Now put your hands up
Although many people saw Beyonce’s “Formation” as an attack on police, its goal was to artistically express the history of black culture and community. | glamour.com
Last Monday morning my Facebook news feed blew up with articles titled “GOP Congressman releases lengthy 5-paragraph Statement denouncing Beyonce’s new music video” and “People boycotted Beyonce after her Super Bowl song sent a harsh message to the police”.
In Beyonce’s music video “Formation,” she sits atop a police vehicle slowly drowning in a flood of water mirroring the realities of Hurricane Katrina, as she sings,
“My daddy Alabama, Momma Louisiana
You mix that negro with that Creole make a Texas bama
I like my baby heir with baby hair and afros.”
House Representative of New York, Pete King said, "Beyoncé may be a gifted entertainer but no one should really care what she thinks about any serious issue confronting our nation,” according to an article released by Business Insider.
But why should Beyonce not have a say regarding serious issues confronting our nation?
Sharing Reality of Black Culture
Beyonce is seen in her video dancing in halls decorated with past images of Antebellum-era women she identifies with in her Louisiana culture, flaunting her long braids, sharing her pride of always carrying hot sauce with her to show some of the formation she is proud of. When most would leave it at that, Beyonce does not. She continues to share the realities and hardships of black culture throughout history.
Beyonce has always produced strong, relevant written content. For example, her song “Pretty Hurts,” released in the dawn of the feminist movement, challenged her audience to think twice about what it means to be beautiful.
So by no means is Beyonce just now becoming political. She has always been political.
Missing the Point
My question is why are we seeing other people’s artistic expression as a threat? Even though she mimics factual points in history, many see it as disrespectful to law enforcement. But I would say they are missing the point. Behind the multi-million dollar celebrity is an artist who must be abstractly understood by the platform of her cumulative works.
Unapologetic, Beyonce spreads a message more that we often fail to see — someone who is bold enough to share the unfiltered racial obstacles she encounters daily and has identified with throughout history.
Beyonce's Lineage at its Rawest Point
The images that allude to Ferguson and the “hands up, don’t shoot” chant, the Civil Rights Movement, Hurricane Katrina and even the Black Panthers in the Super Bowl may be harsh, but they are all points in history that have affected the black community both personally and holistically. This is Beyonce and her lineage at its rawest points, which has constructed her “Formation” and that is not something she should be quiet about.
We must be proud of the history that has formed us into the people we are today. I may be at Biola University, but the realities of my Hispanic American upbringing have instilled quirks in me that still influence me to carry “hot sauce in my pocket” too, and I do not plan on stopping.
Reconcile with our Community
Biolans especially should wrestle with these ideas as we approach Biola’s SCORR Conference this weekend. We should aim to reconcile with ourselves and our community, unashamed of the very things that have led to our very own “Formation.”