As news of Beyonce’s new single, “Formation” circulated Twitter, excitement and joy immediately rose among the Beyhive. Upon hearing the news, I frantically searched Twitter in hopes of finding the link for the unlisted music video. And while I thought I was beyond ready for what I was about to watch, I was rather overwhelmed and flooded with feelings of comfort when I was met with scenes upon scenes upon scenes of Beyonce celebrating her blackness. The lyrics, bold with Black pride, rang in my ears even after the video came to a close.
However, as I opened Twitter to shout an abundance of compliments to Beyonce and let everyone know of my appreciation for “Formation”, I was, to my surprise, greeted with many angry tweets directed at Beyonce in regards to her apparently being both anti police and anti white. It was merely a song meant to celebrate her blackness but it somehow had provoked many into shouting a tirade of criticisms at Beyonce.
As Beyonce’s Super Bowl performance neared, the controversy heightened with an increased number of people voicing their complaints. Comments such as “police hater” and “racist” flooded Twitter with people even going as far as to blame her for the violence against cops. The night of the Super Bowl came around and Beyonce’s performance of Formation was the highlight of the show, her Black Panther inspired costume and her troupe of backup dancers in afros, berets, and all black outfits catching everyone’s eye. Following it, many continued to express their opposition to the performance, with the Miami police even calling for the boycott of Beyonce after the so-called “racist, cop-hating show at Super Bowl.”
But, “Formation”, at least to me, was simply a celebration of Blackness. “Formation” highlights issues that worked to disproportionately marginalize Black people such as the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, the Civil Rights Movement, police brutality, and uncelebrated ‘Black’ features. In times where Black features and Black issues are rarely represented in the media, it is nice to see Beyonce using her platform to dismantle the negligence and lack of response carried out by the media. Formation was meant to offer a kaleidoscope of the struggles faced by Black people in America, not meant to provoke violence against White people or the police force.
It was an ode to movements such as the much needed Black Lives Matter campaign. It was a song meant to spark a conversation about solutions to the institutionalized racism deeply ingrained in our society and our justice system. So my question is, why is it that a song intended to be a paragon of Blackness received such backlash?