Beyoncé's new track 'Formation' has fired up the internet; with fans and critics responding to its launch with an outpouring of love and wonder. Truly, Queen B has slayed once more.
Though not in everyone's mind, however. The video which accompanies the track has also received a level of backlash from individuals claiming it's an aggressive attack on law enforcement; with some taking to her Facebook page to voice their issues and call for a boycott against the artist.
"As the wife of a police officer, I am offended by this entire video," wrote one user (via Business Insider). "Rise above and stay above the strife. For a girl who grew up in a privileged, wealthy family, she has no business pandering to those who didn't."
There are two implicit references to law enforcement within the video. The first sees the artist atop a New Orleans police cruiser slowly submerging into flood waters; a clear reference to the devastating effects of Hurricane Katrina in 2005, which decimated the New Orleans infrastructure in its wake. The second instance sees a child dancing in front a line of riot police, as the camera drifts to a wall reading, "stop shooting us".
The scene is an explicit statement of support for the 'Black Lives Matter' movement, which has arisen surrounding the topic of police brutality as spurred by the increasing number of deaths of black men, women, and children at the hands of the police. How a tiny, dancing child is being considered a violent affront to law enforcement; that's a question the boycotters have yet to confront.
'Formation' is essentially an empowerment track focused on black identity, or as Jenna Wortham in the New York Times wrote; "Formation' isn't just about police brutality — it's about the entirety of the black experience in America in 2016, which includes standards of beauty, (dis)empowerment, culture and the shared parts of our history."
Here, Beyoncé declares her influence, power, and achievement ("I just might be black Bill Gates in the making"), do not come to her at the cost of her own cultural identity ("I got hot sauce in my bag, swag"); that she's far from detached of the realities of the modern black experience, political consciousness included.
Indeed, many also took to the artist's page to give their thanks to Beyoncé's celebration of identity. "'Formation' covers so many aspects of cultural and racial identity for African American's, more specifically people from the New Orleans area which historically has African cultural heritage and creole heritage," wrote one user. "The video is an Affirmation of American black cultural identity. I could not help but smile while watching 'Formation'."
The artist, of course, recently performed her new track at the Super Bowl 50 halftime show; continuing her overt themes of celebration and empowerment with backing dancers clad in leather body suits and black berets referencing the Black Panthers movement of the '60s.
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