by Sarah Foot & Stephanie Watson
In just over seven days, one video has made America talk about race in a way it hasn’t been able to before. Beyoncé’s Formation is – by all standards – a masterpiece and celebration of Southern Black culture. Her deep, raspy voice hails listeners to do as she wants – listen. Listen to the lyrics. Listen to our thoughts. And listen to the conversation it has sparked.
As a white woman, I feel it is not my spot to discuss the awesome blackness that seeps through Formation. This isn’t my place. Instead, let’s look with the incredible voices of WOC we have in the feminist media as they discuss what Formation and its groundbreaking video mean to them and black identities. From the full out YAS to the discussion of approprative imagery, these articles touch on a spectrum of opinions that all, undeniably, hail Bey.
“The song celebrates the very traits that white supremacy has demonized and rejected: “I like my baby heir, with baby hair and afros. I like my Negro nose with Jackson Five nostrils.” Although the heritage of Blackness has passed down pain, in “Formation,” Blackness is a God-given blessing, a source of pride and inner strength.”
“Twenty-four hours after she dropped “Formation” one of the most political music videos in recent memory, Beyoncé took the halftime stage at Super Bowl 50 and gave a riveting, Black Panther-themed performance while her crew of black female performers donned black berets and leather body suits.”
Black Girl Dangerous – Dear Beyoncé, Katrina is not your story
“You started out the video with a parental advisory for explicit language. And I was like, “Whatever, I’m grown.” Two seconds later, I had to pause the video. I was not grown, I was thirteen again. I had just lost my brother, my home, and my city. I was re-living my trauma.”
“‘Formation’ is a notably complex meditation on female blackness, the United States of America, and capitalism. And the blackness that this song and video articulates is not some kind of abstract, cool, costume that can be put on and taken off at will. This female blackness is specific.”
“During Mardi Gras, there is a tradition that when two Mardi Gras Indians from different tribes pass one another on the street, a kind of dance battle takes place. It comes out of a ritual of “settling scores” that in the past included real violence. Now it’s a more playful battle to protect a tribe’s rep. Bey is doing the same. After the Mardi Gras Indian’s cameo, Beyoncé makes her call to action: ‘Okay, ladies, now let’s get in formation.'”
[image via x]