Formation
February 6, 2016 3:11 PM   Subscribe

 
Damn.
posted by RakDaddy at 3:12 PM on February 6, 2016 [1 favorite]


The antebellum imagery in this is really fascinating.
posted by Diablevert at 3:18 PM on February 6, 2016


Also, she slays.
posted by Diablevert at 3:18 PM on February 6, 2016 [16 favorites]


This video is amaze-balls and I am in totes agreement with Black Twitter saying, "Either get black feminists to write your inevitable thinkpieces or sit this out."
posted by Kitteh at 3:19 PM on February 6, 2016 [64 favorites]


I've been saying this all day, but I should say it here too: this is so goddamned good.
posted by koeselitz at 3:19 PM on February 6, 2016 [7 favorites]


The antebellum imagery in this is really fascinating.

Being foreign and living in the NW I am maybe not the best judge of how Southern something is, but I'm going to go ahead and guess about a 10.
posted by Artw at 3:20 PM on February 6, 2016


I think I hear Big Freedia between verses.
posted by Evstar at 3:23 PM on February 6, 2016 [13 favorites]


Serious double deuce action going on here.
posted by jammy at 3:25 PM on February 6, 2016


Yep, that's Big Freedia all right.
posted by koeselitz at 3:25 PM on February 6, 2016 [2 favorites]


You should probably know: the context here is a lot of questioning about how "black" Beyoncé really is, how well she represents the culture, largely because of an unfortunate recent Coldplay video where (I want to believe that) she was roped into dressing up in weirdly appropriating faux-Hindi garb, which as far as I can tell is kind of a thing that Coldplay are into doing as a weird slightly gross homage to the "other," since they had Rihanna dress up in faux-Hindi dress in a video a few years ago too - and also combined with some weird and frankly racist assertions that Beyoncé has lightened her skin or something which I admit I regarded with too much disgust to fully suss out.

This video is - well, the most tame way to put it is that it's a stunningly blunt response to all that nonsense. It's great. It's a celebration of who she is, of her culture, and of all the things that made her Beyoncé, all wrapped up in enough bravado to slay every white supremacist for ten miles in every direction. It's a repudiation of every cultural norm that black women must act like this or like that.

Fucking golden is what this is.
posted by koeselitz at 3:37 PM on February 6, 2016 [57 favorites]


I don't believe that Beyoncé ever gets roped into doing anything. But whatever the context, this video is amazing.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 3:40 PM on February 6, 2016 [6 favorites]


I do not care for the Coldplay video.
posted by Artw at 3:44 PM on February 6, 2016 [1 favorite]


Meanwhile, "Red Lobster" is blowing up on Twitter and @RedLobster has no idea what to do about it.
posted by straight at 3:47 PM on February 6, 2016 [52 favorites]


I do not care for the Coldplay video.

This is the least we should expect of each other.
posted by mhoye at 4:09 PM on February 6, 2016 [23 favorites]


the critiques on her blackness go all the way back to the girl's tyme era, so i don't think we need to spend too much time talking about what coldplay might have to do with this. by all accounts this video was all in the can before that video premiered anyway.

another piece of context is that for many years beyonce seemed to downplay how southern she was (partially for how badly she was mocked for being "stupid" based a lot on her accent). in the last few years she's been standing firm in her roots and this is the best example of it yet.

beyond all of that this is just a fuckin stunning video from top to bottom. it's hard to explain how much i love it without being able to have inline gifs.
posted by nadawi at 4:21 PM on February 6, 2016 [26 favorites]


the lines about her daughter and husband are also direct responses to critiques (about blue's hair and jay's attractiveness). this is in some ways a followup to "flawless" where she stands firm in how she sees herself/her place in the wider culture/her family/her haters.

i so hope we get the new album this month.
posted by nadawi at 4:34 PM on February 6, 2016 [7 favorites]


rap genius

how likely is this a response to coldplay? how many videos would an artist have ready to release? to what extent are releases flexible?
posted by andrewcooke at 4:39 PM on February 6, 2016


I love everything about this video. And I'm super excited she's going to be performing Formation at the Superbowl tomorrow.
posted by melissasaurus at 4:44 PM on February 6, 2016 [3 favorites]


The video apparently uses footage from a documentary without permission, credit, or payment.
posted by Mavri at 4:56 PM on February 6, 2016 [8 favorites]


Wow. By which I mean holy shit. And I mean...Wow.
posted by rtha at 4:58 PM on February 6, 2016 [1 favorite]


TBH Chris Martin being all "Look! I'm in India and its Holi! It must be all about me!" Was the main thing that worried me about that one. I guess you tread a fine line with the travelogue video. FWIW PJ Harvey and MIA seem on more solid ground with theirs.
posted by Artw at 4:58 PM on February 6, 2016 [1 favorite]


The video apparently uses footage from a documentary without permission, credit, or payment.

That seems pretty off.
posted by Artw at 4:59 PM on February 6, 2016


(I realized, while blabbing to the (youngish) person making my sandwich at the deli the other day, that I'm a Beyoncé fanboy. If that's indicative of my "second childhood", finally a reason to get excited about aging. I feel like I need a Pee-Chee to doodle her name on.)
posted by maxwelton at 5:01 PM on February 6, 2016 [1 favorite]


the director of formation tweeted credit. do we know if the director or producer owns the rights to that video or are they owned by nokia music and/or sundance?
posted by nadawi at 5:03 PM on February 6, 2016 [1 favorite]


Good on Big Freedia - definitely has her bounce sound in there.
posted by the uncomplicated soups of my childhood at 5:11 PM on February 6, 2016 [6 favorites]


She tweeted that after the producer and director were getting some traction on twitter. If they got permission from some other rights holder, somebody dropped a ball somewhere if the director and producer didn't know the footage was used until they saw the video.
posted by Mavri at 5:12 PM on February 6, 2016 [1 favorite]


andrewcooke: "how likely is this a response to coldplay?"

It isn't. When I said that was "context," I just meant that was just the most recent thing in a long-standing stupid debate about Beyoncé that colors the reception of this video.

It is an awesome video. That's probably all I should have said.
posted by koeselitz at 5:14 PM on February 6, 2016 [2 favorites]


for her last album quite a few of the producers didn't know their songs were on the album until it was out - the rights were all secured though. it'll be interesting to see how this shakes out.
posted by nadawi at 5:14 PM on February 6, 2016


That sounds more like fuck up than malice, because you really can't expect to getaway with shit like that in this day and age.
posted by Artw at 5:14 PM on February 6, 2016 [1 favorite]


I like Beyonce a lot even though I've never gone out of my way for her music.

I'd go way the hell out of my way for more of this.
posted by Tevin at 5:17 PM on February 6, 2016 [2 favorites]


Here's a pretty damning series of tweets.

From the producer:
ehhh sorta. there was a talk to use it but then it just ended. Not sure what else they did to get permission.
Then from the director:
I said no
The documentary is totally worth watching.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 5:17 PM on February 6, 2016 [6 favorites]


i don't think that's damning - it sounds like the producer thinks something else could have been done to get permission he also later says to "protect your work" so it sounds to me like it's at least possible their permission wasn't needed.
posted by nadawi at 5:19 PM on February 6, 2016


Meanwhile, "Red Lobster" is blowing up on Twitter and @RedLobster has no idea what to do about it.

You weren't kidding, their last tweet was Feb 5. Someone should do a wellness check on their social media person. Pizza Hut would've been all over this shit.
posted by desjardins at 5:22 PM on February 6, 2016 [6 favorites]


that B.E.A.T. is described as branded content for nokia.
posted by nadawi at 5:25 PM on February 6, 2016


My first thought was that the visuals are stunning and the lyrics are fantastic and B sure knows what sells. I'm kinda meh about the song, but it seems like it's a rich template for every sort of re-mix, so it will likely be everywhere in many permutations in short order.
Thanks to all the posters so far and in the future who add context to the backstory and imagery, with this product it seems quite essential.
posted by OHenryPacey at 5:33 PM on February 6, 2016 [1 favorite]


The documentary is totally worth watching.

Buuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuutts

Ahem. It's quite good!
posted by selfnoise at 5:37 PM on February 6, 2016 [1 favorite]


Holy crap.
posted by unknowncommand at 5:50 PM on February 6, 2016


From what I'm seeing on Twitter (so grain of salt etc etc) the documentary was a commissioned work by Sundance Channel/Somesuch Co.(/Nokia?) So Sundance owns it and that's how permission was granted.

This song and this video are amazing. I got goosebumps on my first listen.
posted by misskaz at 5:52 PM on February 6, 2016 [1 favorite]


for your beyonce gif needs
posted by nadawi at 5:57 PM on February 6, 2016 [4 favorites]


Who's got the back that makes the beat go boom? Big Freedia. (Thanks, Kattullus!)
posted by MonkeyToes at 6:10 PM on February 6, 2016 [5 favorites]


Liked the Big Freedia vid better than Beyonce's.
posted by BentFranklin at 6:23 PM on February 6, 2016 [1 favorite]


I saw Big Freedia at Pridefest (Milwaukee) a couple years ago. Seriously one of the most fun concerts I've ever been to. I would honestly choose them (she?) over Bey if I had the choice.
posted by desjardins at 6:38 PM on February 6, 2016


I expect people to get excited about new Beyonce songs/videos, but the numbers of tweets hit critical mass in my timeline and from people I wouldn't normally expect to listen to her music or comment on her videos. So I was prepared to see something special but, wow, this is really astonishing. And I am amazed she's going to sing this song at the Superbowl tomorrow. What an incredible thing.
posted by crossoverman at 6:42 PM on February 6, 2016 [4 favorites]


Loving the Daughters of the Dust reference.
posted by pxe2000 at 6:46 PM on February 6, 2016


The antebellum imagery in this is really fascinating.

