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Beyonce’s ‘Formation’ Fight Enters Round 2, Dueling Protests Set for Tuesday

The Grammy winner’s supporters, detractors are set to face-off over the song and its message outside NFL headquarters in New York

On Feb. 7, Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, California, was ground zero in the culture war — and the next one may be outside the Manhattan headquarters of the NFL on Tuesday morning.

Calling Beyoncé’s halftime performance during Super Bowl 50 “a slap in the face to law enforcement,” a group known as Proud of the Blues is organizing an all-day Anti-Beyoncé Protest Rally in front of the National Football League’s main offices on Park Ave, New York.

“Come and let’s stand together,” the announcement reads. “Let’s tell the NFL we don’t want hate speech & racism at the Superbowl ever again!”

A pro-Beyoncé group, Black Girl Rising, then announced Get In Formation, a counter-protest to what the group described as “a racist, ahistorical attack on the Black Panther Party and Beyoncé.” It’s set for the same time and place as the anti-Beyoncé Protest Rally.

“They believe it is OK to let corruption fester in police forces,” a recent blast from the group said on Eventbrite. “They believe that it’s OK to allow bad actors in positions of power [to] murder American citizens with impunity, especially if those citizens are of color. Unable to separate brutality from a police officer’s job description, they see anti-brutality as anti-cop …”

“Sisters, dress in your ‘Formation’ video/Super Bowl performance-inspired gear and make this a moment a joyous one! Allies and friends, show up and show your support!”

Beyoncé’s “Formation” — the song, visuals and message — shows the musical phenomenon emphasizing her allegiance to the black American experience with a militarism that has shocked the sensibilities of fans and the general public.

In the eight days since her performance of the song at Super Bowl 50, (a game watched on CBS by about 112 million people), Beyoncé has become the focal point of both celebration and scorn. Queen Bey’s halftime show, with her leading a cadre of dancers in militaristic costumes inspired by the Black Panthers, was an inspiration to many, an unapologetic embrace of the African American experience.

Social media exploded during the first blush of “Formation” and Beyonce’s Super Bowl segment generated about 147,000 tweets a minute, according to Spredfast, a social-media monitoring service that shared exclusive data with Adweek.

Others weighed in, expressing outrage that the NFL had permitted such an overt political statement during its biggest game. A Feb. 10th letter from Michael McHale, president of the National Association of Police Organizations (NAPO) condemned the league for promoting “cop-killer ‘entertainment,'” calling the “Formation” halftime segment “an obnoxious spectacle of ignorance and malice.” The group announced plans to forward the letter to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell.

And with timing that’s almost too perfect to be believed, PBS will air The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution, a documentary on the organization, on Tuesday night.