BROOKE THAMES & DAVID LEON

A&C Editor, Guest Writer

thamesbe@plu.edu

Peyton Manning may have led the Broncos to victory, but Beyonce was the real MVP of the Super Bowl this year. Fully equipped with a Michael Jackson-esque military uniform and an army of afro-haired beauties behind her, Yonce slayed the stage and left

“Okay, ladies now let’s get in formation.” – The Music

Queen Bey’s weekend reign began on Saturday Feb. 6, when she unexpectedly released a new music video titled “Formation” via Tidal.

The song “Formation” is basically an ode to Beyonce’s blackness. The lyrics feature the famous singer speaking on topics such as her daughter’s hair, her husband’s nose and carrying hot sauce around in her purse.

 

In the song, Beyonce proudly proclaims that she “[likes] her baby hair with baby hair and afros” and her “negro nose with Jackson Five nostrils.” She notes her heritage, explaining how negro and Creole combine to make a “Texas bama.” And she encourages all black ladies to “get in formation” to slay the world, for she claims they all have the potential to be a “black Bill Gates in the making.”

The music video for “Formation” partly reads as a visual commentary on some of the prevalent issues that presently face America’s African American community.

The video showcases several scenes of a flooded New Orleans (aftermath of Hurricane Katrina), a sinking police car, a young boy break dancing before a line of policemen and a brick wall featuring the words “Stop killing us” written in graffiti. Most of the video, however, depicts the singer herself dancing at a variety of venues with a squad of natural-haired dancers and posing in a variety of southern cotillion costumes.

The internet exploded as soon as the video dropped, sending the world into a “Formation” frenzy and paving the way for Beyonce’s next phase – The Super Bowl.

“Cause I Slay All Day.” – The Super Bowl

“Formation” fever continued Sunday Feb. 7 as Beyonce showed up to show out for Super Bowl 50. Her performance of “Formation” began promptly after Bruno Mars funked up the stage with a fiery version of  “Uptown Funk.”

Beyonce started on the field and danced her way onto the stage, accompanied by her ensemble of insanely on-beat dancers. After a short moment of peril where Yonce lost her footing, Mars and his entourage joined the stage to engage in a mini dance battle with Beyonce and her crew. yonce4

What ensued was a beautiful combination of swag, talent and fun as Bruno and Beyonce commanded the stage to round out the end of the Super Bowl 50 Halftime Show.

Beyond the sheer excellence of the entire performance, a few details served to make Beyonce stand out. The costume – her standard leotard – was accented by a Michael Jackson inspired military jacket, likely an ode to his iconic Super Bowl performance in 1993. Her dancer’s outfits – turtleneck tops, combat boots, and black berets – were also reminiscent of the recognizable Black Panthers’ uniform from the ‘60s.

Both costumes complimented beautifully with the black sweatsuits and gold chains featured on Mars and his company.

“You know you that b*tch when you cause all this conversation.” – The Controversy

As expected, “Formation” made tsunami-size waves. While lots of Beyhive members spent the weekend praising their Queen, many took to social media to trash the artist’s message and creative choices.

Twitter and Facebook saw a multitude of comments asserting that the “pro-black” anthem of the song promotes racism and racial division. Other posts denounced the all-black representation in the video and at the Super Bowl, claiming “segregation.”

Most comments, however, seemed to center on the “Black Lives Matter” and perceived “anti-police” messages in the cinematography of the “Formation” video.

yonce3

Former mayor of New York Rudy Guiliani was particularly vocal about Beyonce’s halftime performance. Guiliani was appalled that Beyonce “used [the Super Bowl] to attack police officers.”  Many others apparently agreed, calling the song, video and performance a “race-baiting” tactic.

Other offended individuals agreed and it was announced that a #BoycottBeyonce protest would occur a at the headquarters of the National Football League in New York City Feb. 16 at 8 a.m. In response Beyonce supporters have been called to host an anti Anti-#BoycottBeyonce protest.

Supporters of “Formation” and its message have expressed how important it is that Beyonce is using her influence to empower black women. Fans seem to be excited that she has used the imagery of “Formation” to magnify the truth of police brutality and injustices against marginalized people of color.

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Brooke Thames
Brooke Thames, class of 2018, is the Mast Editor-In-Chief. She is working for the Mast because she feels a commitment to providing the PLU community with accurate, timely and ethical news coverage. Her hope is that the Mast serves as a means through which PLU’s constituents speak to and enter in conversation with each other.