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Beyoncé: The Queen of Influence

I wish this article was as simple to write as the Left Shark craze from the Super Bowl performance last year would have been. As the Left Shark awkwardly danced his way into most of our hearts, I can’t say Beyoncé’s performance did the same for everyone. From Destiny’s Child, the start of her solo career, to her latest album, many would say they became die-hard fans to the voice of strength and encouragement she tends to promote. Her most recent song “Formation”, which she performed at this year’s Super Bowl, resonates with many as a rallying call for African Americans to be proud of their culture regardless of all of the discrimination they still endure. However, it has also caught the attention of many critics along with their outspoken opposition.

The “Formation” music video depicts visuals from much of the devastation that has shaken the African American culture, including speaking to the unjust occurrences of police brutality. To add to the controversy, Beyoncé’s Super Bowl Performance included back-up dancers dressed in what one might consider to be reminiscent of the Black Panther’s uniform.

Most critics of this song are outraged and claim to be offended. I assume they find her song and performance offensive possibly because of the Black Panther-like costumes that were worn and the incorrect assumption of what she’s implying. So I decided to do some research on this whole thing in order for you to make up your mind about where you stand in the midst of this controversy.

Here’s what I’ve found:

1.     Beyoncé dropped this music video on Trayvon Martin’s birthday.

2.     Beyoncé dropped this music video the day before Sandra Bland’s birthday.

3.     Beyoncé dropped this music video during Black History Month.

4.     The music video was filmed in Louisiana. Louisiana was the site for a famous slave port.

5.     Louisiana is also where Hurricane Katrina brought destruction.

6.     The music video not only celebrates African American women but also those in the LGBTQ community.

7.     Her music video vividly speaks to police brutality.

8.     The Black Panthers were considered an African American group but spoke out for all minorities that experienced discrimination.

9.     During the Civil Rights movement, African Americans were not only discriminated against in terms of what they were and were not allowed to do but some were beaten and tortured to the point of being unrecognizable, or even killed, simply because of their skin color.

10.  The Black Panthers came to be as a result of this type of discrimination.

11.  The Black Panthers believed Martin Luther King Jr’s stance on peace was too passive to accomplish equality.

Whether you agree with Beyoncé’s music video and Super Bowl performance or not, it’s important to note that this was intentionally controversial. Clearly Beyoncé recognizes that she has a realm of influence and she saw a problem that needed to get people talking. Unfortunately, discrimination still happens and this is one way in which it can be addressed.

If you get the opportunity, I encourage you to visit the International Civil Rights Center and Museum in Greensboro to gain more insight into this topic.






Facts found from: http://www.npr.org/2016/02/08/466036710/beyonces-formation-is-a-visual-anthem, http://www.historylearningsite.co.uk/the-civil-rights-movement-in-america-1945-to-1968/the-black-panthers/, http://elcoushistory.tripod.com/society1960.html


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