Newsflash! Beyonce is Black!
With the release of Beyonce’s new single “Formation”, SuperBowl performance and announcement of a stadium tour, Queen Bey is getting some serious attention. While most of us think “Formation”, the song, the video, and her performance as a celebration of blackness; cranky old white men (among other, white people) are offended that Beyonce used her platform to attack America’s cops. They’re upset that she was too dark in Coldplay’s Beatles-Flashback hippie wet dream performance. Really, what it seems to come down to is that they’re upset that Beyonce, a black woman, acted like a proud black woman on the most-watched televised event of the year.
It’s no surprise that the entirety of Beyonce’s career has been filtered through a white lens. If Beyonce acted black 15 years ago, she wouldn’t be Queen Bey. When she wanted to show the world a stronger image, she had to create the alter ego “Sasha Fierce”. She had to be married in order to start talking about her sexuality and desires. When she married Jay-Z, whom has racial characteristics of a black man, she was criticized for marrying someone who is ugly [read, ugly according to White, Western standards of beauty]. When she lets her daughter have an half-fro, she is criticized for not taking better care of her hair. If that’s not personal criticism through the white lens then I don’t know what is! Yet, Beyonce handles her fame with grace and dignity; Yonce never makes an appearance on the red carpet. With the cultural divide of white and black media, Beyonce has had to act appropriately “white” to maintain her star power.
“Formation” is Beyonce’s cultural celebration of her black experience. She wants the world to know that she’s a little hood, that she’s proud to be black, and that despite her fame and image she has socio-political opinions about her heritage and the black identity in 2016. I can’t help but feel uncomfortable at how long Beyonce’s identity has been white-washed and stifled by our culture, but I feel so happy that in 2016, she can finally admit that she carries hot sauce in her bag, swag.