Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve probably heard Beyonce‘s ‘Formation’ and seen its frankly, fantastic video. If not, it’s here, watch it.
We here at Banshee really like ‘Formation’, both the song and the video. But, because it’s obvious in its intent to be for and about black people, we’ve been struggling to say something that hasn’t already been said better by someone more qualified to do so. Rather than stick our nose where it’s not necessary, we’ve compiled a few articles with nuanced and differing perspectives for some essential reading.
“The brilliance of “Formation” is that it boiled down and stewed Black life, art, and culture into an epic 5-minute music video. “Formation” isn’t about Beyoncé or even about her constant conflation of capitalistic success with feminist liberation. This video is about how Black folks have learned how to sing songs, kiss babies, yell for joy, make love, and recite poems all while holding a mouth full of our dead.” – Tiffany Lee
“Dear Beyoncé, I have to be real with you: Katrina is not your story. You were not there. You were not watching the murky waters submerge your city. That trauma is not yours to appropriate or perform.” – Maris Jones
“So while it may seem innocent that Beyoncé describes herself as a mixture of Creole and “Negro,” this particular celebration of her self invokes a historical narrative that forces some of us to look at her sideways. Even in the midst of her Blackest Blackity Black Blackness, we find remnants of anti-Blackness. And yet, we still rock with her.” – Yaba Blay.
“…in a little under five minutes, Bey told us who her people are, how that makes her who she is, and that she could care less about conspiracy theories about her man being part of the illuminati, or what you think about her daughter’s natural hair.” – Alicia Garza.
There’s so much more commentary out there that we have yet to read everything, but Beyond Victoriana, a website dedicated to multicultural perspectives on Steampunk, also has a really good, thorough link round up here.
However, for all the whinging we’ve seen about the video being racist against white people (seriously, we’re like two seconds away from tattooing “you can’t be racist against white people” on our foreheads), we would like to direct you to the Saturday Night Live sketch on the matter because when SNL gets it right (which is not as often as they think), they really get it right.