Well I think its safe to say Beyoncé has officially outdone herself and who even knew that was possible?!
B stands for #BlackLivesMatter
After months of radio silence, Bey returned with what may be the her most conscious single yet. ‘Formation’ embodies the ‘sass’, the originality we all expect from her. More importantly she does what frankly more artists with her platform should be doing!
The song is a huge tribute to victims of the Hurricane Katrina that hit New Orleans, Louisiana in late August 2005. Unsurprisingly few outside and within the United States were aware of the severity of the disaster. This is because much of the American press that did report this disaster generalised all victims as opportunistic looters, criminals and even rapists. The images they paired with these descriptions were African Americans of which there is a large demographic in New Orleans.
“What happened after New Orleans?!”?
What made this tragedy horrifically unique from other natural disasters is that the government failed numerous times. The Leeves, a large construction which is meant to protect lands from hurricane winds and rain was not built to the standard it should have. The government and company responsible for building it knew they were inadequately built. Over a thousand people lost their lives which could have easily been saved due to this deliberate incompetence. After the storm hit George Bush Jr’s government took FOUR days to send aid. Many died because they were not rescued in time, could not escape the contaminated water, lacked food and shelter. And as if it couldn’t get worse, families were split up and relocated to different states. So imagine a tornado hits Manchester (?!?) and the government decides the best resolution is to send your mum to Glasgow, your younger brother to Cardiff and your grandma to Norwich….except multiply that distance by like 100. For many victims and witnesses of Katrina, that governmental response in particular echoed the way black families were torn apart, sent to opposite ends of the country and forced to work as slaves for generations hundreds of years ago.
So Bey isn’t just reviving her career (was it ever dead?) she’s holding officials to account over a decade later haunting them of what they did and representing a huge demographic who were deliberately neglected by their own government *cue whispers of ethnic cleansing*
In America, February marks Black History month so what better lyrics to show black pride for features black people were historically (and still are) criticised for having.
“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” ?
But of course this goes without saying and applies to all races: who is to tell you what beauty is. Self love is all the acknowledgment you need and that pride should be celebrated all year round.
So, Beyoncé is not only singing about about how to be unapologetically black, the song is critical cultural and social commentary. More singers, actors and people with platform need to follow her lead, get in Formation and give a voice to those who are continued to be denied it to this day.
All images from Google and Instagram.