Beyonce 'Formation' Video Controversy

When Beyoncé dropped a surprise video Saturday for her new song "Formation," the world seemed to stop and check it out, with the video quickly racking up more than seven million views and hitting No. 1 on the Billboard + Twitter Trending 140 chart, according to

Despite the video's instant success, it wasn't long before the controversy began, when a pair of documentary filmmakers stepped forward to report that Queen Bey's new video had used footage from their film without their input, CNN reported. Director Abteen Bagheri and producer Chris Black voiced their dismay on Twitter, alleging the footage was used without permission and that proper credit wasn't given by "Formation" director Melina Matsoukas, who included scenes from a 2012 New Orleans documentary created by Bagheri and Black, titled That B.E.A.T. in the video featuring Beyoncé.
Although the disagreement was quickly resolved, it brought up questions about borrowing, inspiration, and legality. According to Black and Bagheri, Beyoncé's team had requested permission to use the footage, which they had never granted, but a representative for Bey told the New York Times that it had been legally obtained.
"The documentary footage was used with permission and licensed from the owner for the footage. They were given proper compensation. The footage was provided to us by the filmmaker's production company. The filmmaker is listed in the credits for additional photography direction. We are thankful that they granted us permission."
"Formation" director Matsoukas also took to Twitter in an effort to address the misstep, expressing gratitude to Bagheri and Black, which appeared to squash the controversy but failed to mend their disappointment.
Wondering how Beyoncé could have obtained legal permission to use the footage in "Formation," when the filmmakers are publicly crying foul? Turns out, it all comes down to rights, and Black later admitted that he and Bagheri are not the only ones with rights to the film, BET reported. Also, it kind of goes without saying that the film, That B.E.A.T., is poised to benefit tremendously from the exposure.
"The bottom line is, Bagheri and Black made a beautiful documentary that many, many more people will likely see thanks to Beyoncé. New Orleans and #BlackLivesMatter ultimately win. Hopefully all parties involved will see the positive in that."
Meanwhile, the Internet was also aflutter with buzz about a special shout out in "Formation" to Red Lobster, with Queen Bey singing the line, "When he f--k me good I take his a- to Red Lobster." To show their, um, appreciation for the plug, Red Lobster came back shortly with this response, which was not very well-received online, according to Vibe.
Regardless, the power of Beyoncé is undeniable and quickly had Red Lobster trending on Twitter Saturday night, just hours after the track was released. But Bey's fans were left feeling unimpressed with the restaurant's move to rename their famous biscuits in honor of the music icon, who had just handed out what many believe is the best unplanned endorsement the chain will ever get.

Singer John Legend might have had the best Tweet about Beyoncé's new "Formation" video, when he posted about it soon after the song dropped.

Still, despite the chatter, some shade and a few laughs, "Formation" is a jaw-dropping political video. A serious one, really, that is already being hailed as "an anthem for black women," according to NPR. It's also an artful piece, racking up more than seven million (and counting) views on YouTube and inundating viewers with a spellbinding array of implicit, as well as explicit, commentary and imagery on subjects ranging from what it's like to be black in America to Hurricane Katrina and Black Lives Matter.

[Photo by Isaac Brekken / Getty Images]