Feb 9, 2016

A look at @Beyonce's new single Formation, Written by @Natural_Nation

This past weekend while scrolling through my twitter feed I stumbled upon an alarming number of tweets about Red Lobster. I eventually came to realize these tweets were in reference to a Beyonce video that had just surfaced minutes before. Just as many other people it had me a bit dazed and confused. But, after the initial shock wore off I sat down at my computer, found a link, and pressed play.

Now, since this past Saturday there have been a crazy number of articles in response to Bey's new video but this...is going to be a tad different. I want to pose a few harmless questions. I wasn't quite as moved as everyone else was and to be honest, I don't know if even Beyonce expected the reaction she has been receiving from the mass majority. While the video was quite stunning the lyrics had me lost. Way off in some alternate universe where hot sauce is the staple of black culture. Please, don't get me wrong. When I say I was lost I do not mean that the metaphors and symbolism of the video flew blindly over my head.
Beyonce was thorough and successfully payed homage to New Orleans as well as southern and black culture. I didn't miss the features by New Orleans Big Freedia or Messy Mya. Nor did I miss the nod to Martin Luther King Jr., the celebration of black hair, southern culture and fashion, black cowboys, hurricane Katrina, second line bands, Mardi Gras Indians, or the "hands up don't shoot" reference to the #blacklivesmatter movement. But lyrically, I could have left it. Lyrically I don't know how much of anything was even there. However there was still plenty the listener would feel proud to stand behind. Formation carried an overall message similar to that of Panther's Quarterback Cam Newton, themed: unapologetically me. And in Beyonce's case she seems to be Black and from the south.
" My daddy Alabama, Momma Louisiana. You mix that Negro with that Creole make a Texas bama." - Beyonce, Formation
There are so many intelligent young black brothers and sisters out here viewing and listening to this song. I've read a number of incredibly written and insightful articles that take an in-depth look at Formation. All of which seem to deem this song as an incredible political statement backing the #blacklivesmatter movement. Showering Beyonce with praise for her strength, wit, and leadership. Gazing gooey eyed at her ability to be astute and deep. But, these are all insights that the masses have come up with. Don't label me as a hater quite yet. Unless I am missing some sort of interview where Beyonce talks about her intentions and the hours spent mulling over symbolic lyrics and emotionally evoking visual images, these are still interpretations by the audience. A brilliant, incredibly gifted, powerful, and penetrating audience with amazing thoughts and ideas. So I give the kudos and applause to you all. We breath life and give meaning to otherwise aimless content. We take and interpret what we will. So how much genius do we actually attribute to Beyonce?
And more importantly does it even matter? In the midst of Black history month and a time in history reminiscent of the civil rights movement this song is a conversation starter. And whether it was her intent or not it seems to be having an incredibly positive affect. If people want to rally behind Jackson 5 noses they should and if this message is one of assembly...it could be working.


Multimedia Journalist, Founder and Chief Editor of WTM Host of A-Side B-Side Podcast and more. I like to talk about stuff and write it down. Sometimes to a microphone. Either way, I need you to feel this.

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