On February 6, 2016, the Queen, Beyoncé Knowles-Carter stopped the world yet again when she unprecedentedly dropped a single called ‘FORMATION’ (it’s essential that the name is in block letters). Hi, my name is S, and though I am a huge stan of Beyoncé, a powerhouse who needs no introduction, I now respect her on…
On February 6, 2016, the Queen, Beyoncé Knowles-Carter stopped the world yet again when she unprecedentedly dropped a single called ‘FORMATION’ (it’s essential that the name is in block letters).
Hi, my name is S, and though I am a huge stan of Beyoncé, a powerhouse who needs no introduction, I now respect her on a whole new level after seeing the video for Formation.
Several reactions after having watched the video have been that of condemnation, and I, S, am here to shed a much-needed light on the importance of Beyoncé’s Formation video.
What you must first know is that it’s not particularly about the lyrics of the song, in fact mute the video and just watch what’s going on, the video is the message.
— Dara Jendayi (@Jendayi_Dara) February 7, 2016
In this video set in post-‘Hurricane Katrina’ New Orleans, the Queen of Pop-feminist-social activist addressed major issues affecting black people in America today.
- She silenced at all those hating on her baby Blue Ivy’s hair and husband Jay-Z’s nose: “I like my baby hair, with baby hair and afros. I like my Negro nose with Jackson Five nostrils”. I especially love this because there has been too much raucous about Blue Ivy’s hair.
She is a regular black child with black features that includes nappy hair, so just leave it yeah. Being a mum has definitely changed Beyoncé, and she just had to speak up against the scrutiny her 4-year old child has been under, saying her daughter is beautiful and she likes her hair the way it is. Further deconstructing the idea that black women are inferior because of their features, like the nappy curly natural hair, the color of their skin, their physique and much more.
- She used black women of varying skin tones. This is very relevant as well because there isn’t just one shade of ‘being black,’ the diversity in skin tone in the video shows this.
- All the hairstyles in the video were associated with black people: the nappy afro, the curly hair, the braids, the threading.
- She went back to the civil rights movements of black people by showing Martin Luther King.
- Lastly and most importantly, she spoke up against Police shooting/brutality. In the final scene, there was a young black boy dressed in all black and a hoodie; in reference to black American teenager Trayvon Martin who was shot in 2012, And police officers with their hands up. Also featured in this scene was a wall graffiti painting that read ‘Stop Shooting Us.’
She was unapologetic as hell in the video, and it couldn’t have come at a better time, considering that February is Black History Month.
Bey and her husband Jay Z may be rich and successful, but they also pay a lot of attention to social issues affecting people of their race. They donated money to the social justice movement #BlackLivesMatter in 6 figures to bail protesters out of jail and even met with families of those killed by the police.
People have been wondering what caused Beyoncé to veer in this direction, but the change was not sudden. Over the years Beyoncé has evolved as not just a person but as an artist as well. Though she may sing sexy time songs like ‘Rocket’ and twerkable hits like ‘7/11’, she is not unaware of what is going on in her society, she is not oblivious to the fact that modern racism is going on. Though an entertainer, she has chosen not to ignore that black men and women like herself were being gunned down by the very Police sworn to protect them. She used her video as the most potent and effective way to pass her message across and it bloody worked. She is a global force to be reckoned with and what better way to address an issue affecting people of her race, black people in America, who are still heavily disenfranchised in their own country.
It’s also important to add that every time Beyoncé breathes on anything it turns to gold when she speaks, the world listens, case in point ‘Red lobster.’ All she said was “When he fuck me good I take his ass to Red Lobster, cause I slay” and the seafood restaurant was trending for hours on social media with their and sales skyrocketing by a said 33% over the weekend.
To take it up a notch, Beyoncé performed Formation at during the Super Bowl 50 half-time show (her second Super Bowl performance); one of the most watched events in America. This strong black woman went on to solidify herself as the black queen of pop after Michael Jackson, wearing a female version of one of his signature outfits and it was quite apt indeed.
She and her dancers stormed the field all dressed in all- black with signature black berets, a symbolic reference to the black activists known as the Black Panthers, a group of people involved in the black power movement of the 60s and 70s who followed the teachings of Malcolm X.
Beyoncé and her team of dancers at the Super Bowl performance also posed in an X formation on the field, apparently in honor of black revolutionary leader Malcolm X, and also raised their fists in the black power salute.
According to the New York Post: Ilyasah Shabazz (daughter of Malcolm X) gushed about Beyoncé’s performance saying she “absolutely loved it.” Shabazz said Beyoncé’s performance of Formation was the singer’s way of “making a statement about all the senseless killing of innocent black people.”
After her performance, Beyonce announced her Formation world tour which is selling out like crazy despite the anti-Beyoncé/ Boycott Beyoncé nonsense going on. You don’t even have to like Beyoncé to realize the importance of her putting out that video.
It’s hilarious to see people so pressed about Beyoncé’s stand against black oppression and exaltation of blackness, like as if to say “She’s only supposed to be a sex symbol and an entertainer, how dare she so boldly address such an important racial issue on such a huge platform.”
The answer is, she can do it because she is Beyoncé. She can do whatever she likes. She is a strong black woman who worked hard to be who and where she is today “I dream it, I work hard. I grind ’til I own it. I slay, hey, I slay, OK”. In Formation, she speaks about black beauty, black success, black power, black oppression. She successfully used her influence as a world-renowned artist to advance social justice and ultimately raise social consciousness; which is highlighted in the play on words that is the lyrics of the song ‘Get in formation/ Information.’
Photo Credits: Twitter, BET, Daily Mail, Rap On Demand