The day before Superbowl 50, Beyoncé released a new single and video that not only evoked sexiness and girl power, but also takes a strong political stance that is hard to ignore. Formation is an anthem for the black American South and illustrates how this region has carried, and still carries, the heavy weight of our country's history. It's a visual commentary on the Black Lives Matter movement, on the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, of the beauty of black culture and of its experiences and struggles in modern day America.
Formation is a structured and tough song, with lyrics that swell of black identity and pride. Every visual aspect of the video is meticulously crafted to evoke power of all aspects - be it black, female, the American south, New Orleans, the power of family and heritage. Even Beyoncé's hair strategically shows the fluidity of blackness through decades and decades of different hairstyles, all with natural texture.
Some may see this song and video as a protest and a call-to-arms. Others may see it as a celebration of black pride. Most may see it as both. But there is no doubt that Beyoncé is boldly taking back the narrative of black America, bringing it out of the margins and placing it front and center.
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