When Beyonce took the field at halftime of Super Bowl 50, singing her new single "Formation" in respect to the 50th anniversary of the Black Panther Party it all seemed relatively innocent from my perspective. It’s not the first time a pop superstar used their artistry to send a political message. Nearly 150 million people watched as she jumped, gyrated and almost fell while dancing her heart and soul out for all the world to see.
Indeed, that’s how Bey gets down. She has always been a hard worker throughout her career, and she has become exponentially more politically aware over the last five years or so. The lyrics to the song are very black indeed, but that’s not really what has half the country up in arms. It is the imagery that accompanied those lyrics both in the video and in the Super Bowl 50 halftime show.
Its homage to the Black Panther Party, Black Lives Matter, Hurricane Katrina and umbrage toward police brutality were just too much for the aged lovers of the status quo to stomach. That status quo being the tradition of shaming and terrorizing blacks to suffer in silence throughout most of American history.
Here’s what former New York Mayor Rudy Guiliani had to say to Fox News:
“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.”
Giuliani’s fervor was followed by calls for a protest outside of the NFL’s headquarters in New York this morning.
Though Ms. Knowles-Carter is a beloved star across the globe, she represents hope for many young women of African descent. Her stated love her of her ancestry and recognition of their struggle on a world stage was too much for haters to bare. Now, when I say haters I don’t mean it figuratively but literally. Yes, there are those who literally hate Bey and all of her black pride having, nappy hair loving, wide hips strutting, hot sauce carrying glory.
However, an amalgamation of pro-Beyonce supporters comprised of Black Lives Matters, former Black Panthers and concerned citizens of all races, backgrounds and genders gathered this morning in opposition of the protesters.
They came out to make their voice heard regarding Beyonce’s right to express herself in whatever manner she chose and the real legacy of The Black Panthers.
When it was time to show and prove their commitment to that disdain in front of NFL Headquarters in New York, only three individuals were brave enough to show up. None of them seemed to have a clue as to what they were actually protesting. On the flip side, the counter protest was filled with enlightened and energized individuals. People like former Black Panther Smitty:
"My name is Smitty. I’m a former Black Panther Party member from Newark, New Jersey. I couldn’t let it go down with Guiliani supporters having a demonstration against Beyonce. Minus the hot pants, I think she got her point across. It was the 50th Anniversary of the Super Bowl but it was also the 50th Anniversary of the Black Panther Party. As our chairman Bobby Seale said, we don’t hate police. We just hate fascists. If the police are going to act like fascists and try to take away our voice, our given right for free speech, then we needed to come out here and counter-demonstrate.”
Indeed, though Smitty and a multitude of individuals stood as a vanguard against those who would usurp free speech, they were mostly in the company of like-minded individuals. However, the turnout itself was a victory for those who are willing to answer the call of the people against tyranny and its supporters.
Wow, never thought I would use the words “tyranny” and “Beyonce” in the same sentence.