I feel like a lot of it is 1890s - 1910s, maybe Storyville? Like it's period, but it's a period after the end of slavery, and perhaps since it's New Orleans it's a place where people of color had certain social freedoms within their own cultural groups? I think the costuming hearkens to that period anyway, with the high collars and the puffed sleeves.
posted by Hypatia at 6:58 PM on February 6, 2016 [10 favorites]


i can't freaking wait to see how she performs this at the super bowl. rumor has it the tour announcement is coming in the next 48 hours too.
posted by nadawi at 7:08 PM on February 6, 2016


my internets friends please just know that i am here waiting for someone to shoot their fool mouth off about her vocal fry and then as you may have suspected i will DRAG THEM
posted by poffin boffin at 7:38 PM on February 6, 2016 [27 favorites]


@poffin boffin: i just did this and it felt great
posted by raihan_ at 7:40 PM on February 6, 2016


There is a reason she is the Queen.
posted by pjsky at 7:42 PM on February 6, 2016 [1 favorite]


whoa the poster frame for that B.E.A.T. documentary shows an installation i worked on
posted by moonmilk at 7:45 PM on February 6, 2016 [5 favorites]


The music isn't really personally my cuppa for all that it's obviously technically well-made, but the video is mind-blowing.
posted by immlass at 8:08 PM on February 6, 2016


literally all i want from life right now is to see what kk harris comes up with for this
posted by poffin boffin at 8:10 PM on February 6, 2016 [2 favorites]


It will be very important for America that she has fierce queens with her on stage at the Superbowl, unleashing shock and awe with saturation booty shaking.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 8:22 PM on February 6, 2016 [3 favorites]


I think that Beyoncé is pretty much the only person in the world who could tempt me to watch any part of any football game at this point. They should cancel the game and just have a Beyoncé concert.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 8:25 PM on February 6, 2016 [27 favorites]


you can see it on youtube literally 3 minutes later, don't pollute yourself with american football
posted by poffin boffin at 8:44 PM on February 6, 2016 [6 favorites]


Meanwhile, "Red Lobster" is blowing up on Twitter and @RedLobster has no idea what to do about it.

Too bad it's not Long John Silver's. The social media content would practically write itself: "Yar. Come in for our endless booty"*


* By this, I mean male booty. Watch B.E.A.T. if you're unsure why this is an important distinction.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 8:47 PM on February 6, 2016


Holy shit and awesome.
posted by vers at 8:47 PM on February 6, 2016


goddammit beyonce now i'm craving cheesy biscuits
posted by Jacqueline at 9:03 PM on February 6, 2016 [1 favorite]


I just read the (first) NYT conversation on this, and it's surprisingly good. I wish it was two women and a man, instead of the other way around, but it still hits some good points.

I really can't wait to read more analysis of this. Especially from black feminists, a la Kitteh's comment.
posted by special agent conrad uno at 9:22 PM on February 6, 2016 [1 favorite]


lol @ that nyt conversation involving jon caramanica after solange had something to say to him the other day.
posted by nadawi at 9:42 PM on February 6, 2016 [4 favorites]


I don't know much about him but he writes like a turd. I liked Jenna Wortham's parts a lot.
posted by special agent conrad uno at 9:44 PM on February 6, 2016


I used to carry hot sauce in my purse and so right now I feel like a golden god.

"always stay gracious, best revenge is your paper" x 1000
posted by sallybrown at 12:07 AM on February 7, 2016 [20 favorites]


Not a Beyoncé fan. I cried buckets towards the end.

I was emotionally fragile as the opening shots referenced Katrina. I was stricken deep with visual references to Quadroon Balls and brothels as the women got in "formation" to be judged and chosen in referencing sequences (just another form of bondage and subjugation *shivers*.)

I had to stop the video towards the end when the little boy in the hoodie stopped dancing and the cops in riot gear in "formation" in front of him put their hands up.

It's not that hard to talk about the history of slavery and inequality, yet here we are in 2016. So glad this woman gave the finger at one point in this video and work of art. Hate the Super Bowl, but totally excited this will be performed tomorrow!!

It happened. It's all awful, tragic, wrong, and needs to change for the better. Let's deal with it. We can all be better than yesterday. It's not verboten to talk about the tragedy that was and still is.

It can change. I hope it does. Well done, whoever conceived this, performed in it, edited it, and broadcast it. Well done. Finally.
posted by jbenben at 12:12 AM on February 7, 2016 [18 favorites]


So glad this woman gave the finger at one point in this video

the deadly *double middle finger*
posted by sallybrown at 12:16 AM on February 7, 2016 [6 favorites]


Oh! And can I point out a sad irony?

When the graffiti on the wall says, "Stop Shooting Us," I think it's ironic certain types of white people don't realize this is about all of us, that any one of us despite skin color or class can get shot by law enforcement should we be in the wrong place at the wrong time these days. In that sense, unchecked violence against blacks and persons of color via law enforcement is like the proverbial "canary in the coalmine," and so many sectors of society at risk are just too dumb to recognize the symptoms of risk we ALL face these days.

So brilliant. This is why I think this as Art, not pop culture.
posted by jbenben at 12:25 AM on February 7, 2016


This is like the opposite of cultural appropriation but like way more slay. I can't really parse all my feelings right now but it's all positive and in awe of Beyoncé.

(Also, why haven't I been carrying hot sauce in my bag that is the best idea ever!)
posted by like_neon at 2:38 AM on February 7, 2016 [1 favorite]


The video apparently uses footage from a documentary without permission, credit, or payment.

Apparently? More like allegedly at this stage. And, I think, unlikelily. That would be a stunning lapse by someone in legal.
posted by xigxag at 5:11 AM on February 7, 2016 [2 favorites]


In that sense, unchecked violence against blacks and persons of color via law enforcement is like the proverbial "canary in the coalmine," and so many sectors of society at risk are just too dumb to recognize the symptoms of risk we ALL face these days.

As a white, I do not face anywhere near the level of scrutiny or malevolence that my darker-skinned brothers and sisters do, no.
posted by Greg Nog at 6:36 AM on February 7, 2016 [47 favorites]


In that sense, unchecked violence against blacks and persons of color via law enforcement is like the proverbial "canary in the coalmine,"

Good thing we have all these disposable POCs to warn us to make a change before something bad happens to white people!
posted by shakespeherian at 6:49 AM on February 7, 2016 [37 favorites]


this is absolutely not about all of us. at no point was beyonce making an all lives matter point. the only white people in the video are the cops, on purpose.
posted by nadawi at 7:02 AM on February 7, 2016 [45 favorites]


This is like the opposite of cultural appropriation but like way more slay.

Isn't a straight woman using 'slay' at least a wee bit cultural appropriationish?

It also seemed, I dunno, interesting that we hear Messy Mya and Big Freedia but we don't see them - there's a queerness mismatch, so to speak, between the song and the video.

I'm not saying Beyoncé is co-opting a distinctly gay flavour of New Orleans cultural hot sauce to spice up her track, then failing to include that culture in her video for nefarious reasons, but… I really did spend the whole video assuming the next cut would be to bounce drag queens dancing in formation.

Eh, whatever, it's a cracking song with a seriously brilliant video.

When the graffiti on the wall says, "Stop Shooting Us," I think it's ironic certain types of white people don't realize this is about all of us, that any one of us despite skin color or class can get shot by law enforcement should we be in the wrong place at the wrong time these days.

Sure, anyone can get shot by the US police, but that 'us' is very obviously referring to black people, not some sort of cryptic shorthand for #AllLivesMatter. It's obvious from the context, and because of what we know about police killings in the US:
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.
posted by jack_mo at 7:11 AM on February 7, 2016 [9 favorites]


Red Lobster really screwed the pooch with their response, and they're getting dragged in their mentions.
posted by desjardins at 7:17 AM on February 7, 2016


Yeah, I would guess that the last thing this video is doing is inviting white people to make it about us.

(In other news, I would pay a lot of money to take a dance class with Beyonce and anyone in that video. And the choreographer.)
posted by ChuraChura at 7:18 AM on February 7, 2016 [8 favorites]


OK, but what's the deal with the aboriginal get up that dances its way through a handful of frames?
posted by tummy_rub at 7:31 AM on February 7, 2016 [1 favorite]


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.
posted by misskaz at 7:31 AM on February 7, 2016 [3 favorites]


beyonce and blue on set
posted by nadawi at 7:35 AM on February 7, 2016 [3 favorites]


OK, but what's the deal with the aboriginal get up that dances its way through a handful of frames?
The video features iconic images of black life in New Orleans. Mardi Gras Indians are a completely iconic part of black life in New Orleans.

