This past February, Beyonce surprise-dropped her new single, “Formation,” out of nowhere (of course), and promptly performed it at the Superbowl 48 hours later, barely allowing anyone to digest the new music video, which came complete with some of the stronger socially conscious images Queen Bey has ever portrayed in her work. From still shots of her perched atop a police car sinking in a flood, to the words “Stop Killing Us” graffiti-scrawled on a wall, there was no shortage of hidden-but-not-so-hidden messages in the “Formation” video to be discussed.
Naturally, certain groups of people colossally misinterpreted Bey’s imagery. Immediately after the Super Bowl, former NYC mayor Rudy Giuliani began proclaiming that Beyonce’s “Formation” was an “outrageous” attack on cops, and the Miami Police Union called for a boycott of the Miami stop of Beyonce’s Formation tour, prompting Louis Farrakhan to volunteer the FOI security’s services for Mrs. Carter’s protection.
As part of her worldwide Elle cover roll-out, Beyonce was profiled by Tamar Gottesman, and clarified her oft-discussed position on the police, and their relationship with the public.
I mean, I’m an artist and I think the most powerful art is usually misunderstood. 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. But let’s be clear: I am against police brutality and injustice. Those are two separate things. 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.
You can read the full interview, in which she details why she focused so much on the word “feminism” during her last album and tour, and the full inspiration behind Ivy Park, here.