in (f)ormation

If you're reading this now, it's probably too late. The queen has already descended from her throne to make it clear she gives zero fucks about status quos and stereotypes.

Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. Fool me again? Well then I guess your name must be Beyoncé... because I should have known. I SHOULD HAVE KNOWN that Lady Knowles-Carter wasn't going to peacefully play the back and settle for a shared Super Bowl halftime set without giving us a little something extra this past weekend. And extra... she gave! In the span of one weekend, not only did Bey do a stellar job at the halftime show, she also dropped a new song, a video and a world tour announcement - all three of which are titled "Formation". Plus her and her famous hubby's music streaming service, Tidal, donated $1.5 million to the Black Lives Matter movement, and several other civil rights organizations. Ummm... slay much?

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First off, shout out to my bestie 'Shizzle for introducing me to the video on Sunday (pre-Super Bowl kickoff). I must admit, when I first watched it on her an iPad, I was not terribly impressed by the overall product. The unexpected musical arrangement, the flow of the lyrics, mixed with all the different scenery... I couldn't wrap my mind around all of these things put together. I didn't quite get it. Initial reaction: "Hmmm, it's different but, I don't know if I looove it." 

Fast forward to the Super Bowl halftime show a few short hours later, and then another viewing of the video on my large flat screen TV- and BAM! I realized then that I simply had not been prepared for the dopeness upon first viewing. As I sat back and digested the song and the visual references, I found myself nodding, both to the music and to the message. With cute and catchy punch lines like...

I like my baby’ hair with baby hair and afro! I like my negro nose, with Jackson 5 nostrils!

... I could feel myself mentally raising my fist into the air. I thought to myself: "If that isn't the shadiest and classiest way to invite her haters to kindly get off her d!ck, while simultaneously celebrating black beauty, I don't know what is!" That shot of her daughter, Blue Ivy, standing proudly in all her curly natural-headed glory was sheer perfection. Right there - Bey came through, just in the nick of time for Black History Month.

 GIF courtesy of

GIF courtesy of

Now, add to that the mix several cultural references with the overall feminist overtone of the song itself, and you've got awesome sauce. Seeing Bey go hard while portraying herself as a member of an all-female HBCU (historically black colleges and universities) stroll team was hella-fresh. Seeing her in 'all black ery'thang' on the front porch, dishing out a two-handed 'fuck you', whilst her male squad/admirers looked on, posted up behind her... Dope. Watching her ride shotgun, box braids dangerously hanging out the window, doing burnouts in an empty parking lot... Pimp. She definitely makes it known that she can do anything and everything she sets her mind to. Without a second thought, she decrees that a Black woman such as herself can be on par with any of their male, white counterparts:

I just might be a Black Bill Gates in the makin’!

Finally, as we near the end of the video, we see scenes of a little Black boy in a hoodie, dancing in the streets as a full swat team of white police officers in riot gear stand opposite him. The boy is seen performing carefree, as any kid should be. Then, at one point, he stops dancing and puts his hands up in a "hands up, don't shoot" position (as the video cuts to a graffiti wall that reads "Stop shooting us"). And what follows, is perhaps the most commanding part of the entire video. As the little boy puts his hands in the air, so to does the entire squad of police officers, in a motion of surrender. When I saw that the first time, chills literally ran through my entire body. I can only describe the feeling as a mixed bag of broken heartedness and hope restored at the same damn time.

I could go on and on trying to dissect the many references displayed throughout the Formation video, but I think that anyone who watches it, regardless of their race, gender, sexual identity, etc. will get the main takeaways: LOVE THY SELF. FEMALE POWER IS REAL. BLACK LIVES MATTER. By no means am I saying that Beyoncé should be the go-to voice to represent any of these 'movements', but the fact remains - she chose to use her platform to shed some light on important social issues in a sexy and bold way. She didn't have to do all that...

Say it with me now: "I slay. You slay. We all slay... Beyon' slays."

Now, if you'll excuse me; I need to go put that hot sauce in my bag.


Shaolin Says.

Shaolin "J" Style


Creative writer. Professional ranter. Canadian-born. Caribbean blood. Probably the worst introvert you'll ever meet.