We’ve all seen the memes, the reactions, and even the shade that has come with the release of Beyoncé’s new song “Formation.” However, if you’re anything like me, after dancing and singing along like you actually knew the words to the song, your first reaction was FINALLY.
Beyoncé is by far the most popular artist of our generation.
That’s completely undeniable. One thing that we haven’t received from her, musically anyhow, is any sort of acknowledgement towards, well, anything. Mind you, those who aren’t careful may chalk this new release as a fun trap song to slay to. This is exactly why the accompanying video has such a heavy significance. While we sing about taking our man to Red Lobster, we also know why that line is so popular. If you don’t know, then that is a sign that maybe the song is not meant for you. Sorry, not sorry.
As a black woman, I’m proud that Beyoncé used her platform to address multiple issues facing the black community, from the devastation of Hurricane Katrina to the Black Lives Matter movement, and even the criticism of her daughter’s hair.
She’s not just defending her daughter’s baby hair and afro or her man’s Jackson 5 nostrils. She’s promoting self-acceptance among the black community in regard to our features and uniqueness. Not only did she address these issues, but she did so in a way that was true to her creative form which makes the message that much more genuine.
Why was Beyoncé’s release of song and video so important? It spoke to black people collectively. It speaks volumes when an artist of her caliber releases a song and video that unapologetically celebrates blackness at a time when black culture is being both attacked and appropriated.
In “Formation,” Beyoncé refers to her roots as a black woman and states rather blatantly that she doesn’t care who does or does not concur–which I have to say is very refreshing to see, especially coming from her.
Beyoncé’s music is typically universal, meaning that for the most part anyone can sing along and relate to the lyrics. The difference with this record is that it was obviously not meant for everyone; it was meant for us, which is something that a lot of people are having difficulty understanding.
There is an art to what she did, and I’m not sure if those who criticize her can wrap their minds around that. If she were concerned about how the majority of the public would react to the content and context of her song, video, or Super Bowl half time performance, then I highly doubt that she would’ve released the record.
This time, however, she created a song that many black women can relate to. She created a visual that black people can relate to. The video includes so many signifiers (symbols & images) that represent black culture and our present state in American society. But not only is she representing black culture, she is also representing her roots as a black woman from Texas. Stating that no matter how much money she earns, she will still be ‘Yonce from Houston. Pulling from her roots to set the tempo for her video and Super Bowl performance, she let’s all of us know that she slays and wants us to slay too.
What many people missed is that she didn’t just address a few issues and then leave them there for us to talk about and for others to Google. She clearly rounded the song out by promoting unity among black women.
So why is she being criticized for releasing such a song?
Because she did not throw it into the universe for everyone to relate to, to understand, or to even listen to. Those who have heavy criticism of this record have one thing in common; nine times out of ten they are not the target audience for this record.
Bottom line is we’re all trying to slay. Some of us just understand and relate to what that entails more than others.