Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Does Beyoncé's Formation Offend You? - Thinkjoust Tuesday #36

American singer, songwriter, and businesswoman Beyoncé released a new song/music video titled Formation the day before her halftime performance during the 50th Superbowl.

The inspiration for Formation came from Beyoncé's desire to increase awareness for certain civil rights issues. The song and video touch upon many different aspects of American Black history and culture, mixed with some provocative imagery. Some of these images riled up large swathes of the populace, notably certain segments of white Americans. Needless to say, the music video became polarizing in a matter of hours.

I'm pretty biased about this issue already, but I'm curious to know what you all think. I plan to use Saturday's post to present my up-to-date opinion about Beyoncé's Formation. However, I want to gain a full understanding of the different viewpoints about this issue. My studies will include any arguments you deliver via the comments section below.

I look forward to hearing what you all have to say.

For those of you looking to understand more about this issue, here are some videos and articles that offer some insights. I know most of my audience members are opposed to vulgar language in their entertainment, and so I have included several cleaned-up options as well. I can't guarantee the levels of censorship utilized in the clean versions.

Why Are People Suddenly Afraid of Beyonce's Black Pride?

White People: Shut Up About Beyoncé

Why are cops taking Beyoncé's black affirmation as an attack?

Protests planned against and for Beyonce

The Original Version of the Music Video

The Clean Version of the Music Video (provocative imagery unedited)

An unofficial Clean lyric video (sans provocative imagery)


  1. I'm not even going to touch this one. I'd rather not be torn apart by progressives and sympathizers. All I will say is, when it is acceptable for one race or ethnicity to have pride in their race, yet it is hateful and evil for a different race to do the same, you live in a hateful society.

  2. Does Beyonce's formation offend me? It probably could if i wanted it to. But I'll just choose to not be offended, even if I can't say I'm a fan.

  3. Does Beyonce's formation offend me personally? No. But does it infuriate me? Absolutely. Her video was not one to only portray oppression of blacks in history. The antagonistic police in her video were clearly intended to be representative of the police force in today's time. We live in a country where she is permitted freedom of speech, but it is really sick that she uses that freedom to protest the very people who help to protect that right. She is so rude to post that video and then have the police escort her to the Super Bowl the very next day. This video is definitely the most pathetic and disgusting call for inequality that should not have been released.

  4. 1/2

    There are so many things I could say, but I'm going to base my thoughts on the articles that have been shared here.

    1. "This is their truth. You do not get to dictate how Black artists see or portray their own lives."
    I agree. The truth is we each experience our own realities. My younger sister and I grew up with the same parents, in the same house, with a lot of the same experiences. Even then, my reality is not her reality. Any shared experience we had meant something different to each of us because of who we are. That doesn't mean that what she experienced or felt isn't real or valid. It just means it's different, and I haven't experienced it. Beyoncé is sharing her reality. Just because we may not have lived it or can't see where she's coming from doesn't, I repeat, DOES NOT mean that it's not real. If her experience with police or with today's society in general has been oppressive, THAT is her reality. It's true for her. It's real. It's valid. Her reality being out there doesn't take away from yours.

    2. "If you don’t like the way Black artists portray white people, work on changing the impact of white people in Black lives, not on telling Black people they’re wrong about their own lives."
    Again with the whole reality thing. If you don't like that that is how people feel, do something about it. Don't try to invalidate her experience or the experiences of those who agree with her. Step up and show people that that reality can be different. Accept their reality and then do your part to be the solution.


    (Apparently there is a character count and I have too many opinions, so this is just the first part.)

  5. 2/2

    3. "They elide critiques of racist police violence with critiques of all police. It is they who call a hoodie-clad dancing black child a danger to policing, hauntingly echoing the police’s assertion that 12-year-old Tamir Rice presented a threat enough to justify a shot in the stomach. "
    I think there are a lot of ways to look at the scene this refers to. The way I choose to look at this: a kid dressed in a black hoodie isn't shot. The police are there and in real life similar situations that boy would be dead. i.e. Tamir Rice. But here, this boy isn't. The call is to stop shooting black men and teens. Here is a black kid dancing and cops standing by. They may feel threatened, but they don't pull weapons. They just stand there. The boy doesn't advance, he doesn't attack. He's just there. Alive. No one's hurt. Obviously, there are instances when the person in the hoodie is a threat or as a weapon or whatever the case may be. But in the times when the danger isn't there, why are we still taking cops to court and having a huge percentage of a race feel pushed aside at the very least? I don't quite know what conclusion I'm coming to with this one, but think on that.

    4. Being against police brutality and unjust attacks on minorities is NOT being anti-police.
    Being against pollution doesn't mean you're completely against every motorized vehicle on the street.
    Sometimes good things can have some negative side effects. That doesn't mean every single thing about it is bad. It means you want to get rid of the side effect, right? People target pollution and say drive your car less, carpool more, take the bus. But we don't see that as an attack on every car, do we? Obviously these are extremely different situations. But police brutality and unjust treatment is like the pollution. We want to end it, that doesn't mean we want to get rid of all cars, and guess what, that means we don't want to get rid of all police. They have an incredibly important job--I don't think Beyoncé is trying to deny that. Hence why she probably had police escorts at the Super Bowl. But police brutality and getting away with unjust treatment of minorities--or simply people different than you--needs to stop. To sum that all up again: being anti-police brutality is NOT being anti-police.

    If nothing else I think people should be wondering why she felt the need to have this performance and music video. What reality is she experiencing that enough black people relate to that she decided to make it?