- post by: #TooRealForTV
- February 12, 2016
White BeyoncÃ© haters donâ€™t get it: â€œFormationâ€ isnâ€™t â€œrace-baitingâ€ â€” but it is unapologetically about race
This might be the blackest version of BeyoncÃ© weâ€™ve twerked to yet. However, there are those who arenâ€™t down with BeyoncÃ©â€™s party â€”Â theyâ€™re ready to get in anti-BeyoncÃ© protest formation. Coming off the heels of her Super Bowl performance, where she received harsh criticism from former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani and Rep. Peter King, R-Long Island, for being â€œanti-police,â€Â a #BoycottBeyoncÃ© is brewing.Â NWA went there in 1988 with â€œFuck Tha Policeâ€ and received backlash for it, but itâ€™s 2016 â€” and this critique is just further proof that African-Americans canâ€™t have anything or express ourselves fully without first considering if weâ€™re â€œrace-baitingâ€ white America.
The anti-Beyhive is reportedly planning to storm the NFL headquarters in Manhattan on Feb. 16, the same day tickets for her world tour are slated to go on sale, callingÂ her performanceÂ at the Super Bowl halftime show â€œa slap in the face to law enforcementâ€ that â€œglorifiesâ€ the Black Panthers, whom they call a â€œhate group.â€ But protesters are missing the real point of â€œFormation.â€ BeyoncÃ©â€™s song/video/halftime show is pro-black, and has nothing to do with catering to the comforts of white America â€” their feelings or their politics. Rather, â€œFormation,â€ as shown in her now-iconic video, is BeyoncÃ©â€™s coming-of-age race story, a celebration of black unity and individuality in words and images.
Clearly, our home girl is both woke and unashamed of reveling in the glory of black life in â€œFormation.â€ In just under 5 minutes she breaks down some of the complexities of her brand of black womanhoodâ€”she twirls on respectability politics, while standing on top of a police car in the middle of post-Katrina New Orleans floodwaters. She rebels against any bit of anti-blackness or patriarchy you have mistaken her for subscribing to.
â€œFormationâ€ exposes a different side of a woman who isnâ€™t afraid of showing us her historical self while figuring out with the rest of black America how to unpack a bunch of confusing questions about our black identities. The song dropped within days ofÂ Trayvon Martinâ€™s birthday, Sandra Blandâ€™s birthday, during Mardi Gras and Black History Month. Proverbial BeyoncÃ©.
The songâ€™s lyrics and music video donâ€™t necessarily go hand in hand. She could have given us choreography similar to her hits â€œ7/11â€ or â€œGirls Run the World,â€ but she didnâ€™t. Itâ€™s defiant. The visuals hold their ownâ€”as she breaks down the power of black self-love, family unity, colorism and the misconception that you canâ€™t be both â€œwokeâ€ and desire a lavish life, as BeyoncÃ© has obtained for herself.
For such a long time we were presented with a â€œwhiter versionâ€ of BeyoncÃ© â€”Â who slayed nonetheless. However, it was very clear that she was put on a pedestal by white America, further validating black Americansâ€™ praise of her. Not this time around, though. â€œFormationâ€ is a lyrical memoir of coming to terms with her blacknessâ€”something much of young black America is trying to figure out how to do ourselves, as weâ€™ve become increasingly more aware of the challenges that being black can present.
BeyoncÃ© begins breaking down an abbreviated version of her individual story by first giving us some background of where it all started, â€œMy daddy Alabama, Momma Louisiana. You mix that negro with that Creole make a Texas bama.â€ Sheâ€™s clearly over respectability politics as she uses the somewhat derogatory word â€œbamaâ€ to describe the working-class family she grew up in.
She quickly fast-forwards to motherhood and marriage, where she destroys colorism, good hair and praise of Eurocentric features all within one verse: â€œI like my baby hair with baby hair and afros / I like my negro nose with Jackson Five nostrils.â€ When she brings up daughter Blue Ivyâ€™s hair, which has been the focal point of much bantering on Twitter over the last couple years, sheâ€™s repudiating social hatred of girls with popping Afros. Oh, and letâ€™s not forget all of the dope hairstyles BeyoncÃ© rocked throughout the video, to further bring home her point of loving your individual beauty, from her lush curly hair to the fleeky braided hairstyles she slayed. She makes it a point not just to praise the beauty of black women, but also defend the looks of her husband, Jay Z, whose nose has been the center of jokes for quite some time.
â€œFormationâ€ resonates because many of us are trying to collect ourselves, figure it all out and craft our own â€œblackenâ€ coming-of-age narratives. Weâ€™ve experienced our Rodney King moment and weâ€™ve witnessed what appear to be blatant disregard for the crises of black and brown people at the hands of government and institutions, from Katrina to Flint, Michigan. In the struggle to understand what our mamas gave to us, thereâ€™s something comforting about knowing that itâ€™s OKÂ to wear our histories on our sleeves.
Thereâ€™s also nothing wrong with subscribing to BeyoncÃ©â€™s dream while still remaining aware of everything that is going on in the world. She reminds us that, despite her and her husbandâ€™s combined reported worth of close to a billion dollars, she will always be the same country girl in this line: â€œearned all this money but they never take the country out me / I got a hot sauce in my bag, swag.â€ Â After giving us this piece reminder of who she is at heart, she then goes into addressing unity regardless of sexuality, incorporating the voices of Big Freedia, a New Orleans Bounce Star, to introduce the emergence of gay black rap in the city. She also features Messy Mya, a provocative social media-famous comedian who was gunned down in 2010.
To further bring home the point of unity there are several scenes for â€œladies get in formation.â€ She first references formation when referring to the family and then shifts her focus to women, who have historically been on the front lines of any movement. However, thereâ€™s one choreographed piece of â€œladies get in formation,â€ that particularly hits home â€” a scene that happens at the bottom of an empty pool. Sheâ€™s addressing the fact that we need each other during tough times, whether that be in literal floodwaters, or wading through haters and their â€œIlluminati messâ€ charges. Weâ€™ll get through it together.