Whether that's cultural appropriation is so totally not a discussion that I think I have any place in that I'm going to STFU immediately. And I would suggest that you should probably do the same.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 7:36 AM on February 7, 2016 [23 favorites]


Art is a dialogue between the artist and the audience. If the (white) audience sees elements of themselves or their experiences in the work, that is never an invalid response. It's a desired and necessary response if the artist is trying to spur some self-reflection or change in the behavior or outlook of that audience. I mean jbenben was obviously not saying that the entire video is really just about white people. And Beyoncé herself, despite the overwhelming blackness of the mise-en-scène, maintains little culture drops in her lyrics that remind us that as African Americans there's an inevitable association that we experience vis-à-vis white culture even if it lies outside the frame. Givenchy. Red Lobster. And the pointed couplet "You just might be a black Bill Gates in the making, I just might be a black Bill Gates in the making."

I'm interested in the line, "OK ladies now let's get in formation." Is anybody hearing that as "OK ladies now let's get information"? Maybe in the sense of, let's get woke?
posted by xigxag at 7:43 AM on February 7, 2016 [8 favorites]


It's a testament to the power of Bey that she's able to make a wholly, unapologetically Black video that also happens to resonate with white folks. It's the responsibility of white folks to resist the urge to making it about us. Yet again.
posted by shiu mai baby at 7:55 AM on February 7, 2016 [27 favorites]


that picture of beyonce and blue comes from her official page and there's lots more shots from the filming, including one of the catering and a great one of beyonce with ms. tina.
posted by nadawi at 8:16 AM on February 7, 2016 [6 favorites]


What a fabulous video! I barely know who Beyoncé is and the tweets cut like a hot knife through my usual shields against pop culture. Must-watch within hours. And what a treat. I grew up in Houston and this depiction of Black Creole culture feels so happy and familiar to me. Directed by Melina Matsoukas, who judging by her biography has an interesting gumbo of a background herself (if not the Gulf.)

10 years later and photos of ruined New Orleans still cause literal pain. Our country failed its people.
posted by Nelson at 8:27 AM on February 7, 2016 [6 favorites]


Nelson, you might be interested in the video for "no angel" from beyonce's last album - a straight up love letter to houston
posted by nadawi at 8:38 AM on February 7, 2016 [3 favorites]


Fuck that's good.
posted by chavenet at 8:42 AM on February 7, 2016


maybe it's hardly relevant here, but i first encountered mardi gras indians via christian's scott's album christian atunde adjuah (see cover image). this article gives a fair amount of background / context.
posted by andrewcooke at 9:00 AM on February 7, 2016 [2 favorites]




"Formation" is available for free from Tidal at the moment.
posted by chavenet at 10:22 AM on February 7, 2016


I resisted until I started to hear echoes all around me about this video. I have to say, I am glad I watched. I won't claim to even begin to understand all the symbols (that were obviously very carefully selected), but even without that deeper text it was a very powerful video. It's a fascinating thing to do -- release a very politically race-charged video and song, and then to perform it at the superb owl two days later... It's very confrontational, and I think I like it.
posted by hippybear at 10:42 AM on February 7, 2016


@TheBlack's tweets seem to imply that there's footage in this video that is used without permission.
posted by Catblack at 10:59 AM on February 7, 2016


beyonce's team is clear that they secured the rights and one of the video's directors seems satisfied at this point.
posted by nadawi at 11:02 AM on February 7, 2016 [3 favorites]


It's very confrontational, and I think I like it.
posted by hippybear


"You know you that bitch when you cause all this conversation." - Beyonce
posted by like_neon at 11:04 AM on February 7, 2016 [10 favorites]


Red Clay Scholar:
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.
h/t to Women with a Vision for the link
posted by rtha at 11:37 AM on February 7, 2016 [16 favorites]


Being foreign and living in the NW I am maybe not the best judge of how Southern something is, but I'm going to go ahead and guess about a 10.

It’s Southern but it’s also New Orleans. As people have mentioned unless you’ve been immersed in it, it can seem unreal. Katrina for a brief moment exposed a desperate underclass with no way out.

But it’s still very real. (nsfw) Entire generations come up through the streets, weighed down by centuries of tragedy.

--
Like it's period, but it's a period after the end of slavery, and perhaps since it's New Orleans it's a place where people of color had certain social freedoms within their own cultural groups?

I think the idea is struggle and trajectory as role change, where they can now wear the ‘Givenchy’ dresses (here as antebellum gentry), juxtaposed with symbols of role subjugation.

--
I'm not saying Beyoncé is co-opting a distinctly gay flavour of New Orleans cultural hot sauce to spice up her track, then failing to include that culture in her video for nefarious reasons, but… I really did spend the whole video assuming the next cut would be to bounce drag queens dancing in formation.

New Orleans is very open, and it’s been a gay refuge for decades. But bounce isn’t "a distinctly gay flavour of New Orleans". It’s project music.

--
The video features iconic images of black life in New Orleans.

Believe it or not one of the most direct and unglamorized video documents of New Orleans is the music video for Juvenile’s 'Ha'. A day in someone’s New Orleans life - people you grew up with, EMT first responders, entrenched Sicilian underworld, kids, the NOPD.

I think Beyonce is home in the South. I think she wants you to know it’s ok to be from there, and there’s a way out from its recent and long history.
posted by four panels at 1:38 PM on February 7, 2016 [6 favorites]


Wow.

I love the sound and the video.

What's at the end? "always be gracious, best revenge is your paper"?

That's pretty damn true.

This whole video is amazing tho. She's not the role model we deserve but the one we need.

I am kinda looking forward to seeing what she's doing in 20 years because she seems to be getting more political and less afraid of scaring off mainstream audiences. She's got something important to say and she will make it catchy, sexy, and hit you so hard you can't help but hear it.
posted by sio42 at 1:39 PM on February 7, 2016 [12 favorites]


ugh you just made me feel an EMOTION how dare you
posted by poffin boffin at 2:06 PM on February 7, 2016 [3 favorites]


I love this so much I cannot express it coherently.
posted by KathrynT at 2:09 PM on February 7, 2016 [1 favorite]


a five minute Beyoncé video said more about new orleans than 13 hours of american horror story I hope ryan murphy is paying attention

(i don't watch ahs, just reporting snark on the internet.)
posted by twist my arm at 2:32 PM on February 7, 2016 [1 favorite]


"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."
As to why people, care, I dunno, maybe there's something effervescent in the confluence of two pop cultural streams with different visceral origins.

Really though I just wanted to say you really, really have to watch this short bit from Kyle Kinane about the Chedder Bay fan facebook page and big news that day .
posted by four panels at 2:45 PM on February 7, 2016


I am a former New Orleanean and have been an arts critic for a quarter century. This is the sort of art where I feel one hundred percent qualified to say that I need to get the fuck out of its way.
posted by maxsparber at 3:27 PM on February 7, 2016 [28 favorites]


Oh wow, that Red Clay Scholar piece is great, rtha! I thought I was being fanciful reading occulty magic-with-a-k-on-the-end stuff into the sinking police car bit, but I hadn't even noticed that final commanding gesture the wee boy makes while dancing in front of the riot police.

New Orleans is very open, and it’s been a gay refuge for decades. But bounce isn’t "a distinctly gay flavour of New Orleans". It’s project music. yt

I was just about to write a comment taking back what I said upthread because of the lad with his top off praying behind his back, those boys in baseball caps dancing in the living room, the bloke in white keks dancing in front of a mirror, &c. and now I'm double wrong?!

For whatever reason I discovered bounce entirely through queer artists - Katey Red first, I think - and must've got the wrong end of the stick. I want to say this is the route bounce took on its way to the UK. But it might just be that I'm a middle aged white bloke from the North of England, which of course means a massive chunk of my record collection is music made famous in black gay American nightclubs, so I probably just popped bounce on that shelf in my brain without thinking about it. I'm now worried that this might be some sort of strange fetishistic mental compulsion: when you mentioned a song called 'Ha' I heard that slightly annoying MAW sample used on every other ballroom track…

TL;DR: I don't know what I'm talking about and should shut my gob.
posted by jack_mo at 3:38 PM on February 7, 2016 [1 favorite]


Some of the footage in the video comes from the documentary short That B.E.A.T., which argues that bounce has become associated with queer people. It didn't start out that way, but it became that way after straight artists decamped to mainstream hip hop. I have no idea whether that's true!
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 3:45 PM on February 7, 2016 [1 favorite]


For whatever reason I discovered bounce entirely through queer artists

which argues that bounce has become associated with queer people

Most definitely - without gay club culture and Freedia bounce would have never made it out of New Orleans.
posted by four panels at 4:14 PM on February 7, 2016 [1 favorite]


It's very confrontational, and I think I like it.
posted by hippybear


To be honest, I wasn't expecting the confrontational nature of her halftime performance to take the form of literally challenging Bruno Mars to a showdown/danceoff....
posted by hippybear at 5:44 PM on February 7, 2016 [1 favorite]


omg friends this video and song are so glorious but Queen Bey just kilt it with FORMATION at the foosball half time show and i send you this from the void bc im ded friends
posted by blessedlyndie at 5:44 PM on February 7, 2016 [5 favorites]


NOT AN EXPERT by any means, but 6-7 years ago I saw my first bounce show in New Orleans and it was Katey Red and Big Freedia and Sissy Nobby and it was specifically "sissy bounce" to differentiate it from "regular" bounce. I think that changed as time went on.
posted by jeweled accumulation at 6:01 PM on February 7, 2016


I finally watched that video after the super bowl halftime... with the disclaimer as a cis white man raised in a fairly diverse area, it didn't strike me all that powerful. That, of course, doesn't mean it could not have leverage on other white folks.

