Beyonce's Formation - Feminist, Artist or Activist? Or How to Slay, Period.
Beyonce did it again, dropped a surprise release that had everybody looking for their edges, yes, she snatched them AGAIN!
Mid-day Saturday , February 6, Beyonce dropped a surprise song and video, Formation. Just a day before her cameo in Coldplay’s halftime Super Bowl performance and Beyonce’s got people saying Coldplay who?
I am constantly arguing with a friend who thinks Beyonce is shallow and doesn’t add anything to the Feminist movement. I argue Beyonce is a Feminist.
Well Beyonce has something to say about this. In Formation Beyonce takes on Feminism, Black Lives Matter, Illuminati conspiracy theorists, Entrepreneurship, Black Beauty and Sexuality! Is there a topic she didn’t cover. Bish Where?
The video, begins with Beyonce sitting on top of a flooded New Orleans police car, the video evokes, Hurricane Katrina, Trayvon Martin, Black Lives Matter and Bey proudly proclaims love for her Southern heritage and black roots.
Beyonce proves she’s at once an entertainer and an activist. Throwing in entertaining and tea worthy lines like,
When he f#ck me good I take his ass to Red lobster
next to lines about hard work:
I dream it, I work hard, I grind till I own it.
The opening and Interlude are from New Orleans entertainers, Messy Mya and Big Freedia.
What happened in the New Wildins, Bitch, I’m back by popular demand
I did not come to play with you h#es, I came to slay Bitch
I slay I slay, We slay,
This refrain, adds to the anthem quality of the song, and can be used a powerful motivator. Getting your degree? Getting a new job? Overcoming financial woes? Playing a sport? Building a brand? I did not come to play, I came to slay, in other words to overcome.
The video also shows police in riot gear facing off against a young black boy in a hoodie, the child dances in front of the police like a form of protest and at the end of the video the police are the ones to put their hands up.
Beyonce is saying so much in this video, including embracing the beauty of blackness:
I like by baby hair with baby hair and afros
I like my negro nose with Jackson Five nostrils
We see you Blue, with your squad, rocking all that gorgeous natural hair and looking like a star .
As a black woman, this is so affirming to me. We live in a diverse world and and there is so much beauty that’s why I’m so sick of hip hop, trap and R&B always extolling virtues of “foreign” women, or women who look mixed or anything but black. Like when people ask me if I mixed and think that’s a compliment. In case you were wondering, it’s not. That’s like saying you’re pretty for a big girl. Basically saying you’re pretty in spite of your blackness, not because of it.
Beyonce says the opposite, she is embracing her heritage and embracing blackness. No need for nose jobs and surgery here.
So yes in Formation Beyonce is using art as speech.
She repeatedly says OK ladies let's get in Formation. There is a deep message, peep the formation of police officers in the video compared to the formation of Beyonce's powerful dancers with afros.
Hair Flip Bye
Music as protest has a long history, not just during civil rights, think of slaves who sang songs to direct people to freedom, such as Wade in the Water. Beyonce adds to the canon in a fun way, talking about issues surrounding blackness, beauty and even capitalism and always affirming her place as a powerful business woman while encouraging others to do the same.
You just might be a black Bill Gates in the making
I just might be a black Bill Gates in the making
OK, so now that I've covered some of the the ‘isms, Feminism , Activism, let's explore the fun of the vid.
OK Curvy Ladies let’s get in formation. Here are several ways Beyonce shows you how to Slay:
Always with your Squad
When you drive by your haters. Hi Haters!
With Confidence - Girl look in the mirror and say, I know I look good. Girl I SLAY
When you look to the heavens & thank God for giving you all this Beauty, Drive & Ambition.
And finally, always, always walk into the room like you own it. After all you may be the next Bill Gates, act like it.
For those like me who want to watch the video for the 1,555th time. Here you go!