Ahead of her Super Bowl appearance, Beyoncé pulled a Beyoncé and surprised us all with a brand new release, #Formation, and a video which sprinkles revolutionary dust in every frame. Queen Bey’s usual fierce and sass and stylish all female formation aside, with references subtle and blatant – from Red Lobster to baby Afro, from a sinking police car in New Orleans to the images of ‘Don’t Shoot us’ graffiti, the video released the same week Trayvon Martin, who was shot dead in Florida three years ago, would have turned 21, is a loud and clear civil rights petition.
- She samples New Orleans rapper, “What happened after New Orleans?”
Formation opens with the words of late New Orleans rapper, Messy Mya: “What happened after New Orleans?”
- She name check high fashion: “I’m so reckless when I rock my Givenchy dress (stylin’)”
We can always trust Queen Bey to name-check fashion heavyweights, especially one she has rocked recklessly over and over again…
- She reps her roots: “My daddy Alabama, Momma Louisiana. You mix that Negro with that Creole make a Texas-bama”. Repping her roots proudly.
- She hits back at criticism of Blue Ivy’s messy hair: “I like my baby hair, with baby hair and Afros.”
For years – four to be exact – Beyoncé kept a dignified silence against critics who questioned her parenting skills calling into question Blue Ivy’s ‘messy’ and ‘unkempt’ hair. Finally, Bey slams the haters down with what is likely to become a hit one-liner.
- And talks about her taste in food too…
Which sounds surprisingly much like ours… Hot sauce, Red Lobster, corn bread and collard greens… “Earned all this money but they never take the country out me,” sings Bey, leaving no room for doubt she is a Southern belle at heart, ‘Texas-bama’ to be exact.
- All that slay and #squadgoals
Like any girl who is worth her Slay-ation Queen is kinging later on in the video with her girl squad slaying ‘in formation’. Hair flick, booty pop, a little shimmy and a whole lot of ‘tude. Never have we been so jealous of an all girls line up since Beyonce’s former hits Who Run the World and XO Repeat after us: #squadgoals..
- She gives a nod to Martin Luther King
“I dream it, I work hard, I grind ’til I own it” Beyoncé sings as the camera cuts to a newspaper front page with MLK’s face and the headline, “More than a Dreamer”.
- This kid that gets the police to order with his dance moves
A mere coincidence that this song and this video and this scene were released the same weekend Trayvon Martin would have been 21? We think not. Beyoncé’s #BlackLivesMatter petition goes harder towards the end of the video.
- A sinking police car in New Orleans.
New Orleans. Floods. Beyoncé spread-eagled atop a sinking police cops. There are of course no stronger cue than this to remind us of how it all went down in New Orleans 11 years ago. Could this be Bey’s reminder to her generation about the social injustice and police violence?
- The killer one-liner end note: “Always stay gracious; best revenge is your paper”. Need we say more?