Beyonce’s ‘Formation’ video sends inspiring message

Laura Irwin

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Beyonce’s newest music video, “Formation,” has sparked more controversy throughout the internet than the infamous black-blue/gold-white dress meme. Many people are baffled by Beyonce’s subtle socio-political statements within the lyrics, as well as her Black Panther-inspired performance during the Super Bowl Halftime Show.

 With the rising popularity of the Black Lives Matter movement, Queen Bey’s arguably political video simply serves to fuel more conversation and debate surrounding topics such as police aggression, black female empowerment and the often forgotten “Black South.”

 But where does Beyonce herself stand with these topics? What does she reveal exactly and what does she believe? Is she anti-police? Pro-activism? Genius?

 Personally, after a close, careful examination into the meaning of the lyrics and videography of “Formation,” I’d have to say she’s quite genius. Instead of providing a public statement or address that explicitly announces her position on any matter, Beyonce uses her music and work as tools to speak for her, compelling her audience to think more deeply into the meaning behind the catchy, repetitive lyrics and awesome dance moves.

 When people first watch the video and see the sinking police car and the little boy dancing in front of the police, they could easily interpret these scenes to be extreme statements of disrespect towards police. This, combined with Beyonce’s Black Panther performance during the Super Bowl and the fact that Beyonce released the video on Trayvon Martin’s birthday, also leads audiences to assume that the Queen has a radical, pro-black message to express.

 Such subtly aggressive arrangements that always seem to emphasize black power and placing black people at the top of the food chain are what confuse people who look for superficial meaning. These scenes are only the tip of a large and intricate iceberg that Beyonce creates.

 People need to put their opinions and interpretations aside for just a moment in order to actually see just how revolutionary this performance is. In this day and age, what pop singer has the power to spark so much conversation without spelling it out on a tweet or post?

 Beyonce is unique in her delivery because she doesn’t just give another platform for black people to complain about their current status; she gives an opportunity to reach out and empower young black people, women especially, to see that the seeds sown in oppression have the capacity to grow into beautiful, strong flowers.

 By constantly emphasizing the Black South and creating scenes that alternate settings between the 19th century and post-Hurricane Katrina New Orleans, Beyonce makes parallels between historic and modern oppression.

 Yet she takes special care to display how such oppression can be overcome. When she wears 19th century clothing traditionally worn by plantation owners’ wives, she turns history on its head, essentially showing the capacity of young black women to rise to the top of their social class despite a tortured heritage.

 Additionally, when Beyonce places her black dancers in the neglected parking lots of post-hurricane New Orleans and says “let’s get in formation,” she makes another genius stride, showing that no matter how dire the circumstances may be, if you shape up and “squad up” you can do anything.

Beyonce’s message extends far beyond what people want it to mean on the surface. She isn’t looking to be another voice of complaint or anger. Instead, she sends a message of inspiration, conveying that no matter how much suffering black people undergo, they will always have the capacity to unite and make a difference.