I got a notification on my phone (all card-carrying Beyhive members did) when Beyoncé's video dropped. My best friend was in town visiting and we sat huddled together to watch the Formation video on my iPhone. Every few lines we looked at each other and said, "This is SO black!" and when it was over said, "Thank you, Beyoncé."
This morning I was standing up in my kitchen with my Whitehaven Memphis self in these nice upper-middle class Austin suburbs, frying these organic grass-fed beef hotdogs in coconut oil for my baby, whom I like with baby hair and afros, looking at my man, whom I like with Jackson Five nostrils. I don't have hot sauce in my bag, but I do have hot sauce in my bag swag. And now I have a sixteen-count that's like a mirror to my life to sing while I do the iSlay dance in my kitchen...whilst frying these hot dogs. My husband shook his head at me because he's a hater, but I guarantee he liked seeing me dancing and touching and celebrating his unmistakable blackness and big nose (which he and anyone who knows my preferences knows has historically been a basic requirement for any guy I was attracted to because I love a perpetually flared nostril). She gave me a new way to flirt with and build up my husband! Gee, thanks, Beyoncé!
People get so mad when black people say three-cheers-for-back-people as if encouraging our own selves is a backhand slap to their faces. Like there's singing and dancing going on in the slave quarters and massa and nem mad they weren't invited. Let us celebrate us, please. It'll be back to your regular scheduled shiny white programming after these messages. Whew, chile.
I see this Slate article making the rounds talking about how Beyoncé exploited the pain and losses of the victims of our government's neglect before and after the levy broke in New Orleans. My reaction was basically a very screwed up confused face. Because, what? Did Elton John exploit Princess Diana's death? Did Bruce Springstein exploit the people of Germany affected by the Berlin Wall coming down? Did Michael Jackson and U2 exploit world hunger and poverty? Well, U2, maybe. Did Marvin Gaye exploit racism? Did Nina Simone exploit lynching? Does every other singer who uses their celebrity to spotlight pain and social injustice exploit those causes all to make money? Did any of those performers have to run video and project credits acknowledging every artistic influence and sample purchase related to their projects?
Beyoncé is an entertainer--the biggest in the world right now--so of course the timing of Formation dropping was a brilliant marketing plan to bring attention to her new music and sell out her world tour (which she was gonna sell out anyway even if Formation had been about skillets--but thankfully she bothered to make it very black and shined the light on racial injustice and black pride)--her world tour, which will benefit children affected by the Flint water crisis, by the way.
Beyoncé is scrutinized and criticized in ways that male rock stars are not and it's because she's a sexy female who wears onesies. The cherry on top is that she's black, which is apparently offensive to a lot of people. I'm so glad sexism and racism are powerless against her. They try though.
Also, Beyoncé is not anti-police, she is anti-police brutality (as we should ALL be), so stop calling her a hypocrite because she needs uniformed officers for security, because you sound dumb.
Also, please go to the library or google or read the Black Panther wiki. If you don't feel like googling, please understand that they weren't formed as a mob to kill white people and the police. They got in formation (see what I just did there?) to protect black people from police brutality and murders by the KKK--the actual mob formed to kill black people, and did so masterfully...and still exists by the way so how about be outraged and rally against that? The Black Panther Party formed in community self-defense because racist and corrupt police officers and regular, hooded citizens were murdering black people.
Also, look up "racism" in the dictionary, then ask yourself if black people can even be racist. Stop sounding dumb.
As a proud member of the Beyhive (like, a real member with a login and password), I'm glad we are paying attention. The more people who actually research the history of the Black Panther Party and Google the actual definition of the word racism, the better off we will all be.
Formation is a gift from our peerless Queen of Pop. And long may she reign.