Beyonce’ has a message for the critics of her song, “Formation,” which she recently performed at the Super Bowl 50 Halftime show. Certain groups alleged that her single was not only a form of hate speech but also a shot at policemen. For the record, Queen Bey says in a recent interview with Elle: ‘Anyone Who Perceives My Message As Anti-Police Is Completely Mistaken.’
“I mean, I’m an artist and I think the most powerful art is usually misunderstood,” says the multi-Grammy Award winning pop star and owner of new fashion line Ivy Park to Elle. “But anyone who perceives my message as anti-police is completely mistaken. I have so much admiration and respect for officers and the families of officers who sacrifice themselves to keep us safe.”
Beyonce’ wants to clarify what she does not tolerate and that’s police brutality and injustice.She says those are two separate things.
In what is mainly a social justice anthem, “Formation,” the musician speaks of her heritage with lyrics such as:
“My daddy Alabama, Momma Louisiana / You mix that negro with that Creole make a Texas bamma / I like my baby hair, with baby hair and afros / I like my negro nose with Jackson Five nostrils / Earned all this money but they never take the country out me / I got hot sauce in my bag, swag.”
These lyrics are what spawned a national uproar resulting in a call for an anti-Beyonce’ rally. A post created on Eventbrite last February was an invite to supporters of the #BoycottBeyonce rally to gather outside of the headquarters of the National Football League in protest of the “Formation” song.
Beyonce’ responds by saying: “If celebrating my roots and culture during Black History Month made anyone uncomfortable, those feelings were there long before a video and long before me. I’m proud of what we created and I’m proud to be a part of a conversation that is pushing things forward in a positive way.”
What Beyonce’ Meant By The Term Feminism
During the show, Beyonce’ also flashed the words feminism on the screen which also raised questions.
“I put the definition of feminist in my song [“Flawless”] and on my tour, not for propaganda or to proclaim to the world that I’m a feminist, but to give clarity to the true meaning,” she said. “I’m not really sure people know or understand what a feminist is, but it’s very simple. It’s someone who believes in equal rights for men and women.”
The singer is aware that there is a negative undertone to the word. She isn’t trying to exclude the opposite sex,but more so wants to raise Blue Ivy in a world that embraces social justice and gender equality.
“If you are a man who believes your daughter should have the same opportunities and rights as your son, then you’re a feminist,” declared Beyonce.“We need men and women to understand the double standards that still exist in this world, and we need to have a real conversation so we can begin to make changes. Ask anyone, man or woman, “Do you want your daughter to have 75 cents when she deserves $1?” What do you think the answer would be? When we talk about equal rights, there are issues that face women disproportionately. That is why I wanted to work with [the philanthropic organizations] Chime for Change and Global Citizen. They understand how issues related to education, health, and sanitation around the world affect a woman’s entire existence and that of her children. They’re putting programs in place to help those young girls who literally face death because they want to learn, and to prevent women from dying during childbirth because there’s no access to health care. Working to make those inequalities go away is being a feminist, but more importantly, it makes me a humanist.”
It’s clear that Beyonce wants the freedom to express her feelings about what she sees in a socially unjust society without being hit with labels of any kind – isn’t that the job of an artist?
“I don’t like or embrace any label. I don’t want calling myself a feminist to make it feel like that’s my one priority, over racism or sexism or anything else. I’m just exhausted by labels and tired of being boxed in. If you believe in equal rights, the same way society allows a man to express his darkness, to express his pain, to express his sexuality, to express his opinion—I feel that women have the same rights,” she said.
Instead of negativity, Beyonce’ hopes to create art that helps people heal and feel proud of their struggle. She believes that pain it inevitable but necessary to transform.
“Pain is not pretty, but I wasn’t able to hold my daughter in my arms until I experienced the pain of childbirth!” – Beyonce’
Written By: Taylor Bennett