ehhh sorta. there was a talk to use it but then it just ended. Not sure what else they did to get permission.
I said no
Despite making up only 2% of the total US population, African American males between the ages of 15 and 34 comprised more than 15% of all deaths logged this year by an ongoing investigation into the use of deadly force by police. Their rate of police-involved deaths was five times higher than for white men of the same age. Paired with official government mortality data, this new finding indicates that about one in every 65 deaths of a young African American man in the US is a killing by police.
OK, but what's the deal with the aboriginal get up that dances its way through a handful of frames?
A few thoughts:
1. Beyoncé said “I’ma make me a world.” She conjured New Orleans’ past, present, and future, calling upon the memories and sounds of New Orleans pre- and post Hurricane Katrina. Because rule number 1 in the south is that the past is always present and the past and present is always future. Still shots of preaching reverends, half-drowned buildings, the weave shop, and plantation houses against a sparse synthesizer that sounds like a tweaked electronic banjo from the Bayou sonically position Beyoncé squarely in the middle of a messy Black South. Katrina is not just a historical event. It is a springboard for re-rendering southern trauma and its association with blackness. Trauma is the spring board of southern blackness. But its foundation is resilience and creativity. Beyoncé’s New Orleans – because there are multiple New Orleans and this one is undeniably hers and her sister Solange’s rendering/conjuring – doubly signifies resurrection and the city of the dead. She utilizes the southern belief that death is a medium instead of a destination. Cue Messy Mya, a social media celebrity who for many was recognized as the voice of New Orleans. Mya was murdered in 2010 but clearly and triumphantly declares “bitch I’m back…by popular demand.” Mya’s voice from beyond the grave adds spectral and speculative realness to Beyonce’s parallel statement of returning to pop music – and the south – with something new. Messy Mya sonically ‘haunts’ the track and like a brief séance, delivers a message to the living. He sets the stage for Beyonce to engage the literal and figurative reckoning of New Orleans as life after death.
"WTF is wrong with the world that people even care about how a shitty restaurant responds on Twitter to a mention in a song? Maybe I'm sensitive because part of my job is running a corporate social media account (but not a consumer brand, thank god) but I just don't get why people care."
The vocal fry at the start of the video is really strong. It reminded me oddly of 1990s Tricky, although I suspect that's not the cultural referent Beyoncé was going for.
All opinions are of equal value.
Angela Davis argued that when Billie Holiday put the song “Strange Fruit” (with its visceral description of the lynching of black people) in the middle of her live set in 1939 she changed the lens through which all of her previous songs should be seen and altered the lens through which any future songs should be heard. “Formation” is that song and video in Beyoncé’s career. There is a clarity, cohesiveness and command of aesthetics, lyrics, imagery, politics and pop culture in “Formation” that is profound and immeasurable. Her catalogue should no longer be listened to in the same way.
All of this culminates in Beyonce, sprawled atop a NOLA police car, sinking into the flood waters of Katrina. She metaphorically drowns the police in a flood caused by the colossal abdication of responsibility by those in power at the expense of the disenfranchised. She is prostrated on the symbolic corpse of the oppressor as it is subsumed by water.
I Literally Can Not.
So while it may seem innocent that Beyoncé describes herself as a mixture of Creole and “Negro,” this particular celebration of her self invokes a historical narrative that forces some of us to look at her sideways. Even in the midst of her Blackest Blackity Black Blackness, we find remnants of anti-Blackness. And yet, we still rock with her.
I was just excited for the call and I was very gracious and appreciative that the queen called the other queen to come do something on her track. It was just a blessing and I was just overwhelmed and still am.
Tobman couldn't comment on any future video plans tied to the forthcoming album, but did suggest the release of "Formation" was deliberate, and not just due to the Super Bowl.
"There were larger reasons for this video coming out when it did," says Tobman, "and that will become obvious in the weeks to come."
But all great artists imitate others. In some spaces, that’s called plagiarism. In others, appropriation. Can black people appropriate one another? I’ve never thought I’d come to this conclusion, but yes, we can—especially when you’re one of the most influential and powerful black women in the world. Especially when you take the cultural productions of a marginalized community and present them as your own. Especially when you capitalize off of their deaths. This is not giving people voice. It is stealing.
21. Beyoncé is a logo. Beyoncé is a commodity. Beyoncé is a production. Beyoncé is a distraction. Beyoncé is a ruse. Beyoncé does not actually exist.
22. You–not her–are the Black visionary, the budding potential for revolution.
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