I wasn’t going to comment on the release of Beyoncé’s video Formation on Saturday 6 February because there are already thousands of think pieces out there on the subject whether for or against. Then I realised that as someone who loves history it would be remiss of me not to mark the occasion and say a few words about Beyoncé’s marketing genius.
By now you should have seen the video that was released on 6 January but just in case you haven’t, peep it below.
The timing of this video is super important. It was sandwiched between the birthdays of two young black people who died under hinky circumstances. On Friday 5 February, Trayvon Martin would have turned 21 had he lived. On Sunday 7 February, Sandra Bland would have turned 29.
If we needed proof that the release date was important all we need to do is look at the little boy dancing in his hoodie in front of a row of police and then the camera pans to a wall with the message ‘stop shooting us’ written on it. These scenes confirm the videos connection to the #Blacklivesmatter movement just in case you missed all the New Orleans and Hurricane Katrina references throughout.
On Sunday Beyoncé performed her song during the Super Bowl halftime show and she slayed! Surrounded by all-black female dancers rocking berets on top of big afros her performance was an homage to the Black Panthers most definitely, maybe Malcolm X, and possibly Michael Jackson.
When Beyoncé sings the line, “You just might be a black Bill Gates in the making,” she and her dancers pumped their fists into the air and made a ‘Black Power’ salute. You wouldn’t be wrong in thinking that this may also have been in reverence to Tommie Smith and John Carlos who raised their fists in similar fashion on the podium at the 1968 Summer Olympics.
During the performance Beyoncé’s dancers formed an “X” which may have been a reference to Malcolm X. To be honest there was some much Blackitude in the lyrics of the song, the visuals in the video and the performance at the Super Bowl, you had to know Bey was paying homage to the whole lot of us.
From the video being released on Saturday to the performance at the Super Bowl and the fact that February is Black History Month in America, the timing was perfect. It sent a very powerful message out to the world that Black Lives Matter.
Of course the whole package caused some white people to lose their minds, calling for boycotts and claiming the performance was a race bating stunt. I’m still high off the fumes of the whole weekend so I can’t even be bothered to address that. I couldn’t say it any better than Luvvie anyway.