Denver Broncos linebacker Von Miller may have won the Super Bowl MVP Sunday, but the real star of the night was arguably pop icon Beyoncé, who delivered a riveting, politically charged performance as part of an exuberant halftime show.
The elaborately staged performance of her new viral sensation “Formation” was the culmination of both brilliant marketing and a steadily more socially conscious persona the “Drunk in Love” singer has been honing in recent years. The night before the game, Beyoncé released quite possibly her most provocative music video to date for the song “Formation,” which featured odes to Hurricane Katrina, Black Lives Matter, natural hair and so much more:
And while her Super Bowl performance didn’t incorporate all the rapid-fire imagery of the music video, it was no less pointed. As a nod to the 50th anniversary of the founding of the Black Panthers,Beyoncé emerged (in a Michael Jackson-inspired outfit) with a virtual battalion of beret-clad dancers who, true to the song’s title, performed a flawlessly syncopated routine in unison. The song and its incendiary video have been hailed as a call to arms for black women and activists, and a rebuke of the so-called politics of responsibility.
“Beyoncé places her own reckless, country blackness – one of afros, cornrows, and negro noses, brown liquor and brown girls, hot sauce, and of brown boys and cheddar bay biscuits – in conversation with and as descended from a broader southern blackness that is frequently obscured and unseen in national discourses, save for as (dying, lynched, grotesque, excessive) spectacle,” wrote blogger Zandria Robinson in a breathless breakdown of the music video. “Through this reckless country blackness, she becomes every black southern woman possible for her to reasonably inhabit, moving through time, class, and space.”
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