So, as you may know, Beyoncé’s new song ‘Formation’ and the video accompanying it have been making viral ripples. She performed it recently at the Super bowl and my first reaction was Beyoncé again? Nevertheless, it was a spectacular watch.
The song has been hailed a black empowerment anthem- and even a feminist anthem by some; both of which I would agree to an extent. However, to me this song is mainly about Beyoncé herself. She embraces her roots, confronts rumours about her; and sets the record clear that she’s black and proud. The social statement itself- is within the video. The video contains scenes alluding to her Creole ancestry, hurricane Katrina and police brutality. Her call for women to step up and reach her heights is refreshing- a stark contrast, I might add from degrading women and barking ‘bow down b*****s’.
A former mayor’s response to the Super bowl performance was that it was disrespectful to police and that (I paraphrase) black people need to learn how to start respecting police. Yes, I know- I did an eye roll too upon hearing it. Police, in general, do a great job in society. It may come across rude but surely that is expected? Criticising police brutality isn’t shunning the bravery and great job regular police officers do. We’re showing our disapproval of the corrupt bunch that abuse their power. Respect is a mutual thing; and if A shows respect to B but vice versa is not the case, then you almost feel like that respect is being wasted. Also, let’s not forget this distrust of authority in black communities goes a long way back (i.e. Rodney King). It is most likely not a cause of police brutality, but a product of it.
I’ve always thought celebrities, in particular, black singers need to make more of a social statement within their music. These days songs are too cliché to even bare- I mean, do we even need to hear another verse about how rich or attractive you are? No Sir, we don’t. However, I am aware of a trend of passivity of opinion amongst many celebs. They don’t like to hold views that may be too radical, or extreme for the fear of being too controversial. Kanye is an exception, of course. Gone are the days of Lauryn Hill and Marvin Gaye, where social commentary was the norm.
I mean, I’m not expecting these black musicians to suddenly become political scientists. However, I don’t think staying in a bubble of your wealth and ignoring social issues in your own backyard benefits anyone either. Whether you like or hate ‘Formation’- (as quoted in the lyric at the start) – Beyoncé is instigating conversation. Just one song can make the difference, folks.
*Image from the website link: http://www.thewrap.com/25-best-beyonce-moments-from-formation-music-video-gifs/ *