Beyonce’s performance of her new song “Formation” at the Super Bowl on Sunday is sending shock waves of controversy through popular culture three days after the event, with some praising her for a bold political statement, others questioning if her black bereted-dancers were too polarizing and still others calling it “a race-baiting stunt.”
Among those to criticize the performance, which featured backup dancers in berets reminiscent of the Black Panthers: Former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani, who appeared on Fox News’ “Fox & Friends” on Monday and accused Beyonce of attacking police with the performance.
— . (@pettyyonceh) February 8, 2016
Deeming the performance “outrageous,” Giuliani said,”This is football, it’s not Hollywood, and I thought it was really outrageous that she used it as a platform to attack police officers who are the people who protect her and protect us, and keep us alive.”
Meanwhile, a protest is being organized for Feb. 16 at the NFL headquarters in New York, with organizers planning to block the building.
The organizers, who go unnamed, say on a web page for the protest that Beyonce’s performance was “a race-baiting stunt.”
But others praised Beyonce for making a bold political statement at America’s biggest annual sports event. Chic founder Nile Rodgers posted a photo of himself in Panthers regalia from decades ago.
— Nile Rodgers (@nilerodgers) February 9, 2016
“Child’s Play” singer SZA, who tweeted on Wednesday, “So we have Trump removing Muslims from conferences +spewing venomous bigotry..He’s in the finals .Yet Beyoncé being positive is scary? Lol k”
So we have Trump removing Muslims from conferences +spewing venomous bigotry..He's in the finals .Yet Beyoncé being positive is scary? Lol k
— SZA (@sza) February 10, 2016
The outrage didn’t confine itself to American borders; Toronto City Counselor Jim Karygiannis put forth that Beyonce and her dance crew should be investigated for ties to the Black Panthers before being allowed to enter Canada.
They go on to categorize the Black Panthers as “a hate group.”
“Do you agree that it was a slap in the face to law enforcement?” the protest’s page asks.
The Black Panther Party, formed in 1966, initially devoted itself to monitoring police activity and challenging police brutality in Oakland, California — not far from where this year’s Super Bowl was held — via armed citizens’ patrols.
The organization later branched out into community social programs, providing free food to children and community health clinics. Nonetheless, the group was also targeted by law enforcement officials, with FBI director J. Edgar Hoover calling them “the greatest threat to the internal security of the country.”
Beyonce has remained silent in the face of the criticism.
It almost makes one yearn for a time when the biggest controversy surrounding a Super Bowl halftime show was Janet Jackson‘s exposed nipple.