One note I feel compelled to make in interpreting this video, however: a few of the settings shown, outside of the flooded area/neighborhood:

- an abandoned, possibly school regulation, underground swimming pool
- the parking lot of an abandoned big box suburban department store
- 1800s, early 1900s era house

These are areas that white people used to own and rule without question at or from those positions/settings, and over time, that absolute power has diminished greatly, or, especially in the case of the department store lot, flat out died. This is from the perspective of a Southeast Michigan resident.

$0.02, takem or leave'm
posted by JoeXIII007 at 6:29 PM on February 7, 2016


with the disclaimer as a cis white man raised in a fairly diverse area, it didn't strike me all that powerful.

Right. Because I'm pretty sure that you, like me, are not a member of the target audience. Not all media is made with white people as its intended audience, and to try to interpret it as it if is meant for us is foolish.
posted by palomar at 6:34 PM on February 7, 2016 [11 favorites]


I'm a white woman. I found it incredibly powerful and feminist and it was crystal clear to me there are additional angles that don't speak to me that absolutely speak to others. My $0.02.

I love the IDGAF phase of non-dominant-culture celebrities.
posted by olinerd at 6:38 PM on February 7, 2016 [12 favorites]




> I finally watched that video after the super bowl halftime... with the disclaimer as a cis white man raised in a fairly diverse area, it didn't strike me all that powerful. That, of course, doesn't mean it could not have leverage on other white folks.

As a brown woman raised in racially and ethnically diverse surroundings, this video knocked me out. Maybe you're not the audience. You can keep your two cents.
posted by rtha at 7:22 PM on February 7, 2016 [36 favorites]


As a brown woman raised in racially and ethnically diverse surroundings, this video knocked me out. Maybe you're not the audience. You can keep your two cents.

Same. This isn't my culture, and this isn't for me, but there's a real, ferocious joy in seeing it anyway. We are all enriched by such bold artistic statements, and by such celebrations of cultures and populations that are traditionally underrepresented and maligned.
posted by yasaman at 7:34 PM on February 7, 2016 [12 favorites]


Holy fucking shit that was so good.

Is there anyone in the universe who moves the way she does?*

I'm just blown away by how astoundingly good this is on literally every level.

* fuck no
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 7:58 PM on February 7, 2016


Anyone got a good YouTube link for the show?
posted by Artw at 8:14 PM on February 7, 2016


with the disclaimer as a cis white man raised in a fairly diverse area, it didn't strike me all that powerful.


As a cis white man raised in a fairly diverse area, it strikes me that you had no reason to offer this opinion.
posted by shakespeherian at 8:15 PM on February 7, 2016 [30 favorites]


Dear god am I running into a lot of conservative/insane conspiracy theory bullshit searching for video of the actual thing...
posted by Artw at 8:17 PM on February 7, 2016




I think think the people objecting here are Yankees. Tbh, this was the best rendition of the south since the first season in True Crime. Many of the images and themes are extremely place specific. My entire super bowl part stopped watching the game to watch the video over and over and dissect the imagery.

Being proud of being southern is complicated due to the racists and morons. She made me a bit proud.
posted by syncope at 9:03 PM on February 7, 2016 [8 favorites]


with the disclaimer as a cis white man raised in a fairly diverse area, it didn't strike me all that powerful

"always stay gracious, best revenge is your paper"
posted by sallybrown at 9:39 PM on February 7, 2016 [13 favorites]


I think think the people objecting here are Yankees.

tea_sip.gif
posted by poffin boffin at 9:42 PM on February 7, 2016 [5 favorites]


Syncope has it! I'm a 44 yr old white woman and I know I'm not the audience but this video spoke to me about being a Southerner. So many things.... Too many to list but I will share one thing. My grandmother was an amazing woman, earned a full scholarship to university of Miami that she couldn't take because her father suddenly died and she had to go to work to support the family... Had a career here in Atlanta, put up with a drunk, abusive husband, and was the joy of my life and she always taught me to be gracious. She always said that a true Southern woman was tough when she needed to be, took care of things that needed taking care of but she was also ALWAYS gracious. You don't hear that word much and I've been in tears for about 24 hours now with Beyoncé's choice of a last line. It's an amazing song and video.. I know my Gabba would have loved her some Beyoncé!
posted by pearlybob at 9:59 PM on February 7, 2016 [7 favorites]


To all the media outlet editors who are assigning non-black writers to do thinkpieces about Formation: I hope you know what you're getting into...
posted by mhum at 10:37 PM on February 7, 2016 [4 favorites]


I'm a 33 year old white man from the PNW and this is such a monumental work of art and commentary it keeps making me cry. I'm on my 30th viewing and I'm crying even harder than on the first. I feel like this is what it must have felt like to see Hendrix slay the star spangled banner; this will go down as a watershed moment in music history.
posted by special agent conrad uno at 10:37 PM on February 7, 2016 [8 favorites]


(Wow Chris Martin couldn't have looked more out of place in that half-time close. I mean, there's Beyonce and her two dozen dancers with their Black Panthers-MJ thing going on, plus the drumline, there's Bruno Mars and his half-dozen dancers with their costume references to Run-DMC, and then up comes Chris Martin in a white sweatshirt with a little blue tie-dye on the shoulder, like maybe he's taking a break from doing his laundry, to sing a couple lines and be completely upstaged. AWESOME.)
posted by gingerest at 10:44 PM on February 7, 2016 [10 favorites]


with the disclaimer as a cis white man raised in a fairly diverse area, it didn't strike me all that powerful

Okay, I don't mean to pile on, and this isn't only directed at the poster I'm quoting, but one more thing about this and comments like this, which I think is something people could stand to remember: if you are a cis straight white dude between the ages of 18-40, basically all of dominant American culture is for you. The vast majority of media is catered specifically to you and frequently by you. You are, in the eyes of a vast proportion of our media and government, the default human. When something is not for you, that is not a failure mode. A work of art is not lesser, either in quality or content, if it is not for you.
posted by yasaman at 10:52 PM on February 7, 2016 [57 favorites]


What if we had to live in this often-stupid, often-awful, racist world but without the gift of Beyoncé? It's more than I want to imagine right now.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 11:02 PM on February 7, 2016 [5 favorites]


I am also a "cis white man raised in a fairly diverse area,"...and I thought this was freakin' awesome. It's gorgeous, it's powerful, it's loaded with messages, it's gutsy as hell. You only need to look at Twitter to see that yes, Beyonce suffered blowback for this. (I've seen people online say without a shred of sarcasm that her whole thing about taking her man to Red Lobster after sex is disgusting & degrading. Seriously.)

And the thing is: maybe this isn't meant for me. I like some Beyonce songs, but not others. She doesn't really tend toward the genres I like the most. But I can recognize that something is awesome even if it's not meant for me.

Or, when you consider all that--and again, that cis white man stuff--then maybe it kinda is meant for me. So much of this video is about a world that I rarely see & have no personal experience with. Maybe that's part of the point, y'know?

I wish her all the luck in the world with this.
posted by scaryblackdeath at 11:08 PM on February 7, 2016 [5 favorites]


Calling it now, President Beyonce Knowles in 2024.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 11:18 PM on February 7, 2016


(Who then, as her first Executive Order, changes her title to Queen and the appropriate method of greeting is YAAAAAS.)
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 11:20 PM on February 7, 2016 [3 favorites]




gingerest: "Wow Chris Martin couldn't have looked more out of place in that half-time close."

qft
posted by chavenet at 1:11 AM on February 8, 2016


As a 60-plus year old white northern fella, I gotta confess: is she on my lawn or am I on hers?
posted by Chitownfats at 1:25 AM on February 8, 2016 [3 favorites]


Phenomenal video.

Wow Chris Martin couldn't have looked more out of place in that half-time close.

I actually read his "OK-at-least-let-me-be-your-monkey(-in-the-middle)" body-language as pretty much the only tenable choice he had left...
posted by progosk at 1:27 AM on February 8, 2016 [1 favorite]


Wow. That half-time performance footage is brilliant and gutsy.

...of course, as a white male boomer, it crossed my mind that we may be living in a Robert Crumb fever-dream.
posted by bonobothegreat at 3:30 AM on February 8, 2016 [4 favorites]


I thought it was nice of Beyoncé and Bruno to let their Uber driver take a verse.
posted by pxe2000 at 5:08 AM on February 8, 2016 [16 favorites]


One quick note on the vocal fry Bey used on this song: I thought it worked. The spoken parts of the song are from someone who is sick and tired of dealing with this shit...so she sounds hoarse and tired. Speaking as someone who hates vocal fry, I thought it reinforced the mood of the lyrics.
posted by pxe2000 at 5:11 AM on February 8, 2016 [3 favorites]


Points all well taken. Thanks
posted by JoeXIII007 at 5:53 AM on February 8, 2016 [1 favorite]


Not a huge Beyoncé, but clearly the woman has talent and grit. I'm off two minds on the video though. Obviously its awesome in a lot of ways already mentioned.

But I am bothered by the amount of Beyoncé in the video, as Katrina and the various issues there are much larger than any single person. The hurricane was a little over 10 years ago, where's she been in all that time on the issue?
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:17 AM on February 8, 2016


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.

