When I first watched Beyoncé’s new video I was impressed with the song and visuals as well as the political and social issues they addressed but it seems not everyone agrees. Ever since Beyoncé released the video for Formation on Saturday and performed at the 50th Super Bowl I have been following some of the commentary on various social media sites and was shocked at some people’s views.
Formation highlights issues America and the wider world are still struggling with whilst Beyoncé celebrates and proudly claims her heritage, culture and looks. Mainstream media often depicts the white women as the ideal for female beauty, an ideal which Beyoncé is defying as she celebrates her features. This will hopefully teach younger black women who are influenced by the media and pop culture to embrace their looks and culture regardless of the ideals society and mainstream media may promote.
“I like my baby heir with baby hair and afros
I like my negro nose with Jackson Five nostrils”
Some viewers have suggested Beyoncé’s video and performance was ‘anti-police’. Take for example, the imagery of Beyoncé, a powerful and respected black woman sat on top of a sinking police car. This imagery on a quick glance could be seen as ‘anti-police’ but when thought about on a deeper and critical level the message is clear. Police brutality and institutionalised racism has been a serious issue in America and this imagery depicts the metaphor that the institution is sinking under their current system and values. America’s policing systems and government will have to think in depth about how they can work towards an equal society in America where all races are treated fairly.
It has also been argued Beyoncé should not have made a social and political statement at the Super Bowl. If the Super Bowl is an unfit place for social and political statements should Chris Martin not be chastised for having a Global Citizen logo on his shirt, a community who “learn about and take action on the world’s biggest challenges”? The simple answer, of course, is no. Pop culture has morphed and shifted over the years into the mainstream and stars now have a strong influence on the conversations the world is having. If a performance can provide entertainment and shed light on important topics, igniting conversations about how communities are struggling this can only be a win-win situation in my eyes.
It is interesting to see how quickly people got defensive when racial issues are brought up, a notion that Macklemore referenced in his recent release White Supremacy II. It is important to note; Black empowerment is not white defamation. Beyoncé is not attacking white people. As a white person, the video and lyrics did not offend me. Instead it triggered me to think about the racism that still exists and prompted me to look into and learn more about the significant examples Beyoncé used to amplify the message behind the song including the reference to The Black Panthers Party.
In my opinion Beyoncé has proven herself once again to be a great role model, not only black people, but for men and women of all races.