Hashtag #BoycottBeyonce has reemerged via social media, but this charge has a new leader: Beyoncé herself. The boycott of her song “Formation” came after her halftime performance at Super Bowl 50.
Beyoncé was satisfied with her Pepsi Super Bowl 50 performance, but many were not. Her debut of “Formation” was performed alongside Coldplay and Bruno Mars.
“It makes me proud,” she told Entertainment Tonight after the performance of a slew of dancers, wearing all black ensembles topped off with berets, seemingly paying their respect to the Black Panther Movement.
Beyoncé performed the song one day later accompanied by a video filled with pro-black messages. The film was filled with touchy imagery including a drowning cop car, a police line, a Southern plantation home, and a graffiti message that read “Stopping shooting us.”
Critics insisted on boycotting the singer, calling Beyoncé a cop hater and racist. Some even put together a boycott in front of the NFL headquarters in New York that was not well planned.
Beyoncé thoughts on her song were, “I wanted people to feel proud … and have love for themselves,” she said.
But it seemed to have the opposite effect on many. The dissection of her lyrics gained attention on all social media fronts. Some called the song a “celebration of Blackness.” Others called it an “anti-police” song.
— UnofficialMegynKelly (@MegynKellyNews) February 23, 2016
Twitter hashtag #boycottbeyonce filled countless feeds as people shamed the NFL for allowing Beyoncé to perform a song that smears police officers.
— NewsOnePlace (@newsoneplace) February 20, 2016
Of the backlash, Beyoncé told Elle Magazine the following.
“I mean, I’m an artist and I think the most powerful art is usually misunderstood. But anyone who perceives my message as anti-police is completely mistaken… I have so much admiration and respect for officers and the families of officers who sacrifice themselves to keep us safe. But let’s be clear: I am against police brutality and injustice. Those are two separate things.”
She used her platform of 100 million viewers tuned in to watch the NFL Super bowl game to address the brutality of police officer killing unarmed black Americans. And it was Black History month, the singer noted.
“If celebrating my roots and culture during Black History Month made anyone uncomfortable, those feelings were there long before a video and long before me. I’m proud of what we created, and I’m proud to be a part of a conversation that is pushing things forward in a positive way.”
At the conclusion of her Lemonade video album that rocked social media, Beyoncé closed with Formation. Days after the release, Beyoncé kicked off the “Formation World Tour” in Miami.
Shortly afterwards, the police union in Miami announced its plans to boycott Beyoncé’s concert.
Javier Ortiz, president of the Miami Fraternal Order of Police, which represents 1,100 officers in the city, issued a statement, saying “[dividing] Americans by promoting the Black Panthers and her anti-police message shows how she does not support law enforcement.”
Ortiz boycotted the halftime show in respect of his profession. He added the following.
“While Beyoncé physically saluted the 50th anniversary of the Black Panthers movement at the Super Bowl, I salute NYPD Officer Richard Rainey, who succumbed to his injuries on 16 February 2016 from being shot by two Black Panthers who he had pulled over in a traffic stop. I also salute the dozens of law enforcement officers that have been assassinated by members of the Black Panthers. We ask all law enforcement labor organizations to join our boycott across the country and to boycott all of her concerts.”
Beyoncé capitalized on Ortiz’ boycott efforts by selling tee shirts donned with the token, “Boycott Beyoncé”, according to USA Today.
“Beyoncé selling official #BoycottBeyonce merchandise is the most iconic thing that’s happened this decade,” one Twitter user wrote alongside a photo of a tee and phone case.
— Beyoncé Family (@BeyonceFamily) April 27, 2016
According to People, this seems to be Beyoncé’s response to the backlash she has received from police officials calling on labor organizations to boycott her concerts — and it is a profitable one.
[Photo by Frank Micelotta/AP Images]