Photo courtesy of billboard.com
Photo courtesy of billboard.com
Photo courtesy of billboard.com

By GABRIELLE REED, Staff Writer

The day before the Super Bowl, Beyoncé dropped her new music video “Formation.” It sent pop culture into a frenzy. It sent me, a girl who practically lives in her room and lives for pop culture, into a frenzy as well. The visuals were so fresh,  provocative and ethnically real. It shed light on the intersection of feminism, natural hair politics, race, classism and the social construct of America. For once, she was clapping back at the haters over the criticism of her daughter’s natural, gone-with-the-wind hair, her husband’s prominent nose and her southern ways. And, she was clapping back hard.

The next day, she sang the song live at the Super Bowl, which caused a lot of controversy. Many people believe that the Super Bowl is an American, kid-friendly show that does not need politics or religion involved. Mothers spoke out against her suggestive dance moves. Rudy Giuliani even wrongly argued that she was promoting an anti-police message. All the arguments came down to one thing — the discomfort with the #BlackLivesMatter movement.

Many people are either uncomfortable with the hashtag or unaware of white privilege, so they aren’t a part of the movement. When in actuality, they should be on board because it’s about preserving human life. To know that Trayvon Martin would have been 21 this year if he had not been killed and to think of all the other people of color who have been taken from this world due to poor racial relations upsets me. It is imperative that we all sit down, have a real, mature conversation regarding race in America. Stating that Black Lives Matter does not exclude other lives or make them less important, it just speaks to the change that needs to be had in order for everyone to live harmoniously.

Beyoncé’s choice to use the halftime show as a way to introduce her new artistic movement was appropriate and necessary. Though critics say that she has other platforms she could’ve used, I have to point out the high ratings the Super Bowl brings in every year. With the millions of people who tune in to watch it, she has the opportunity to expose her music to different demographics. If anyone disagrees, I personally think they are just not socially aware.

It seems that the same people who disliked her performance view Beyoncé as too racy and too bold. My question to them is: Why do artists have to censor their art to appease people? For anyone to say that the Black Panther Party or paying homage to black trailblazers is un-American, they are basically saying that people of color are not true Americans. To disregard black history is to disregard American history, as both histories are intertwined. This pro-black anthem is right on time as the Black Lives Matter movement is advancing further and further. Plus, America needs more feminist visibility. Beyoncé definitely showed that females can work together, especially those of color, and twerk it out while doing so.

I am living for this edgier, explicit, IDGAF Beyoncé. She is letting everybody know that she got to this level on her own and telling ladies to “get into formation.” In other words, take your throne, queens. I think that as a woman, I find that empowering because I am finally taking control of my life. I am finally learning who I am and what I am. The greatest takeaway from this Super Bowl performance and this song is to love yourself, love your haters and break down the color lines. Love and unity are the only way to true equality.