Beyoncé stood in the center of the Super Bowl 50 football field, dressed in all black with a gold bandolier forming an X across her chest. As MTV has pointed out, the outfit was a tribute to Michael Jackson’s Super Bowl XXVII halftime performance. Her dancers were also outfitted in all black, rocking afros and wearing black berets resembling the Black Panther Party uniform - black leather with a matching beret nearly 50 years since the Black Panther Party was formed.
The homage didn’t end there. With the precision of an Olympic synchronized swimming team, Beyoncé and her dancers formed an X during their performance that has been seen as a nod toward Malcolm X. “Formation” oozes with Black pride and self-love, the song premiering only a day prior but the reception has been almost overwhelmingly favorable, especially with such a powerful video. She stole the Super Bowl and she did it by being Black and proud.
An impeccable performance with a touch of political fearlessness has to come with its naysayers and Beyoncé's loudest opposer so far happens to be Rudy Giuliani, former Mayor of New York City. He expressed his disdain for the halftime show with Fox News - most of his comments come off as old and grumpy but there’s one controversial quote that’s been receiving a lot of attention:
"This is football, not Hollywood, and I thought it was really outrageous that she used it as a platform to attack police officers who are the people who protect her and protect us, and keep us alive. And what we should be doing in the African-American community, and all communities, is build up respect for police officers. And focus on the fact that when something does go wrong, okay. We'll work on that. But the vast majority of police officers risk their lives to keep us safe....let's have decent, wholesome entertainment.”
After watching the performance multiple times, I can't find a single reference that could be seen as an attack on police officers. There are no lyrics that would put “Formation” in the same class of protest music as “Fuck The Police” or “Cop Killer.”
And even if Rudy Giuliani was making a reference to the music video and not Beyoncé's Super Bowl performance, while the video acknowledges the very real issue of police brutality and murder by law enforcement, there’s no scene that portrays any kind of violence towards them. It clearly says, “Stop shooting us,” not “Shoot them.” His claims are outrageous and very succinctly lets us know that he’s missing the big picture. The “wholesome entertainment” he wants doesn’t recognize Black issues or express Black self-worth.
Someone get this man some cheddar biscuits and fill his mouth before another ignorant comment surfaces.
UPDATE: “It makes me proud. It’s what I wanted. I wanted people to feel proud, have love for themselves.” — Beyonce on her "Formation" performance.
UPDATE: "Beyoncé may be a gifted entertainer but no one should really care what she thinks about any serious issue confronting our nation. But the mainstream media's acceptance of her pro-Black Panther and anti-cop video "Formation" and her Super Bowl appearance is just one more example of how acceptable it has become to be anti-police when it is the men and women in blue who put their lives on the line for all of us and deserve our strong support" — Pete King, a New York congressman who wrote also believes that Beyoncé performance and song are anti-police. You can read his lengthy post here.