Beyonce’s “Formation” song has been both lauded and condemned. However, Jenna Wortham must have explained it accurately, and the singer took time to send the writer a thank you card and flowers.
Three New York Times writers, including Wortham, John Caramanica, and Wesley Morris engaged in a critical dialogue on Beyonce’s “Formation” on February 6, the day the song dropped on Tidal, and the video was released on YouTube. These happenings occurred the day before the Super Bowl 50 Halftime Show. Since the show, there have been supporters, who say too much is being projected from the vantage point of the viewer.
Maybe by reading what the writer said about “Formation,” insight and perspective can be gained. Speculation can always be written on the meaning of a book, a play, a poem, or a song, but only the writer knows the precise meaning of the words. Here are some of Jenna’s thoughts on “Formation.”
“She wants us to know — more than ever — that she’s still grounded, she’s paying attention and still a little hood. I think she wants us to know that even though she’s headlining a mainstream event like the Super Bowl, she has opinions and isn’t afraid to share them, nor is she afraid to do it on a national and global scale.”
Whatever the meaning, there is no disagreement that the video makes a strong political statement. What can be discerned is that Beyonce knows the power of the media and appreciates it when a writer understands her message, noted Refinery 29. Jeanna expounded more on the video being one of self-affirmation for Beyonce, and perhaps, a call to action for black women, added the New York Times.
“Beyoncé’s control is an exquisite study in self-restraint, especially in the current social-media-saturated climate. One could also read this as an existential call to action to her listeners and viewers: ‘Black women, join me and make your own formation, a power structure that doesn’t rely on traditional institutions’… It’s also not insignificant that she’s electing to parade her substantial wealth and ability to out earn most men in the music industry (including her husband, Jay Z) during the Super Bowl — the flagship event of male virility and violence in this country. That’s incredibly meaningful. It’s a moment where the entire country will be watching, and forced to sit up and pay attention. We can’t overlook the audacity of that — and I think that’s why she is able to command our attention the way she does. There’s nothing else like it, period.”
Much has been written on Beyonce’s Super Bowl 50 Halftime Show performance, ranging from “Formation” being dedicated to Black Lives Matter to it not being appropriate for America’s football event of the year. Former New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani weighed in saying the halftime entertainment was terrible and the message conveyed was anti-police.
The police were never mentioned, but visual imagery of police brutality, New Orleans post-Katrina, Southern female beauty, the church, LGBQT and how all converge in the lives of black people, from an African-American perspective, are concisely covered in the video. It gives a panoramic view of Louisiana culture and what’s now going on throughout the nation.
@Beyonce if you going to the Grammys stunt on them all and steal the show. Have no mercy. Drop the album then to overshadow the whole show
— Beyoncé Receipts (@beysusfacts) February 11, 2016
— Rap-Up (@RapUp) February 11, 2016
— Mental Ammo (@MentalAmmo) February 7, 2016
— Leah the Boss (@LeahRBoss) February 7, 2016
Despite the negative statements on the intentions of Beyonce, she chose not to respond, with the exception of the card to Wortham. During the Super Bowl, she announced a “Formation” World Tour, which is already sold out in some venues. A second show was added in New York City.
[Photo by Matt Cowan/Getty]