Here's a decent quality Youtube of the half-time concert; most of the crap online is someone pointing a freakin' camera at a TV screen.
posted by Nelson at 7:20 AM on February 8, 2016


chitownfats: in a just world, you're on Beyoncé's lawn.
posted by crush-onastick at 7:21 AM on February 8, 2016


We are all Beyonce's lawn.
posted by middleclasstool at 7:28 AM on February 8, 2016 [6 favorites]


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.
She sang like someone who's hoarse from shouting for basic respect and for the simplest human rights.
posted by pxe2000 at 7:31 AM on February 8, 2016 [6 favorites]


Also, the kid in the hoodie looked like he was about Blue's age, and that gave the video an especially eerie feel.
posted by pxe2000 at 7:31 AM on February 8, 2016


Bounce sounds to have a lot in common with Big Beat to me, which pretty much had its origins in Brighton, another southern liminal town with a very strong gay/boho tradition.

Brighton is as white and English as New Orleans is black and Southern US, which I think is +1 for the glorious universality of the ecstatic transcendent nature of vigorously shaking one's booty.
posted by Devonian at 7:58 AM on February 8, 2016


I'm a white lady with family ties to New Orleans and complicated history with the Deep South. Currently (viewing #30 or so), I think this video is one of the best things I've ever seen. No exaggeration.
posted by thivaia at 8:16 AM on February 8, 2016 [1 favorite]


The hurricane was a little over 10 years ago, where's she been in all that time on the issue?

it's hard to track down beyonce's charitable givings because she tends to not claim them on her taxes, so we don't see them. for katrina specifically though, her, kelly rowland, and her family created the survivor foundation which provided housing and support to people displaced by katrina who went to houston. the foundation has also helped with other national disasters. she also has apparently given to the knowles-temenos place apartments which are aimed at very low income people who would likely be homeless without it. this is also in houston, but like the survivor foundation, was (at least partially) created to help people displaced by katrina. these aren't just apartments as the people running it also supply job training, meals, hiv/aids support, and other on going help to those who live there.

and not related to katrina, but to the issue of black lives matter, which is also a huge theme in the video, beyonce and jay-z have apparently been quietly writing checks since ferguson to get protesters out of jail, to help with organizational support, and just recently tidal/roc nation gave 1.5 million dollars to groups like blacklivesmatter, hands up foundation, black youth project, million hoodies, and other related causes on the anniversary of trayvon martin's death (which is admittedly more jay than bey at this time, but her contract is about to be up with her label and it wouldn't surprise me if they got all the knowles-carter power under the same label).
posted by nadawi at 8:28 AM on February 8, 2016 [46 favorites]


As a 60-plus year old white northern fella, I gotta confess: is she on my lawn or am I on hers?

The Queen is gracious enough to share her lawn with us. For now.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 8:37 AM on February 8, 2016 [2 favorites]


I'm an old, bright white lady. When I die Canada will reclaim my soul from the US.
This video is great.
I was born in Tiny Shit Town, on the base of Shit Mountain. And I decided to climb. When I reached success and left Tiny Shit Town behind me, from the peak of Shit Mountain I could see that it wasn't just Shit Mountain but Shit Mountain Range that we needed to conquer.
I came from Shit Town, and I always will be from there, and now that I'm successful, I regret the loss of the countryisms of my parents and grandparents. I can't go back, but it will never leave me.

These cultural symbols might not be mine, but the story rings true. My Shit Mountain might be smaller, and easier, but it doesn't mean I can't appreciate and applaud another woman's journey and success.

I know what it is to go from telling your whole town to fuck off to not giving a goddamn fuck about any of them, but still knowing that place is exactly what made you.

Besides, we can't do this in The Great White North. You just can't dance in mukluks. And no one knows you're giving them the finger when you're wearing leather fleece mittens.
posted by littlewater at 8:40 AM on February 8, 2016 [3 favorites]


...although I think Chris Martin was on her lawn under sufferance.

That said, isn't it interesting that the show opened with him singing "I used to rule the world," then Bruno Mars, then the boss of the damn universe comes out. And dances IN HEELS ON GRASS WTF.

Sorry, everything about this is just punching me in the face over and over.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 8:47 AM on February 8, 2016 [3 favorites]


I just realized that I'm actually kind of bitterly jealous of all the girls who get to grow up with Beyonce as their teen idol.
posted by poffin boffin at 8:48 AM on February 8, 2016 [9 favorites]


I wanted Beyonce to break Bruno's neck, throw him and his crew off the stage, and start the entire stadium on fire by shooting fireballs out of her palms.

Or maybe I'm just at peak feminist rage this week.

And I really do like Bruno Mars. He was just in the wrong place at the wrong time.
posted by littlewater at 8:58 AM on February 8, 2016 [4 favorites]


Apparently there are now people calling for a boycott of Beyonce because she hates cops. Or something. (Here is a real quote from a person commenting on the fb post of the video: "Beyonce, who is protecting you at the halftime show since you hate cops and white people?")
posted by rtha at 9:00 AM on February 8, 2016 [3 favorites]


i like that this person's world view is "cops & white people = safety, everyone else in america = dangerous criminal"

i wonder if facebook has white supremacy category in their vast databases
posted by poffin boffin at 9:03 AM on February 8, 2016 [3 favorites]


Only white supremacy would interpret "please don't shoot us" as "threat to the police".
posted by shiu mai baby at 9:05 AM on February 8, 2016 [38 favorites]


Don't forget how she drowned that NOPD squad car.

poffin boffin, you got that wicker man ready to go, yeah?
posted by rtha at 9:27 AM on February 8, 2016 [4 favorites]


Don't forget how she drowned that NOPD squad car.

And herself at the same time, though. Or was it a baptism? The open-ended symbolism of it is pretty great.
posted by shiu mai baby at 10:09 AM on February 8, 2016


Watched the video a few times in a row and, despite not being much of a Beyoncé fan, thought she hit it out of the park. Excellent visually, musically, etc. Watched the Coldplay panto-India one for the first time after, and it suffered by comparison.

Related to some of the comments unthread, I would really prefer it if people didn't feel the need to preemptively apologize in certain threads with language along the lines of "I'm a cis het white man/woman and (self-abasing disclaimer to precede expression of opinion)." No one should have to feel defensive about expressing his or her opinion or about speaking from his or her position in life (I remember reading, some time back, someone being all apologetic because they could afford child care or something similar). It comes off sounding as if there's an editorial board comprising fellows MeFites toward whom one must tug the forelock before speaking, which is ultimately ruinous to the free exchange of opinions. I'm not a poor black woman in the Deep South, but my response to the video is mine, conditioned by my set of experiences, values and aesthetic preferences, which I can then test and evaluate in contrast to the views expressed by others with different backgrounds and experiences. To claim that the video wasn't made for person X's consumption, and, as such, that person shouldn't be opening his/her mouth about it is rude and dismissive.
posted by the sobsister at 10:09 AM on February 8, 2016 [2 favorites]


I would really prefer it if people didn't feel the need to preemptively apologize in certain threads with language along the lines of "I'm a cis het white man/woman and (self-abasing disclaimer to precede expression of opinion)."

I like it when they do, because, regarding this particular video, I don't give a shit about cis white men think about it.
posted by maxsparber at 10:13 AM on February 8, 2016 [16 favorites]


Thanks, but if I want an echo chamber, I'll go over to RedState.
posted by the sobsister at 10:27 AM on February 8, 2016


Not all opinions are of equal value, sobsister. On women's issues, the opinions of women (trans and cis) matter more. On issues relating to people of colour, the opinions of people of colour matter more. On queer issues, those of us who are queer need to be listened to first.

When someone makes such disclaimers as "I am a white cis man" it adds context to the opinion they are giving. If that opinion is, like mine (also a white cis guy), "holy shit wow this is powerful and amazing and more of us white cis guys need to listen to what is actually being said here by Beyonce and by her target audience," that's one kind of context.

When it's a white cis guy saying it's not that powerful, the context is "this wasn't made for me, a white cis guy, so meh I don't see why it matters."

Context is really important.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 10:28 AM on February 8, 2016 [18 favorites]


I don't think that the opinions of black women are equivalent to an echo chamber. There's plenty of diversity of opinion among black women.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 10:32 AM on February 8, 2016 [18 favorites]


Thanks, but if I want an echo chamber, I'll go over to RedState.

So your presumption is that it requires a cis white man to have a variety of opinions? That opinion is both inaccurate and insulting.
posted by maxsparber at 10:33 AM on February 8, 2016 [10 favorites]


Thanks, but if I want an echo chamber, I'll go over to RedState.

You don't think this thread is an echo chamber of its own? Pretty much the only person who didn't like the video got jumped on and told his opinion was invalid and unwanted because of his subject position.

(That said, I think the video is brilliant, so...)
posted by mylittlepoppet at 10:34 AM on February 8, 2016


> I'm not a poor black woman in the Deep South, but my response to the video is mine, conditioned by my set of experiences, values and aesthetic preferences, which I can then test and evaluate in contrast to the views expressed by others with different backgrounds and experiences.

You're intimately familiar with your own personal context(s); we are not. Letting people know where you're coming from, literally and metaphorically, can add perspective to your response that your audience (us) would otherwise lack. Sometimes that lacking might not be all that important or relevant. Sometimes it's going to make a difference.

