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Beyoncé Runs the World

by Madeleine Gibbons-Shapiro, Staff Writer

photo by William James

On Feb. 7, 2016, international superstar Beyoncé “slayed” the Super Bowl 50 halftime show with her performance of her new single “Formation”. “Formation” makes a statement unlike any Beyoncé has made to the world before: I am more than an entertainer and a feminist– I am a political activist.

Following her and Jay-Z’s donation of a whopping $1.5 million to the organization Black Lives Matter, Beyoncé released her powerful, jarring music video of “Formation.” The music video is filled with compelling images and words– references to Hurricane Katrina, police brutality, and Black Lives Matter. The international superstar has made it clear that she wants to use her fame to better the world– and finally achieve justice for African Americans. No other singer has made such a bold statement so publicly ever before, with 115.5 million Americans tuning in to the halftime show.

In the song, lyrics such as “My daddy Alabama, Momma Louisiana/ Ya mix that negro with that Creole make a Texas bamma,” “ I like my negro nose with Jackson 5 nostrils,” and “Ok ladies, now let’s get in formation, I slay” show Beyoncé’s dedication to her black roots, her self-confidence, her feminist perspective, and the way she takes derogatory insults and embraces them in an act of defiance. Jarring images such as a young black boy dancing with the words “Stop Shooting Us”’ painted on a wall in the background and Beyonce straddling a New Orleans police car allude to Black Lives Matter ideas and the unity and pride of African Americans.

The public response to Beyoncé’s daring lyrics has been overwhelming, ranging from enraged protesters to avid supporters who stay up all night to purchase tickets to her Formation Tour. The controversial song has invoked feelings of anger with Beyoncé; some claim that she has offended the police officers who work every day to keep our country safe, while faithful fans of the “Beyhive” have stood by their Queen’s opinions and claim that her call for social justice is necessary to bring to attention in America.