Baby Hair + Afros
So Beyoncé just snatched my edges. Left me dead. Flatlined. I am kvelling right now (RIP Stacey Dash). Why? You know, because she dropped Formation and it went off! Why the hype? Other than the fact that it’s Beyoncé, Formation is black. Blackety black. Nina Simone black. Country Grammar black. Color Purple black. It is unapologetic artistry and I can’t get enough. One part feminist declaration and one part black power manifesto, I’m with it.
Beyoncé uses imagery and lyrics to create a narrative that is black as hell for the world to see, like it or not. The video starts off with a bang with her standing on a New Orleans police car in flooded water with Messy Mya in the background asking “What happened in New Orleans? Bitch I’m back by popular demand.”
Throughout the video she continues to highlight New Orleans, her history, black culture and womanhood. From Big Frieda samples and voice overs to hair stores, cheddar bay biscuits and everything in between. Flashes of New Orleans streets and parades and clips of black folk at church and dancing.
In case you forgot Beyoncé is black (mix that Negro with that Creole), her husband is black and her baby is black. Showing the adorable toddler Blue in the video with the lyrics I like my baby hair with baby hair and afros effectively shutting up every critic that has ever had the audacity to come for Blue’s adorable fro. I loved the other two girls playing with her in all of their 4C glory. And to add further to her domination she sings I like my negro nose with Jackson 5 nostrils. Black is beautiful baby and so was MJ (I'm looking at you Joseph Fiennes).
Most appealing to me was the image of Beyoncé and bevy of beautiful black women in the ‘big house’ on the plantation. Everything from the house to the attire is pure history. Black women were concubines, sexual objects used to please any man’s whims. And there is even more history to the place of Creole people in Louisiana, delving into octoroon and quadroon territory. Beyoncé is slaying and stomping master’s house down with her lyrics of black beauty and pride. The whole scene was beautiful defiance.
I see it. I want it. I dream it. I work hard. I grind till I own it. Did you forget the feminist declarations she makes too? What’s your goal? What are you doing to make it happen? We can all get what we want. You just might be a black Bill Gates in the making. Beyoncé gives you reign to slay, go off and get yours. You don’t have to ask for permission to be successful you have to take it. Ladies get in formation and slay and don’t forget: stay gracious, the best revenge is yo paper.
I can go on and on. The MLK Newspaper. The bands and drill teams! The hair store. The corner store. The afros. The beautiful dancers. She was meticulous and calculated and this video did not disappoint.
And I would be amiss to not mention that throughout the video are images of a little black boy dancing in a hoodie in front of cops without a care in the world, it’s powerful. His dance and the cops hands up at the end was amazing to see and the panned image of graffiti declaring ‘Stop Shooting Us.’ It’s a bold declaration: We are not target practice, give us a chance to live. Beyoncé’s symbolic drowning at the end is icing to the black ass cake she just served the world.
Formation launched during Black History Month on the weekend of Trayvon Martin's 21st birthday. Beyoncé’s genius timing seems to known no limits. In one video drop Beyoncé effectively shut me, and every other critic, up. I have always wanted more from Beyoncé and Jay-Z in terms of the black lives matter movement as they have a platform unlike any other, she might get yo song on the radio station after all. The biggest star in the world is black and that speaks volumes to the influence she can have. She imparted it in this video. Proving once again she works on her own schedule so we need to be ready. Go slay and treat yourself to some cheddar biscuits Queen.