If someone come into a thread with an attitude of "I am not of [background of performer] and I don't see why this is important, who cares anyway", well, maybe it's good that they hear in words that their "so what" is unwelcome and irrelevant: why do they think their not-caring is so important that they have to tell people?
posted by rtha at 10:36 AM on February 8, 2016 [10 favorites]


I hear what you're saying but must respectfully disagree. I don't think any one person's opinion on a topic matters more than another's. It may be better informed or better expressed, but to say (or feel one has to say)' "I'm a cis man, so I should really keep my views on trans issues to myself" is censorious and wrong.

All opinions are of equal value. Whether one chooses to engage them or listen to them or ignore them is one's choice. There's been a trend towards self-censorship here that I find disquieting. That people are, in this thread, straight-up advising white men not to comment on the video is more than a little fucked up.
posted by the sobsister at 10:37 AM on February 8, 2016 [1 favorite]


Thanks, but if I want an echo chamber, I'll go over to RedState.

Disagreement is not the beating heart of valuable conversation.
posted by shakespeherian at 10:38 AM on February 8, 2016 [19 favorites]


Pretty much the only person who didn't like the video got jumped on and told his opinion was invalid and unwanted because of his subject position.

We've been through this before: Most of the people in the emotional labor thread agreed that emotional labor was a thing, it was a problem, and was worth discussing. That did not make the thread an echo chamber, and having men come in and declare that it was not a thing, not a problem, and not worth discussing would not have improved the thread.
posted by maxsparber at 10:39 AM on February 8, 2016 [5 favorites]


Sorry, no. Not all opinions are equally valuable. The opinion of a Stormfront member is not as valuable as that of a BLM activist.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 10:39 AM on February 8, 2016 [9 favorites]


All opinions are of equal value.

Hardly. An uninformed opinion is markedly less valuable than an informed one.
posted by maxsparber at 10:39 AM on February 8, 2016 [31 favorites]


Letting people know where you're coming from, literally and metaphorically, can add perspective to your response that your audience (us) would otherwise lack.

I agree and don't have any problem with people saying "as a gay man" or "as a black woman" to provide context. That can be very useful. My concern is when people feel they have to provide that context apologetically: I'm a cis het white woman, and I probably don't know what the hell I'm talking about, but I think...
posted by the sobsister at 10:41 AM on February 8, 2016


All opinions are of equal value.
You know, they're really not. Informed opinions, for instance, are of a lot more value than uninformed opinions. If a climate scientist says that climate change is real, and my dingbat great-uncle who doesn't understand science at all says it's not, then I'm not going to say that both opinions are equal.

At any rate, "your favorite band sucks" is generally not considered to be a helpful line of commenting on Metafilter, and "I am coming from a privileged subject position and I'm going to tell you that your favorite band sucks" is less helpful than usual.
posted by ArbitraryAndCapricious at 10:42 AM on February 8, 2016 [20 favorites]


Anyway, the question of whether all opinions are equal is needlessly meta. Instead, here are a few links I have found useful:

Beyoncé's Formation reclaims black America's narrative from the margins
Entertainer, Activist, Both?
The Complete Guide to Beyoncé’s ‘Formation’
Messy Mya, Big Freedia in Beyonce's New Orleans-inspired video
posted by maxsparber at 10:46 AM on February 8, 2016 [10 favorites]


I just realized that I'm actually kind of bitterly jealous of all the girls who get to grow up with Beyonce as their teen idol.

Yeah, my age cohort had Madonna, which, meh. Talented and boundary-pushing, for sure, but not particularly inspirational in my view. The next generation had who? Britney Spears?
posted by desjardins at 10:51 AM on February 8, 2016 [1 favorite]


[Couple comments removed; please drop the abstract But What About Cis Het White Male Opinions derail here. If you really need to have that discussion, take it up on MetaTalk.]
posted by cortex (staff) at 10:54 AM on February 8, 2016 [8 favorites]


I'd also like to point out the #BeingABlackGirlIsLit hashtag on Twitter, which seems to have been prompted, in part, by the Beyonce video, and is worth scrolling through.
posted by maxsparber at 10:57 AM on February 8, 2016 [2 favorites]


the scared white asshole reaction to the video, the super bowl performance, the mere existence of beyonce... it's definitely helping strengthen my resolve to stay the fuck off of facebook for a minute.
posted by palomar at 10:59 AM on February 8, 2016 [3 favorites]


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.
Get What's Mine: "Formation" Changes the Way We Listen to Beyonce Forever

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.
Beyonce Gets Political, and I Get Snatched Bald: An Overview of Themes and Motifs in the Formation Music Video
posted by nadawi at 11:01 AM on February 8, 2016 [23 favorites]


[Folks, stop and reload the thread and please avoid responding to stuff that has itself been deleted. I said please drop it and I meant it.]
posted by cortex (staff) at 11:39 AM on February 8, 2016 [1 favorite]




Now can we talk about the important issues, like the magical way she pronounces "bag" in "I got a hot sauce in my bag" and how it takes my breath away every time?

Beyoncé’s New Video For “Formation” Is A Sign The Black Y2k Is Coming

There was so much blackness in the video that the universe is going to experience a blackness eclipse. Beyoncé broke the blackness sound barrier, and now, there will be excessive levels of blackness radiating all over the globe.

Beyonce’s Formation is Her Best Thing Yet and it’s the IDGAF Anthem

I also loved this so damb much because it is Beyonce showing that she is fresh outta fucks to give. Her field of fucks is barren, and this is a 4.5 minute essay on how fuck-deficient she has become. She doesn’t give a damb about hurting the feelings of her haters, white gaze or the system that doesn’t love us.

posted by MCMikeNamara at 12:06 PM on February 8, 2016 [4 favorites]


The"We Slay, Part I" essay mentioned in shiu mai baby's link is also worth reading.
posted by maxsparber at 12:07 PM on February 8, 2016 [2 favorites]


Anyone else feel like that half-time show was some kind of weird attempt to co-opt Beyoncé into some kind of everything's-fine racial harmony message?

You start with one of the whitest bands in America surrounded by a predominantly white crowd of fans. Then you have Beyoncé come out with song and costume that are very African-American centered (and I think Bruno Mars was there too maybe?). Then they all come together and sing the white dude's song.

I don't think it quite worked that way, in that it seemed more like Beyoncé was graciously letting her opening act come out and take another bow to end the show, and humoring everyone by singing along.
posted by straight at 12:07 PM on February 8, 2016 [2 favorites]


straight: "Anyone else feel like that half-time show was some kind of weird attempt to co-opt Beyoncé into some kind of everything's-fine racial harmony message?"

I actually had kind of the opposite feeling: that Beyonce managed to co-opt the entire appartus of the NFL and the Super Bowl into being merely a promotional vehicle for her upcoming world tour. I mean, the lack of pre-publicity (which has kind of become a signature promo move for her) made me want to imagine that Beyonce just group texted Les Moonves and Roger Goodell on Saturday and said "hey guys i'll be coming thru tomorrow around 4:30. be ready *winky emoji*"

In any case, like I saw someone on Twitter say, I think we can all congratulate Beyonce for winning her second Super Bowl.
posted by mhum at 12:19 PM on February 8, 2016 [15 favorites]


Some of the footage in the video comes from the documentary short That B.E.A.T. vimeo , which argues that bounce has become associated with queer people. It didn't start out that way, but it became that way after straight artists decamped to mainstream hip hop. I have no idea whether that's true!

Yeah, after watching the short it really seems like, whatever the history of bounce, the clips Beyoncé and Melinda Matouskas selected for the Formation video were chosen as a way to explicitly include black queer experiences. Come to think of it, you could read Foundation as a companion piece to BLM's Guiding Principles.

I am grateful for commenters who not only acknowledge that they aren't the target audience

This is something I'm not sure I properly understand. Isn't the target audience for Formation everyone? In the sense that it's an affirmation, call to arms, &c. for some people, and a confrontation, education, &c. for other people, and so on. (Though very much not in the sense that, e.g., old white blokes can somehow claim ownership of Beyoncé's work, or that responses from all sections of the audience are equally valid/relevant.)
posted by jack_mo at 12:24 PM on February 8, 2016


Is it okay to admit that I am a little weirded out by white people wanting stuff from the Formation collection? I mean, I would sort of like to have a I Got Hot Sauce in My Bag tote, but I also think I'd feel super uncomfortable.
posted by Kitteh at 12:25 PM on February 8, 2016 [1 favorite]


Anyone else feel like that half-time show was some kind of weird attempt to co-opt Beyoncé into some kind of everything's-fine racial harmony message?

did you miss the part where black women in leather and berets marched out in an X formation though

that kind of blatant message in the MIDDLE OF THE MOST WATCHED TELEVISED EVENT OF THE YEAR can't really be diminished by some scruffy middleaged white dude in a dirty sweatshirt
posted by poffin boffin at 12:28 PM on February 8, 2016 [17 favorites]


I feel like in this case the target audience should really be viewed as an actual target with rings and a bullseye in the middle. We're all somewhere on that target, but how close we come to the center depends a lot on our actual lived experiences.
posted by padraigin at 12:29 PM on February 8, 2016 [6 favorites]


This is something I'm not sure I properly understand. Isn't the target audience for Formation everyone?

