I am possibly one of Beyoncé’s biggest fans. My Instagram name is @__caroyonce__ for crying out loud. Beyoncé always does her thing, and it does not matter to her if everyone agrees with it. And more power to her for it.
Beyoncé leaves us speechless with her flawless ability to be a musician, businesswoman, fashion icon, actress, wife, mother and philanthropist. She does it all.
While I will always respect her and her individuality as a musical artist, Beyoncé’s motive for making a political and cultural statement during her Super Bowl halftime performance was not my favorite move she has made.
On the other hand, I believe her “Formation” video was a work of art. It was simple, yet elegant. It is hard to describe, but after watching the video several times, I felt themes of both girl power and black power.
Part of the lyrics in “Formation” speak about bringing women together. “Okay, ladies, now let’s get in formation.”
Other lyrics in the song correlate to Beyoncé’s southern African-American heritage, referring to staple Southern cuisine such as collard greens and cornbread, along with African-American hairstyles. Beyoncé also mentions her parental upbringing in southern states Alabama, Louisiana and Texas.
“Beyoncé’s ‘Formation’ song and video performance involved back-up dancers, all of whom were female, dressed in black to honor the Black Panther Party movement.
It featured a performance choreographed very much in the shape of an “X” to represent Malcolm X,” writer Tyrese L. Coleman wrote in an article on Romper.com.
“On what many consider the most American day of the year, Beyoncé confronted America with an undeniable expression of black pride,” Coleman said.
There is nothing wrong with being proud of where you come from and who you are. However, is the Super Bowl halftime show really a place for people to speak their minds? I would say music videos are a place for that, but not the halftime show of the Super Bowl.
In “Formation,” Beyonce’s lyrics are raw in the way she describes her pride in her black heritage. In the video, she touches on police brutality against African-Americans in the States.
Sophomore Christian ministries major Steve Viles encouraged musicians to make political statements in their art.
“I think it is a good idea for musicians to make political statements within their performances as long as they do so in an appropriate and respectful manner,” Viles said.
However, “in the case of Beyoncé, I do not think that her display was appropriate,” Viles continued. “Her song ‘Formation’ was trying to send the message for the killings of African-Americans by cops to stop, and there is nothing wrong with that message.”
“However, she paired that with referencing the Black Panther Party, which armed African-American citizens and encouraged violence against the police. This is not a message that I feel is appropriate to be displayed at the Super Bowl,” Viles said.
Junior psychology major Kellie Bode echoed similar concerns.
“I think if you are a celebrity, musician or someone similar who has ability to really get the word out, it would be almost wrong if you did not voice your opinion on something in order to have a positive effect for your cause. But I think the Super Bowl is the wrong place and the wrong time to do that because the Super Bowl is supposed to be a fun and happy event,” Bode said.
Beyoncé could have left her statement solely for her music video of “Formation.” I thought the video was beautifully crafted. It is a good song, and it has such a deep and powerful meaning.
The Super Bowl halftime show should be fun, so instead of singing “Formation,” I think she could have chosen something else to sing. The halftime show lasts about 10 minutes, and it is hard to capture all of the meaning behind the lyrics. In fact, I was just so excited that “the queen” was performing that I did not notice her background dancers dressed like Black Panther Party members until I heard the outrage after the Super Bowl.
Musicians making statements in their videos and songs as Beyoncé did in “Formation” gives me hope in the music industry. I think she could have gone about her Super Bowl halftime performance differently; however, controversy does get people talking.
Nevertheless, Beyoncé will continue to captivate or outrage people everywhere. Ultimately, you aren’t “someone” until you have haters.