We-not her-are the Black visionary, the budding potential for revolutionary.
It seems as though our modern day Black culture has become obsessed with the idolized “black celebrity”and the need to defend it is undermining the movement to encourage an uprising of qualities for Blacks.
“I been out in this world a while now,” said Beyonce’. “Living other places, slaying and inaugurating and eviscerating audiences. Been setting the world on fire. But I ain’t never left home. Y’all in my heart. I ain’t never gone.”
The lyrics in her new hit single “Formation” were written to sing to those who grew up black in the American South, who swam through Hurricane Katrina, who watched the world sink, who starved for two weeks after the eye passed, who left our dead floating in our houses. She sings to those of us who were displaced, who lost everything and for those who lived (or may still be living in) for months or even years in places that were far from being considered a “home.” Her lyrics inhale and exhale a solitary message saying– there’s no place like home.
For those of us who buy Camellia red beans and creole seasoning and Louisiana hot sauce and boil crawfish when we visit home, and then are a little disappointed when it cooks differently in the high, thin air where we live Beyonce’ uses her lyrics as well as the Katrina aftermath footage in her video to capture a visionary for those effected and know that home is where the heart is.
I don’t believe the video was intended to be made as much about Black culture as it was. Maybe incorporating Big Freida, the transgender New Orleans Queen of Bounce music in her song as well as all people of color and the only cast of the video that were white being police was the “racial” message being portrayed.
I am not saying that I agree with Beyonce’s Formation song or even the music video, because I actually like it very much. What I am saying is that the video gave off a negative connotation to the revolution of Black culture. It drew unnecessary attention to the “white cops on black” crime, and displayed negative images of blacks appearing to be lower class and what society may consider even “ghetto.”
But I believe Beyonce was trying to use this song and her video to express to those who left, those who remained, for Black babies, and for Black men and Black, southern women especially. Beyoncé calls the ancestors with the drums, embodies them in high-waisted, gorgeous dresses, fans our Creole foremothers to life with bunches of lace. She flashes forward to the future and invokes the daughters in the church, worshipping in their hats and starched dresses by reflecting their beauty right back to God. She invokes the daughters who usher the dead’s souls while shimmying down the second line. Invokes the daughters who frame the gorgeous shock of their black faces with pastel mermaid weave and wigs.
Overall, Beyonce had the right image in mind of what she wanted her music video “fomation” to convey, it just wasn’t executed in the way I believe she truly wanted it without offending many Blacks, which was clearly her target audience here. Better luck next time, Yonce!