Beyonce's Halftime Show Message

February 8, 2016 - Gillian Jacobs 02/08/2016 Views: 473,997

Beyonce performs her racially charged song "Formation" at a football halftime show, and Jessica Williams unpacks the singer's message. (3:53)

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As we all know,last night was the Super Bowl.

And it seems likethe real MVP of the night

was Beyoncé.

For more, we turn to oursenior Beyoncé correspondent,

Jessica Williams, everybody.

-Thank you so much.-(cheering, applause)

Thank you. Thank you.

Thanks, Trevor.

On Saturday, Beyoncé droppedher new song, "Formation,"

and in typical Beyoncé fashion,

there was an epic videoto go along with it.

Everybody in the BeyHivewent to KNOWLESCON 1,

which is reserved only forthe most intense Beyoncé drops.

JK. We're alwaysin KNOWLESCON 1.


And it was awesome, because there was so much in this video

about black female empowerment.

But it's not just about self-love.

I mean, she calls out police brutality,

and the constant fear that black people have

of the police.

She even threw back to Hurricane Katrina.

The black girl magic

in that videowas out of control.

She was likea beautiful black Dumbledore,

but wearing a really nice weaveand $3,000 worth of Gucci.


And that was just the tailgatebefore the big game.

It really was an amazing show.

But not everyone was ready for that jelly.

NEWSMAN: In the end we find out that Beyoncé dressed up

in a tribute to the Black Panthers,

went to a Malcolm X formation,

and the song, the lyrics,

which I couldn't make out a syllable,

were basically telling cops to stop shooting blacks.

I thought it wasreally outrageous

that, uh, that she used itas a platform

to attack police officers.

Is there anything in Americawhich can exclude race?

I mean, why is race broughtinto the halftime show

at a Super Bowl game? Why?


Race was brought inbecause Beyoncé was brought in,

and-- brace yourself, you mightwant to sit down for this--

but Beyoncé is black.

-(audience gasping)-♪

And as a black person,you walk around every day

constantly remindedthat you are black.

We're more likelyto get paid less,

we're more likelyto get sent to prison,

and we're more likelyto win a dance competition.

What? It's not all bad.

The point is, Beyoncé is black,and this song is her message.

That's what artists do--their message is in their music.

Like how Chris Martin

wore his "Global Citizen" armband

to promote his message of ending worldwide poverty.

Or how Bruno Mars delivered his message

about how uptown was gonna funk me up.

That's a threat.I live uptown.

I barely sleptafter that performance.

How dare he saysomething like that.

And why are people surprisedthat Beyoncé would send

a message during the show?

She's done this sincethe beginning of her career.

Have we forgottenwhen she addressed

the importance of mental health

in "Crazy in Love"? "Uh, oh,

uh, oh, oh, no, no," indeed.

-(laughter)-But look, I get it.

Beyoncé wasn't just doing any television performance.

I mean, this was the Super Bowl.

And that's whatgot some people pissed.

You're talking to middle Americawhen you...

when you have the Super Bowl,

so if you can haveentertainment,

let's have, you know,decent, wholesome entertainment.

Okay. So, first of all,

are you saying thatyou can't talk about race issues

to "middle America"?

What are they, so delicateand unaware and maybe so white

that Beyoncé istoo much for them?

You know what's rightin the middle of America?

Ferguson, Missouri.

-(whooping, applause)-And furthermore...


I am so sorry that this wasn'twholesome enough for you.

I didn't realizethat singing about race

was equivalent to Janet Jackson

getting her titty pulled outat the Super Bowl.

But you're right.You know what?

The fans deservewholesome entertainment,

like watching 300-pound mengive each other concussions

while a crowd cheers like we'reextras in the movie Gladiator.

So what is wrong with Beyoncé,everyone?

Were you not entertained?