Beyonce’s performance of her new single “Formation” made quite an impression at the Super Bowl. The video, released the morning of the Super Bowl, addresses police violence against people of color. Her performance of the song at Super Bowl 50 left most of us breathless and impressed. The reaction from police groups, however, have been less than receptive, to say the least.
Some interpreted her dancers’ costumes as a nod to the Black Panthers and the formation of her dancers into an “X” as a nod to Malcolm X, neither of which most of us have an issue with seeing. Groups claiming to support police action, even the type of police action that results in a disproportionate number of people of color who experience police brutality, were outraged.
Facebook groups that support police began cropping up before the Super Bowl, asking people to boycott Beyonce’s halftime performance by turning off their televisions. One such group, Chicago Code Blue, posted the following meme.
Because, of course, celebrating Black History Month by reminding us all that police brutality is not new and that the fight has not ended is completely racist, right?
Perhaps the most confusing and outrageous post by one of the groups supporting the police, however, was one created and posted by LESMA, or Law Enforcement and Supporters for Media Accountability. While the group professes to want to create more trust and build relationships between police and the communities they serve, this was their reaction to Beyonce’s video.
Although LESMA was contacted by email for a statement regarding the use of the word “bitch” when referring to Beyonce, no statement has been forthcoming. What LESMA has done, however, is delete the above post and make their Facebook page private so they can spew their hatred and further divide communities from those tasked with “serving and protecting” them without being held accountable.
Fox News had a most visceral reaction to the performance, of course. Those outspoken supporters of law enforcement were quick to express their shock and anger at Beyonce’s politicism on Fox and Friends, led by Brian Kilmeade, who tried to explain to the other hosts what was so very offensive about the performance.
“At the end, we find out Beyoncé dressed up in a tribute to the Black Panthers, went to a Malcolm X formation. And the song, the lyrics, which I couldn’t make out a syllable, were basically telling cops to stop shooting blacks!”
Yes, Brian. When you shoot at someone, they will probably get upset and may even ask you to stop. When you routinely shoot and kill one particular group of people, it’s to be expected that the particular group you target might eventually speak out against you and may even rise up in revolt.
It’s interesting to think about Fox News as a proponent of gun rights and open carry laws when the subject is American citizens defending themselves against criminals and “thugs,” and supporting those who say their government is oppressing them and want to revolt against that oppression, but can’t seem to get behind people of color protecting themselves from tax-payer funded groups like law enforcement, who disproportionately kill people of color more often than any other ethnic group.
Having an opinion and taking a stand against oppression is not racist, it’s necessary and has a historical precedent. For those making ridiculous statements slamming Beyonce as “racist” and a “bitch” in order to bridge the divide between law enforcement and the communities they serve, here’s a piece of free advice: you’re doing this wrong.