The Superbowl’s performance by artist Beyonce may have made one of the most musically political stands, with newly released single “Formation”. The annual championship game of the National Football League (NFL) may have exhibited an opportunity for the musical figure to take the stage, on a global platform and spread a message of social empowerment.
Beyonce’s new single “Formation” lyrically may express a sense of cultural pride and unity with other African-American artists, actors and individuals across America experiencing challenges in social justice, therefore may have utilised her music as a vehicle in which to raise awareness regarding social change evoking a message of unity and progression within contemporary society.
The expansive nature of the Superbowl event may have the ability to reach a wider audience and spread a sense of awareness on the matter of race, in particularly during a period in which the entertainment industry may have undergone an evolving change in the way it handles diversity and representation in a practical and discursive way.
Amidst this dialogue on diversity and representation, Beyonce’s stand for racial justice and inclusivity through her new single “Formation” may have been fuelled further by a similar public discourse on social media, a 21st century civil rights movement driven by the hashtag#BlackLivesMatter. This saw a strong unity in Twitter users who demonstrated a sense of strength and solidarity for racial inclusivity and justice. Beyonce’s performance may have reflected a similar stand with the nation through a song which reflects pride and empowerment with her cultural heritage.
The song’s release date may have reflected a similar social statement in its ability to coincide with what may have been Trayvon Martin’s 21st birthday as well as one day before what may have been Sandra Bland’s 29th birthday, a time of commemoration and social solidarity regarding a high profile case. This may be purposeful as Martin and Bland’s cases may have been focal points of “Black Lives Matter”, thus raises awareness and solidarity as a universal topic in society.
Beyonce’s backing dancers during the performance wore Black Panther-style berets, which may be indicative of the Black Panther civil rights movement in the 50s, and clad in black leather, posing with raised arms evocative of the black power salute by Tommie Smith and John Carlos at the 1968 Olympic Games in Mexico City. This may have reflected a sense of social unity as well as brought to light the current progression in which the African-American community have evolved by uniting in strength and opportunity, consistently demonstrating drive, with Beyonce as a focal point of this debate in an innovative and musical way.
The debut single performed as part of the Super Bowl 50 halftime show also included the announcement of The Formation World Tour which may be set to launch a new era of exposure for the artist who may have seized to, so directly engage with politics and social justice via her music thus far. This may have presented a new dimension to the artist expanding audiences knowledge of Beyonce further a mainstream persona.
Likewise, Beyonce may have indicated via her new single the musical direction she plans to take in her pending album, which may continue to reveal an awareness for similar social and political messages of empowerment. The Superbowl may have been the ultimate platform in which the performer may showcase her powerful ideology of Black American empowerment as well utilising her platform to reach new audiences thus raise awareness to both her and the cause she stands by. Thus Beyonce’s performance may have the ability to open up debates surrounding social change and racial inclusivity in all industries beyond entertainment, thus may reflect music’s key role in its ability to present a thought-provoking political message.
How may Beyonce’s Superbowl performance have engaged debates surrounding music’s ability to evoke a political stand?