Beyoncé keeps us in formation

After painstakingly making it through the first half of the 2016 Super Bowl, the long awaited time finally came for Beyoncé to take the stage during the Pepsi Halftime Show. There was another main performer, Coldplay that performed alongside Bruno Mars. As far as the performers are concerned, Coldplay is completely irrelevant, Bruno Mars slightly less irrelevant, and Beyoncé, well, she’s flawless. Just 24 hours before her Super Bowl performance, she dropped a new single called “Formation.” In alignment with Black History Month, “Formation” is an empowering song for the black community and its culture. Not only does Beyoncé express her unapologetic, self-celebrating persona in this single, but she also addresses issues within the black community, specifically the Black Lives Matter movement and the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. While it was not for sure that Beyoncé would perform “Formation” at the Super Bowl, rumors circled online that her new single was included in dress rehearsals for the halftime performance. Luckily, we were all blessed when the camera panned over to her and her dancers and the music transitioned from “Uptown Funk” into the baseline of “Formation” and we knew Beyoncé was about to throw down some serious attitude on the field. As I stated before, “Formation” is not only a great song to listen to for its sound, but also the message it sends to its listeners. In the music video, Bey addresses the Black Lives Matter movement through a variety of scenes. Two notable scenes include a wall with graffiti written on it saying, “Stop shooting us,” as well as a scene with a boy dancing in front of a police riot squad who all put their hands up after a cue from the boy. The commentary on the Hurricane Katrina aftermath occurs throughout the video. The video opens with Bey lying on a New Orleans police car floating in flooded water, and ends with her on the same police car, drowning in the flood. While Beyoncé did not recreate this video during her halftime show, certain parts of her show can be seen as another form of expressing the intended message of the song. Once I came back to life after watching Beyoncé slay Super Bowl 50, I was going scrolling through my Twitter timeline. I saw a tweet about how the all black outfits and black berets that her dancers wore were significant of the Black Panther Party movement. The Black Panthers were a black power movement that was active in the sixties and seventies. Not only did Beyoncé make a statement with her dancers’ outfits, but also with the choreography. At one point in her performance, her and her dancers were lined up in an “x” form on the field, which has been thought to be a Malcom X reference. The Black Panthers followed the teachings of Malcom X who was an activist for the rights of African Americans and oftentimes criticized for his use of violence to overcome systemic oppression. Personally, I’m glad Beyoncé expressed these ideas in her small, but valuable performance time she had during the Super Bowl halftime show. I think “Formation” would have lost something in the performance had not she made these bold political statements. If you haven’t listened to “Formation” yet, I highly suggest you do so. Let your computer, phone, or tablet be graced with Beyoncé’s presence. To reiterate from last week, I was questioning Macklemore’s ability to speak about white privilege while condemning other white artists for doing exactly what he was doing himself. In Beyoncé’s case, there is no question to her ability to speak about black pride, culture, and social issues within the black community. It is important for the listeners of “Formation” to identify Beyoncé’s intentions in the song and be aware of what she is saying to her listeners. Beyoncé was able to bring awareness to the Black Lives Matter movement and black culture in a completely different way than Macklemore attempted to do and she did it in the most flawless way possible.