Beyonce’s "Formation" music video, which dropped unannounced on Feb. 6, was full of powerful imagery and lyrics touching on black culture and some of the injustices that gave rise to the Black Lives Matter movement, Rolling Stone reported (video below).
The music video features Beyonce standing on a New Orleans police car in a flooded neighborhood and a black child in a hoodie dancing in front of a line of riot gear-clad police officers with their hands up as graffiti that reads “stop shooting us” flashes us on the screen. Lyrics such as “I like my baby hair, with baby hair and afros. I like my Negro nose with Jackson Five nostrils,” made it evident that "Formation" is about embracing black identity and culture.
Although it’s never made explicit, Beyonce’s performance during the Super Bowl 50 halftime show prominently featured even more symbolism affiliated with Back Lives Matter and now some consider "Formation" an anthem for the social movement itself.
During the halftime performance, Beyonce’s dancers were clad in black leather and wore Black Panther-esque berets on their natural afros, The Guardian reported. Off-stage, the dancers also posed with their right fists up in a Black Panther salute, holding a sign that said “Justice 4 Mario Woods,” a black man who was gunned down by five police officers in San Francisco, which hosted the game, in December 2015.
Although Beyonce has never officially endorsed Black Lives Matter, she has acted in the group’s interest in the past -- she helped bail out protestors in May 2015, Vocativ reported. Recently, Tidal, a music service owned by Beyonce’s husband, Jay Z, announced it would donate $1.5 million to Black Lives Matter.
Some might be upset about Beyonce’s openly political performance, but it doesn’t seem likely the multimillionaire cares about the critics. As she sings in "Formation": “Always stay gracious, best revenge is your paper.”