Eh, it's sort of semantics. I mean, obviously the target audience is everybody, inasmuch as everyone is invited to consume and respond to this piece of art. It's not like it's thoroughly opaque to everyone in the outgroup, and it's not like there are any barriers of access being enforced (beyond the passive barriers to access that are inherent in the form itself). I think it just depends on what you mean by something being "for" a specific audience. I'd say the video is first and foremost "for" black women, because it's them Beyonce is calling out to "get in formation," and it's their symbols the video is full of. Like, that is the thesis statement and purpose of the song/video, everything else is sort of supplementary.

Using the concept of the gaze, I think it's fairly evident this video is not meant for the white gaze, that it's in fact partly a reaction to and confrontation of the white gaze. If the gaze is a relationship, the relationship the video is participating in isn't the relationship between Beyonce/average white consumer. I'm sure someone who actually knows something about theory is working on that article/think piece as we speak.
posted by yasaman at 12:58 PM on February 8, 2016 [8 favorites]


Wrote this as an FPP, was instructed to add it here instead. My apologies if I'm duplicating other links that have already been posted in the comments above!

"Beyoncé don’t give no fucks about your Saturday afternoon."

Beyoncé dropped a new video Saturday afternoon like a bomb on an unsuspecting internet populace. In Formation, an unapologetically black southern anthem, Queen Bey foretells our future: "You know you that bitch when you cause all this coversation."

Dr. Zandria Robinson, on her blog New South Negress, writes about Formation as "a different kind of resistance practice, one rooted in the epistemology of (and sometimes only visible/detectable to) folks on the margins of blackness," an argument she later elaborates on for Rolling Stone following Beyoncé's historic Super Bowl 50 halftime performance. And Dr. Robinson isn't the only one offering deeply insightful analyses of the symbolism in (and implications of) Formation.
posted by a.steele at 1:07 PM on February 8, 2016 [25 favorites]


Is it okay to admit that I am a little weirded out by white people wanting stuff from the Formation collection? I mean, I would sort of like to have a I Got Hot Sauce in My Bag tote, but I also think I'd feel super uncomfortable.

hm, maybe. It's a little complicated b/c I think there are also feminist and class-based messages in the song, some of which I identify with very strongly (although I generally don't consider myself white, I do pass, and I'm definitely not black/creole or anything similar)

so I don't necessarily consider it a given that a white person might identify with and feel genuine pride in the message(s) in the song that appeal to them

but yeah, ppl gonna shallow-ly fashion accessory other ppls important stuff. that's a thing they do, and it's annoying, but what are you gonna do

(plus beyonce is gonna get the money from it so it could be a LOT worse)

what I'm personally not looking forward to is the inevitable iggy azalea type pale imitations...
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 1:09 PM on February 8, 2016 [1 favorite]


Formation/In formation/Information, yes?

How the hell am I going to get decent seats for the Seattle show is my big problem right now.
posted by jokeefe at 1:10 PM on February 8, 2016 [5 favorites]


Is it okay to admit that I am a little weirded out by white people wanting stuff from the Formation collection? I mean, I would sort of like to have a I Got Hot Sauce in My Bag tote, but I also think I'd feel super uncomfortable.

This is in a grand tradition of clueless white appropriation that was perhaps best epitomized by white people wearing FUBU ("for us, by us", for those too young to remember.)
posted by gingerest at 1:16 PM on February 8, 2016 [3 favorites]


Michelle Obama live: Celebrating African American Women & Dance
posted by melissasaurus at 1:16 PM on February 8, 2016


Dam fine work there a.steele.
posted by Artw at 1:20 PM on February 8, 2016 [3 favorites]


i can't stop talking about this and my comp students are looking at me with a degree of WTH.
posted by angrycat at 2:16 PM on February 8, 2016 [1 favorite]


Holy cow, I just noticed something. The YouTube video for Formation, the one linked above, the one with 13.38 million views in two and a half days, is unlisted. You can't find it via YouTube's search (go ahead and try). It's not listed on Beyonce's video page (go ahead and look). Was it always thus? Did it get flipped to unlisted recently? Or did it become the video of the moment purely through link sharing?
posted by mhum at 2:48 PM on February 8, 2016 [7 favorites]


it's been unlisted the entire time, yes.
posted by poffin boffin at 2:57 PM on February 8, 2016 [3 favorites]


I had a hell of a time finding it by search when I've looked for it that way, guess I know why now.
posted by Artw at 2:58 PM on February 8, 2016 [4 favorites]


(Reaction videos though, there are hundreds of)
posted by Artw at 2:59 PM on February 8, 2016


It was unlisted yesterday as of about 11 AM, for sure.

I am extremely fortunate not to have anyone in my life who has spent any time in my hearing grousing about this video, or about the messages in it, or about Beyonce's performance at the Super Bowl, or about Beyonce in general. (why does this make ME fortunate? because that luminol shit picks up everything, and my children would miss their mother if I were in jail.) I am not the bullseye in the target audience for this song, not by a long shot, but I grew up in the Gulf Coast area (Houston, TX, Bey's home town!) and this video plucked nostalgia strings I didn't even know I HAD. Like, I didn't carry hot sauce in my bag, but I sure had a lot of friends who did. This experience of growing up in Houston was not my experience of growing up in Houston, but I saw it all around me.
posted by KathrynT at 3:02 PM on February 8, 2016 [4 favorites]


according to syncope you can get it on a carabiner so it doesn't leak inside your bag

what a time to be alive
posted by poffin boffin at 3:06 PM on February 8, 2016 [1 favorite]


Oh, Clickhole...
posted by Artw at 3:07 PM on February 8, 2016 [1 favorite]


poffin boffin: "it's been unlisted the entire time, yes."

Perfect. I can see them uploading it and keeping it unlisted to prevent it accidentally getting found early. And then when the view counts start climbing into the millions, they're all "oh yeah, almost forgot, should we flip it to listed? nah, it's fine. the people know."
posted by mhum at 3:23 PM on February 8, 2016


Also, can we speculate about what brand of hot sauce is in Bey's bag? I'm going to guess either Crystal or Frank's Red Hot. However, if it's Tabasco, so help me...
posted by mhum at 3:30 PM on February 8, 2016


there have been fantastic hot sauce conversations on twitter today. i learned that cholula has a 2oz version that i'm probably going to pick up soon.
posted by nadawi at 3:32 PM on February 8, 2016 [1 favorite]




I liked Bey ok before but just watched that video and whoa what was that let's just watch it forever.
posted by sweetkid at 5:11 PM on February 8, 2016 [3 favorites]


it's hard to track down beyonce's charitable givings because she tends to not claim them on her taxes, so we don't see them.

Yeah, I hear ya on that, she's done stuff, but quietly. And the video is certainly great as a call to action, what with all that's occurred since Katrina. It isn't about just one thing, but a multitude of sins committed against black people and Formation is a giant "fuck you" to all that. Which works great.

But it is disappointing to see the smallest shout out to the Mardi Gras Indians and not to see Big Freedia in the video. Was that absence due to black culture's homophobia? It feels like appropriation. And the song itself continues the obsession with the materialistic aspects of American culture.

Like I said, the video is great, but it and the song give me pause, even as I'm bobbin' my head.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 5:27 PM on February 8, 2016


Oh, Clickhole...

Clickhole is never funny.
posted by crossoverman at 6:11 PM on February 8, 2016


I wouldn't characterize her discussion of her economic power as being about merely material goods

Or as shallow or bad, which I think you're implying

It's a celebration of Bey's economic power and her ability to behave as a subject, not an object, because of her economic power. That's not a "continuance" of a cultural narrative where women are typically treated as an inconveniently-sentient materialist goods.
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 7:10 PM on February 8, 2016 [12 favorites]


But it is disappointing to see the smallest shout out to the Mardi Gras Indians and not to see Big Freedia in the video. Was that absence due to black culture's homophobia? It feels like appropriation.

I am a little confused by this. Do you mean not enough use of the Mardi Gras Indian shows Beyoncé's cultural appropriation? Or that the Mardi Gras Indian is a symbol of widespread cultural appropriation so shouldn't be used?
posted by wobumingbai at 9:15 PM on February 8, 2016


The music style is very associated with queer culture, as is Mardi Gras around the world. (e.g., Mardi Gras is a huuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuge Pride event in Sydney.)
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 10:13 PM on February 8, 2016


On 'Jackson Five Nostrils,' Creole vs. 'Negro' and Beefing Over Beyoncé's 'Formation'
As you know, the video for Beyoncé Knowles' "Formation" does the most, from invoking police violence, to flashing back to Hurricane Katrina, to celebrating Blue Ivy's adorable afro. Here, Yaba Blay, a dark-skinned, New Orleans-bred scholar who researches skin color and identity politics, gets into a topic we've been avoiding: the message Beyoncé is sending about complexion and worth.
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.
posted by andoatnp at 10:14 PM on February 8, 2016 [2 favorites]


On repeated and obsessive relistening, there's some interesting stuff she's doing with her voice. E.g. when she says "okay ladies let's get in formation," early in the song, there's a sort of breathless way she trails off. And it could parse as either breathless rage or frustration or exhaustion---or all three. It's very clever, because at one other point in the song (about 4:12) she suddenly says it much more jubilantly--right after talking about how she takes care of her man, and how she could be the black Bill Gates. Perhaps it's intended to be frustration earlier, then when she really talks about her (economic) power it's all "okay YES LET's DO THIS LADIES."

