B’s performance was a tribute to that ideology as much as it was a call to attention of how times have changed, or rather, how much they have not.
A day after her performance, former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani went on Fox’s “Fox and Friends” show to discuss her performance. He began by calling the whole thing “outrageous” but went on further to say, “She used it as a platform to attack police officers.” One of the commentators announced that Beyonce had received a police escort and then gave a salute to the #BlackLivesMatter as if one was betrayal of the other.
Beyonce called out police brutality because it was a painful reality. Too much has happened in this past year alone for people to stick their heads in the sand and pretend all is fair and equal. For Giuliani to say that instead of calling out cops, what the black community should be doing is “building respect for police officers” is a testament to not only his white privilege but his disconnect from modern social issues.
My question to Giuliani, Fox and anyone who feels that Beyonce’s performance was too politically charged: since when did the empowerment of one’s people become an attack against the other? Is your whiteness so fragile that you believe that if black people can somehow look at themselves and their heritage and be proud of who they are and where they came from, they may become a threat to you?
What Beyonce did was take a stand in what has now become a powerful movement for social change. She did it in a way that was tasteful and educational. And I’m glad she did it. She is a black woman who has been outrageously successful without catering to the white man. And in an ultimate show of her power and her position she made a statement. Yes it was political. Yes it made people mad. But the queen has spoken and people are listening.