Beyoncé performing at Super Bowl 50. Photo courtesy of: Arnie Papp via Wikimedia.org
By David Le (Leon) ’16
By now many of you are aware of Beyoncé’s new song “Formation” and the video that accompanies it. Between the lyrics and the imagery in the music video pointing out racism in the United States, it’s become a topic for heated debate.
Many were offended after her performance at the Super Bowl 50 this year because they interpreted it as an attack on police forces and American culture while others continue to rally to show support for her stance on racism in America.
“Being a female of color and witnessing such a strong female of color on live television taking a stand and speaking out in support of her people’s struggles with white people and their privilege(s) was empowering,” Raquel Rodriguez voiced her sentiments. “Her song is basically the new anthem but for people of color.”
What’s interesting is the majority reaction from white people opposed to Beyoncé’s performance and her blackness.
Saturday Night Live, a long running comedy sketch show, produces satirical skits that parody situations in popular media and culture from politics to local and or global news.
If you tuned into Saturday Night Live’s February 13, 2016 episode, they showed a skit that satirizes White America’s over reaction towards Beyoncé and her song and video.
From the reactions on social media to Beyoncé’s “Formation”, it seems that the skit may be one of the strongest to come out in recent memory, essentially mocking how pretty much all of white America somehow finally realized that Beyoncé is not white.
“I have friends of color and my white peers are upset about this whole Beyoncé business because she’s calling white people out on their racist ways. She’s not saying it’s wrong to be white, just that you should try to use your whiteness to help other people, who aren’t, live better lives.” Michelle Jakobschy from Portland State University had this to say, “It’s ridiculous that people believe Beyoncé is white or not black.”
This isn’t shocking as many Americans still consider Beyoncé to be non-black due to her lighter skin tone, hair color (blonde), and hair styles (long and straight) resembling typical white women in mainstream media.
A majority of backlash against Beyoncé and her song and video is that it appears to be promoting violence against police officers and white culture and white culture is not happy about it. Evidenced by the Inquisitr news site.
From messages about police brutality against people of color and those who are socially marginalized by white America to historical references about oppression, it is clear that opponents to the whole situation are demonstrating how racism is being handled in the United States. According to the Guardian.
Protests have supposedly been organized by white opponents to boycott Beyoncé’s music and upcoming world tour for “Formation” but there’s been no follow through.
Black people in support of the Black Lives Matter movement have shown up to some of the various protests sites that white opponents were going to use and have shown that the white protesters are cowards and speak freely of their racist and ignorant ideals while hiding in fear of their safety
“I believe that her message was about celebrating her blackness and being proud of the social progress that groups like the Black Panthers accomplished to pave way for the present conditions in which black people have greater rights and protections.” Theo Hofrenning a music enthusiasts took a second to ruminate about Beyonce’s new song and video and offered these words, “But she also wants to remind everyone that it’s still a fight today with white people to knock it off with their subtle and casual racism through back handed compliments and micro-aggressions.”
White people and culture are receiving a history lesson of sorts in the most public of ways and the sense of personal attack is understandable. But social activists urge the offended to consider how black people feel when learning about their history of being oppressed
With news coverage and social media still in a frenzy over Beyoncé and her new song and video, it appears that a majority of people are in support of the music and the messages being conveyed by Queen Bey. A message serving to remind the public of the past, where things are in the present, and what the future needs to be.