Why "Formation" Is Important to the Black Community

Beyoncé has snatched another couple million wigs yet again. The Queen hit us with a new song AND video Sunday that was pretty darn impactful. The lyrics, the imagery, the production, the barage of political statements, and of course Big Freedia. With it being Black History Month and all I couldn't think of a better way to top off the first week. Messages like this are super important for the black community, and all communities really. Everyone can celebrate Black Culture (and should honestly); for without Black History the world wouldn’t be the same. Let’s dissect this anthem lyrically and visually shall we?

"Ya'll haters corny with that illuminati mess"

Beyoncé shut down ALL the haters who have dismissed her successes. For some people it's a little too hard to believe that a black woman earned everything she has. So much so that much of her hard work has been attributed to her membership with the illuminati. She’s been called a devil worshippers, there have even been claims that she’s sold her sold in exchange for her fortune. To combat those accusations we see several images of the black church throughout the entire video. Church is a big part of the Black community, especially in the south. It was used as a tool to help us through the most difficult times as far back as the slave trade, and we all know how bad that was in the South. As a Southern woman who believes in the lord she really put people in their place.

"My daddy Alabama. Momma Louisiana. You mix that Negro with that Creole get a Texas bama."

Wow… Just wow. What a line. How unapologetically Black. Beyoncé defeats the notion that she is the token black woman. While Beyoncé has transcended all levels of celebrity and is loved by millions, she doesn't want people to forget that she's black. She acknowledges that people see her as perfect and NOT Black, and that Blackness has never been synonymous with perfection. What a beautiful message to the black community. She knows she isn’t perfect but she definitely knows that she’s Black, letting the Black community know she’s just like them.

"I like my baby hair with baby hair and afros"

Little Blue Ivy has often been the subject of scorn when it comes to her hair. Even though she is all of four years old, adults seem to think it's ok to bash a child's natural hair texture. Believe it or not thats nothing new. Black women have been ridiculed for their natural hair forever it seems, losing out of jobs and opportunities because of it. This lyric has made black people, especially Black women, proud of their kinks. Beyoncé likes having kinks and by the looks of Blue's sly smile in her cameo she likes it too. She's even rocking her fro in the video!

“I like my negro nose with Jackson 5 nostrils”

Ohhhhh Beyonce! Thank you for telling the black community their noses are worth loving. Racist caricatures of Black people often times had wide noses. The impact of those caricatures can still be felt today as Black people are still ridiculed for their prominent features. For someone of such high esteem to say they love their nose means a lot. We see many black celebrities succumb to assimilation by changing their appearance. Cosmetic surgery has plagued the Black celebrity community because of their need to belong. Beyoncé says I don’t need to belong; I need to let my people know that these features are beautiful. So many people went crazy for it. The respond on twitter was instant, and almost moved me to tears. 

“Made all this money, but you’ll never take the country out me. I got hot sauce in my bag. Swag.”

She hasn’t forgotten who she is. Beyoncé has never been shy about where she's from. Her humble beginnings have made her into the women she is today, and you can tell she's extremely proud of that. She makes the black community proud to be where they’re from no matter the place. Black neighborhoods are infamously known for crime, poverty, and horrible housing conditions (even if that isn’t always true.) A lot of black neighborhoods are a product of systemic racism and many people grow up in situations they can’t really help. It’s a cycle that pretty difficult to get out of once you’re in there. Beyoncé gives people a sense of pride. No matter where you go don’t forget where you’ve been, and where you are now doesn’t determine where you're going.

Now, having condiments (especially hot sauce) in your purse has been associated with ghetto black women. Even Beyoncé carries her hot sauce! It’s a part of the culture. It’s not ghetto it’s just us. Beyoncé is one of us.

"I Slay"

Because Black women slay and Black girl magic is real, end of story. Throughout the song you can hear Beyoncé talk about what she can do, what she will do, and just how amazing she is. A lot of the controversy surrounding the song is her approach. Many people have said that she’s being flashy instead of uplifting. What’s wrong with a woman speaking the truth on her potential? She’s telling other women to do the same, which we are often shunned for. She’s teaching women to be confident in their abilities, by being a great example mind you.

The cops and the dancing kid.

A young black male in a hoodie getting cops to surrender? Even if you aren’t into the news you have to know something about the rise of police brutality. This particular scene proves that Beyoncé isn’t blind to the world. She knows that her people are hurting. It’s nice to know that someone like her is paying attention. She’s usually quiet about what she does for the Black Lives Matter movement but with that imagery you can’t deny that she’s on the side of the Black community. It also puts the subject in the minds of her fans who aren't Black. It really gives them something to think about. Beyoncé is using her influence to start a dialogue, to change a few minds. All Lives Matter who?

And if that was too subtle for you read the writing on the wall. "Stop shooting us."

Martin Luther King

Dr. King has been used throughout history lessons as the token Black man. He was nice, he was cooperative, and he was respectable, but Dr. King was more than his I Have a Dream Speech. He was complexm he was thorough. He was very strong in his convictions, and not as docile as we’ve been taught in school. But you know how the school system can be… It’s important that we teach the Black community the complexity of their leaders. It’s important for them to know that there's depth to people. We are people with thoughts and feelings and afflictions and vices. MLK had more ways than one.

Beyoncé on the cop car

Beyoncé ended this video with such a blatant display of “F-The-Man-Ness.” Now, if you notice throughout the entire duration of the video she’s been on a New Orleans cop car half submerged in flood water. That is a direct reference to Hurricane Katrina. That area is still suffering 10 years later. Areas that are predominantly black and stricken with poverty never get nearly as much emergency help as they need. That’s as small as a burglarized home and as large scale as an emergency situation as severe as Katrina. Her sinking on the police care could stand for many things, but one thing is for sure, people will leave their screens feeling the impact of that scene.

Super bowl performance

Lastly, Beyoncé’s super bowl performance. One, she talked about being a negro and her black features during one of the world’s most watched televised events. Two, she paid homage to Michael Jackson while being unapologetically black after a white man has been cast to play him in a movie. Three, her background dancers were dressed as Black Panthers. Four, SHE DID ALL THIS WHILE LOOKING COMPLETELY FLAWLESS.

In Conclusion

Formation is important in so many way, ways that I don’t even have the time to list. Thank you Beyonce for giving the black community so many reasons to be proud. Thanks for helping us stay proud during these hard times. Thank you for never losing sight of whom you are, and in turn, inspiring so many of us to do the same. Thank you for shedding light on the issues we face as a community. Thank you for proving that you are on our side. Thank you for showing the world that you are apart of the Black community. The world thinks you're great and often time forgets that greatness can come from the Black community. Formation ladies and gentleman. The new Black anthem.

Happy Black History Month!