Beyoncé is on her “Formation” World Tour. She recently performed in her hometown of Houston where she was welcomed by a boycott less than a mile away from her performance. The protest was formed by the Coalition of Police and Sheriffs.
COPS member Tony Ragsdale was interviewed by KHOU11 and said, “Some of her performances are believed to be anti-police,” and he is not alone in those sentiments. Many officers and public officials have spoken out on their belief that the entertainer is using her platform poorly.
Police brutality and injustice is at the forefront of many ongoing conversations throughout this nation. Families discuss these topics in living rooms, and they are discussed on national platforms such as the presidential debates. With the elections approaching many voters are calling for answers to these unresolved issues.
“Art is an expression of human experience and human emotions. Media can shed a negative or positive light on art. African American artist are especially put under a negative spotlight when they don’t follow the status quo or adhere to what society has determined normal,” said Colin MacDougall, journalist and President of the Arts Club at Washtenaw Community College.
“Formation” is the name of Beyoncé’s tour, and also the name of her single from her recent album titled “Lemonade” released on April 23, 2016, but the songs connotation and lyrics have been creating controversy since she performed her single accompanied by black panther back up dancers at the 2016 Super Bowl. At the time police union called for a tour wide boycott.
“It’s a shame the police force cannot collectively see what legislature, mandatory minimums, and militia grade equipment has done to this country. Over 25 percent of this country is incarcerated. Beyoncé and others like Kendrick Lamar speaking out on police brutality is a good thing. Unfortunately, she is being used as scapegoat, and the boycott is showing that people are scared of change,” said Taylor Rippey, political activist.
The music video for “Formation” has various components, and some of them relate to law enforcement. The video depicts Beyoncé standing on top of a police car during a flood, and the water continues to rise throughout the video eventually covering the car and her. The video also depicts a young African American boy standing in front of a line of officers. The officers have their hands held up, and so does the young boy, and the words “Stop Shooting Us” are written in graffiti. The hands up motion has been a staple of the Black Lives Matter movement, and the meaning is “hands up, don’t shoot.”
“Beyoncé is criticized for both her support of the Black Lives Matter movement, and her police brutality awareness music video, but the KKK has a television show on the Discovery channel that gives them the platform to discuss how peaceful they have become. This boycott is just another example of how unfairly African American voices are treated today. It is discrimination through how we are interpreted as a people,” said Nashia Weems, 21, news blogger.
Beyoncé recently interviewed with Elle magazine and said, “Anyone who perceives my message as anti-police is completely mistaken. I have so much admiration and respect for officers and the families of the officers who sacrifice themselves to keep us safe. But let’s be clear, I am against police brutality and injustice. Those are two separate things.”