Beyonce, By Emma Bowen.

Beyoncé is currently the center of a boycott movement, due to her racially controversial song “Formation” and her performance at Super Bowl 50. The singer and her backup dancers were costumed to portray Black Panther Party members, a group notorious for taking often violent action against police brutality in the defense of African American citizens and providing social goods as well, and pay homage to the group’s founder Malcolm X.
Many people spoke out against her image of a young black boy dancing with a hood on in front of a line of white police officers, who all put their hands up with the boy in an act of “hands up, don’t shoot” as the camera flashed to a wall with the words “stop shooting us” spray painted on it. Additionally, people were outraged that the singer had the audacity to use her platform to speak out about persistent racial issues in the country, citing her music video and performance as a “slap in the face to law enforcement” and an “example of hate speech and racism” that targeted…. white people?
Beyoncé’s performance was a clear display of her support of the Black Lives Matter movement, which in and of itself has been offensive to historically un-oppressed people since it’s formation (no pun intended). The opposition likes to claim that all lives matter, and that it’s unfair to pay extra attention to the struggles of marginalized groups. However true it is that all human lives do have inherent worth, this should not invalidate the mission of the Black Lives Matter movement to fight the societal inequality that continually plagues the African American population of this country.

Black activist Jonathan Cunningham explained the movement in a simple way: He asked people to imagine that they were in a subdivision where a house was on fire. When the firemen come, they aren’t going to put water on every house that in the subdivision because “all houses matter” but instead they are going to focus on the house that needs the most help. That is what the Black Lives Matter movement is all about, and while it may be hard for some people to understand, that doesn’t mean people like Beyoncé can’t speak up about it.
Her lyrics in the song are clearly a statement of pride for her skin color, with statements like “I like my baby heir with baby hair and afros” and “I like my negro nose with Jackson Five nostrils” but to associate statements of black pride with “anti-white” hate speech is completely ridiculous. She addresses those trying to credit her success to the Illuminati instead of her talent as ludicrous. This isn’t racism. For her to reference issues of police brutality in her video is not an “anti-police smear campaign” but instead a spotlight on the persistent systemic and ingrained racism in our government institutions that continually prey on people of color.
It can be extremely difficult to accept one’s own privilege, I understand that, but that cannot be an acceptable reason for us to try and invalidate Beyonce or any person of color who speaks up about racial issues, even if it interrupts our beloved but meaningless football program.
However, this is not even the first time Beyonce has been the center of controversy for lyrics that discuss social issues. She has recorded multiple songs that have become feminist anthems and has shot to idol status for many girls and women worldwide for bluntly calling out people who try and undermine and discredit women. Past attempts to shut Beyonce down because her views made certain people uncomfortable did nothing but contribute to her success.
So those who are trying to silence the queen with unwarranted outcries of racism and offense, know that these attempts have been and will continue to be unsuccessful. The beautiful, African American feminist and racial equality advocate answered the hate herself when she said “Always stay gracious, best revenge is your paper.”


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