Reporting with Hills Pride

The Trailblazer

Reporting with Hills Pride

The Trailblazer

Reporting with Hills Pride

The Trailblazer

Racial References Behind Beyoncé’s Halftime Show


Once again, Beyoncé stole the show with eye-catching moves and ear-pleasing high notes during the Super Bowl 50 halftime show. However, amidst her astonishing performance, which was backed by Bruno Mars and Coldplay, was an even more eye-catching racial power move.

Often times, more attention is paid to the artist on stage and the quality of his or her performance than the lyrics of the song being performed. Thus, many did not catch the meaning behind Beyoncé’s new song, “Formation.”

The soon-to-be hit references the ill treatment of African Americans during Hurricane Katrina in addition to highlighting police violence. Many critics say that Beyoncé’s performance was honoring the Black Panther Party—a revolutionary black nationalist and socialist organization that ran for almost twenty years following 1966. Beyoncé and her backup dancers raised their fists high during the performance, a symbol made famous by the BPP.

In one regard, many people saw Beyoncé’s performance as admirable and honorable. Twitter user @JasFly states, “Beyoncé, backed by 50 black women with afros dressed black panthers, is telling the world that #BlackLivesMatter.”

With a figure as prominent as Beyoncé performing at an event as significant as the Super Bowl, one may argue that the timing was perfect to empower politics. This year’s Super Bowl reached 111.9 million viewers.

On the other hand, former mayor of New York, Rudy Giuliani, found Beyoncé’s references to be highly inappropriate for the setting. “This is football, not Hollywood,” he states. “I thought it was really outrageous that she used it as a platform to attack police officers who are the people who protect her and protect us, and keep us alive.”

In addition, Giuliani says, “You’re talking to middle America when you have the Super Bowl, so if you have entertainment, let’s have decent, wholesome entertainment and not use it as a platform to attack the people who put their lives at risk to save us.”

Rudy Giuliani fails to specify exactly which parts of Beyoncé’s performance he found most highly offensive. However, one of Beyoncé’s backup dancers released a video admitting to their tribute to Mario Woods, a man shot and killed by police after refusing to give up the knife he carried for daily protection.

Some twitter users used social media to express their dismissal of her performance, like user @uwish1127, who tweeted, “Wow @NFl how do you let @Beyonce perform in what is a known racist uniform (black panthers). #awful #SuperBowl #sheruinedthehalftimeshow.”

Was it necessary to use this performance as a racial cry for help? Did Beyonce have the right to do so? After all, most people may not have even picked up on the racial references and simply enjoyed her half-hour performance. Some even forgetting about Coldplay and Bruno Mars who were pretty much upstaged by Queen B. Whether or not it is considered “OK” to perform in the manner she did, Beyoncé still managed to impress over a hundred million fans world wide—as if anyone is surprised by this.

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