Fascinating article, andoatnp.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 10:46 PM on February 8, 2016 [1 favorite]


Thank you yasaman, that was a great explanation!

Was that absence due to black culture's homophobia? It feels like appropriation.

That was my first thought too, but I now think it's quite a bit more complicated - there's a real seam of queerness running through the thing, but it's subtle. Might it've been nice to see Big Freedia in the video, or much more of the bounce dancers lifted from the documentary, or drag queens from the bounce scene? Sure, but it's kind of amazing that that world is included in a mainstream pop video at all, given hip hop/R&B/&c.'s history of homophobia.

Syreeta McFadden's piece in the Guardian is defo worth a read - she positions the elements of queer culture in the video and lyrics as 'embracing' rather than 'appropriating' that culture, and links this to Black Lives Matter's focus on including people who have been excluded or hidden in past civil rights movements.

Oh, and lots of the links in a.steel's fantastic comment cover this stuff.
posted by jack_mo at 2:13 AM on February 9, 2016


That article about Negro vs. Creole is great. I appreciate the author's own ambiguity about how she feels about it. I also appreciate her highlighting a much more subtle set of racial questions that are somewhat specific to the city of New Orleans. See also the paper bag test episode of Frank's Place.

But I suspect it's all one level of racial semiotics too deep for most viewers. I love that the video works just on the surface, as a fun and sexy music video. And then a level deeper, the coded but clear message about Black pride. And then the level deeper, about the specifics of Gulf Coast identity and the admixture of Creole culture.

The whole queer side is just another level of complexity alongside it. FWIW I think the video is queer enough. A quick shot of Big Freedia would have been nice, sure, but she does get to deliver a few lines in the song. That part of the video is the shot of the wig shop, which itself is pretty queer.

The other thing I admire about Formation is the incredible business production of it. The surprise reveal on social media the day before the Super Bowl, the Super Bowl performance itself, the accompanying online store. Beyoncé is an even better self-promoter than 90s Madonna, I say that with admiration. Even this commercial theme is well echoed in the song, the bits about "Black Bill Gates" and the conclusion "best revenge is your paper". I've always hated this venal aspect of hip hop culture but hell, in America success is measured by money. So of course she should celebrate her commercial success.
posted by Nelson at 6:49 AM on February 9, 2016 [3 favorites]


As a white person, one of the many things I love about this is that among white-dominated media, the image of The South is the white confederacy, plantations, Paula Deen, The Flag is Our Heritage Tho folks. I certainly don't think this was Beyonce's primary concern, but it is AWESOME to see a Black pop culture icon massively reclaim the narrative that Southern Culture = Whiteness.
posted by nakedmolerats at 7:01 AM on February 9, 2016 [18 favorites]


Big Freedia Talks Working With Beyoncé On "Formation".
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.
posted by Nelson at 8:59 AM on February 9, 2016 [6 favorites]


Why should the video be queer(er)? AFAIK Beyoncé isn't queer, and it's not about an exclusively queer topic. She has lots of queer fans, but she has lots of white fans too, and there are none of them in the video.
posted by desjardins at 9:14 AM on February 9, 2016


As far as I'm concerned, Her Majesty has already done way better than Her Madgeness in terms of acknowledging and lifting up the queer roots of the music style. Madonna just took it (and largely appropriated from queer men of colour, to boot), repackaged it, and sold it back to us.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 9:20 AM on February 9, 2016 [3 favorites]


Jesse Wente, a local CBC columnist, called her performance the most important Superbowl halftime performance ever. You can almost hear him tearing up near the end of the segment.

The usual racists are, of course, saying that it's actually Beyonce who's being racist, since her performance honoured the Black Panthers, Malcolm X, and the Black Lives Matter movement.
posted by clawsoon at 9:38 AM on February 9, 2016 [1 favorite]






That article about Negro vs. Creole is great

Seconded! Also the Jessica Williams.

As not-a-black-woman type person, I'm totally happy to leave the sorting out of exactly how to have black girl pride to the black girls/women, I feel they are the authorities on the topic. It's not about me. But it still helps me as diversity of expression helps everyone - though that's just a side effect.
posted by sweetkid at 2:17 PM on February 9, 2016 [3 favorites]


Beyoncé's 'Formation': How a Historic Pasadena Home Went Southern Gothic for This Year's Biggest Video:
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."
ohhhhh yes, please continue to blow my fragile little mind in the weeks to come, i am LOVING IT
posted by palomar at 3:08 PM on February 9, 2016 [13 favorites]


It is super-neat to find out how they did the police car thing! Thanks, palomar!
posted by gingerest at 7:26 PM on February 9, 2016 [2 favorites]


“Red Lobster Sales Shot Up 33% After Beyoncé’s ‘Formation,’” [Caution: Language] Venessa Wong, Buzzfeed, 09 February 2016
posted by ob1quixote at 12:20 AM on February 10, 2016 [1 favorite]


she has lots of white fans too, and there are none of them in the video.

i dunno. maybe some of the riot police listen to her. (seriously - this is pretty mainstream music, isn't it?)
posted by andrewcooke at 4:09 AM on February 10, 2016


Hell, Walter Scott was shot by a uniformed white fascist who was listening to "What it's Like" by Everlast. Now that I think about it, that sort of thing might even be deliberate, just one more way to turn the knife.
posted by maxwelton at 5:02 AM on February 10, 2016 [1 favorite]


This morning over at NPR's Code Switch, author Jesmyn Ward wrote about what the song meant to her: In Beyoncé's 'Formation,' A Glorification Of 'Bama'

Really great piece. Worth a read.
posted by duffell at 6:26 AM on February 10, 2016 [11 favorites]


“Red Lobster Sales Shot Up 33% After Beyoncé’s ‘Formation,’” [Caution: Language] Venessa Wong, Buzzfeed, 09 February 2016

But imagine how much more money they could have made if some PR flack had written a more timely and witty tweet. What a disaster!
posted by straight at 12:43 PM on February 10, 2016 [2 favorites]


I came here to post the Jesmyn Ward article that duffell linked two posts up. I am a white (cis, queer) woman who hasn't spent any time in the South, and while I LOVE the song/video/message/everything and find it incredibly powerful, I know that I don't have the background to experience it fully. Ward's article really gives a window into what Formation means to (many) people who do have that background and context.

Also, Ward is an amazing writer and now I want to read her books.
posted by insectosaurus at 3:40 PM on February 10, 2016 [2 favorites]


“Formation” Exploits New Orleans’ Trauma: Beyoncé’s blockbuster video isn’t advocacy. It’s appropriation.
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.
posted by andoatnp at 5:10 PM on February 10, 2016 [1 favorite]


My (apparently) obligatory response to ‘Formation’ by Rad Fag, a Black, queer person.
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.
posted by Nelson at 2:31 PM on February 11, 2016 [3 favorites]


Thought this article was interesting:
Hot Sauce in Her Bag: Southern Black identity, Beyoncé, Jim Crow, and the pleasure of well-seasoned food. By Mikki Kendall on Eater.

(Not being American myself, it added a lot to my understanding of that particular line).
posted by Pink Frost at 4:20 PM on February 11, 2016 [1 favorite]


The Day Beyonce Turned Black.
posted by crossoverman at 1:27 AM on February 14, 2016 [4 favorites]


Joining you all late, but the documentary footage was licensed from Nokia who commissioned the film--the director of the doc did not have final rights.
posted by Ideefixe at 1:44 PM on February 14, 2016 [1 favorite]


Also on YouTube: "The Day Beyoncé Turned Black" - It's the day white people never saw coming: when Beyoncé turned black. (SNL trailer-type spoof on the white confusion and related media coverage)
posted by filthy light thief at 7:37 PM on February 14, 2016 [2 favorites]


I'm getting here really late because I am still trying to parse how any of this is racist. (Little discussions keep showing up on facebook and reddit.) Especially the Formation video, which I love. All I've been able to gather is that representations of history that doesn't focus on white history is racist. Is that it?

The Black Panther's stuff I can kind of see because I keep running into people who think all the Black Panthers did was threaten to kill white people. The government did a fab job on their smear campaign. For those of us with ties to the San Francisco Bay Area, though, the Panthers were primarily known for being pretty awesome about taking care of people who were blatantly and transparently getting fucked over by the Establishment. And yeah- they weren't polite to whites, at least some of them weren't. But I don't know any folks in my circle who took it personally.

Also, shout out to Treme, so that I at least knew what the heck that "Indian" dancer was doing.
posted by small_ruminant at 2:10 PM on February 17, 2016




Pfffffffff.

At first, Sheriff Robert Arnold said he had no explanation for why shots were fired outside his home in Rutherford County, Tenn., on Monday night — except perhaps for an undercurrent of anti-police sentiment in America.

“You do make people mad when you do your job; so that’s the only thing I could think of,” Arnold said at a news conference Tuesday, according to edited video of his comments posted by the Daily News Journal.

But then another possibility came to mind, and Arnold blamed Beyoncé.


You live in America, moron, random indoors could be firing off guns for literally any reason.
posted by Artw at 1:59 PM on February 18, 2016 [2 favorites]


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