The Black Panther Party. Four words used to describe one of the most revolutionary groups of its time. When some people hear of the Black Panthers think of violence and others, think of power, strength, and endurance. The BPP has garnered much attention lately, largely due to Beyoncé’s trailblazing release of her new single ‘Formation’ and performance at the Super bowl 50. After creating arguably the best pro black trap anthem of the year, can you believe Beyoncé was accused of being a racist, police hater, and bigot?
Whether you like the song or not is a matter of opinion. It’s her dancers that have haters in a tizzy. Reminiscent of Black Panther members with a modern twist, the ladies proudly took to the field sporting natural Afros, black leather crop tops and shorts, paired with army boots. Might I add, they slayed that performance. As a symbol of power, her dancers sent the message of “We are here strong and united, and you will pay attention –and that’s what millions across the country did.
Ignorant people are still trying to give this organization a negative connotation. But let’s take the time to set the facts straight.
1. The BPP’s full title is ‘The Black Panther Party for Self Defense’ –self defense from violence and repression. One day founders, Huey Newton and Bobby Seale, said we’re not going to put up with this anymore.
2. The formation of the Panthers was the direct result of the civil rights movement, which at the time was heavily infiltrated with the American terrorist group, the KKK. Sound familiar?
3. The BPP had ten major platforms: freedom, full employment, end to robbery of Black communities, decent housing, education, free healthcare, end to police brutality, end to wars of aggression, freedom for all political prisoners, and peace & community control of modern industry.
To view the BPP as purely a violent movement is wrong. Revolutionary? Yes. And quite necessarily so. Some tactics used by the Panthers are what some would consider violent. However, until you first address and acknowledge the violence and police brutality that was directed towards African Americans by the KKK & etc. your argument is invalid.
For decades now the topic of race relations has been swept under the rug time and time again, hash tag and hash tag again. It is becoming a routine activity. Beyoncé used her large platform to bring attention to something so large that impacts the whole country. The fact of the matter is, we’re tired of being swept under the rug, and we’re tired of not having a voice. That’s why the Black Panther Party is important. So before you condemn Beyoncé for her dancers resembling Black Panthers, think about why groups like that were created in the first place.
I invite everyone –if you’re mad at Bey’s performance, to stay mad while we “get in formation” and live unapologetically being proud of who we are.