Queen Bey literally owned the past 48 hours of everyone’s lives. More importantly though, she used her station as arguably the world’s biggest pop star to address the issues facing Black Americans around the country.
On Saturday evening, Beyoncé released a new video and song called “Formation.” It is quite literally the blackest thing she has ever done (at least in public). From the thigh length braids to the “hot sauce in my bag” lines to the unapologetic samples from New Orleans bounce icons Messy Mya and Big Freedia, Mrs. Carter took us all the way down South for this crunk video.
The video features some very subversive imagery, from the walk tags saying “Stop shooting us” to a hooded young boy dancing in front of a line of police officers in SWAT gear, the video is visually stunning. As Zandria Robinson notes,
“Bodies are quiet, awaiting animation, and then they pulsate, loudly: in parking lots, in drained swimming pools, in streets, atop horses, in front of a police line, in a church, in a second line, in a parlor, in mirrors. Beyoncé places her own reckless, country blackness–one of afros, cornrows, and negro noses, brown liquor and brown girls, hot sauce, and of brown boys and cheddar bay biscuits–in conversation with and as descended from a broader southern blackness that is frequently obscured and unseen in national discourses, save for as (dying, lynched, grotesque, excessive) spectacle.”
The video’s focus on both the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and the senseless killings of Black people in this country was one of the first times we have seen her send such a clear message of solidarity with those in the movement for Black lives.
Then, after we were all recovering from watching the video 50-11 times, Bey showed up at the 50th Super Bowl game and performed the song in front of millions of viewers. Beyond the overall dopeness of the performance, what was particularly moving about the night was that Bey’s dancers were all dressed in black and berets to honor the 50th anniversary of the Black Panthers forming (this is especially dear to those of us who were born and raised in Oakland, Calif, the birthplace of the Black Panther Movement).
Even with all those exciting references over the past two days, Beyoncé also set up a Flint fund to aid families and children affected by the water crisis.
Twitter has been lit since Saturday. Celebrities, businesses, and everyone in between has joined in with Black Twitter in awe of Bey’s super Black, unapologetically Southern, ratchetly-glorious weekend of Black Girl Magic.
— Google (@google) February 7, 2016
— April (@ReignOfApril) February 8, 2016
— Uzo Aduba (@UzoAduba) February 6, 2016
Beyonce just made me so proud of my nose. 😭😭 #Formation
— Chance The Rapper (@chancetherapper) February 6, 2016
Yes @Beyonce Formation es fantastique!!!!!!
— ⭐Jill Scott⭐ (@missjillscott) February 7, 2016
— LeAnn Rimes Cibrian (@leannrimes) February 7, 2016
Well ok then Beyoncé. Formation out the gate. Now we cooking with grease.
— Talib Kweli Greene (@TalibKweli) February 8, 2016
— Phaedra Parks, Esq. (@PhaedraParks) February 8, 2016
For years, many people (including myself) have been waiting to see a more political Beyoncé. Maybe this is her way of telling us she’s listening. Now, she has the whole world listening too.