It’s all over the news!
The Sheriffs weren’t the only ones who objected to the performance, former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani appeared on Monday’s Fox and Friends to trash the singer and the show.
“At the end, we find out Beyonce dressed up in a tribute to the Black Panthers, went to a Malcolm X formation. And the song, the lyrics, which I couldn’t make out a syllable, were basically telling cops to stop shooting blacks!” Fox News host Brian Kilmeade said.
I’ve seen memes like the one below cropping up on my social media feeds:
Everyone is up in arms! Black Panthers! Black Lives Matter! They all hate cops!
The video for Beyonce’s song “Formation” includes a shot of a wall with the words “Stop Shooting Us”. I can’t imagine why a woman of color might offer such a thought?
Civil rights groups sued Minnesota state agencies on Tuesday to force them to release video footage of the fatal police shooting of a young black man in Minneapolis in November.
But that’s an isolated incident!
Police in Austin, Texas have declined to say whether a naked black teen who was fatally shot by officers on Monday had been armed at the time.
The Austin Police Department confirmed on Monday that an 18-year-old man who was not wearing clothes was shot by officers, and then later died in a local hospital, theAustin Statesman reported.
Austin police Chief of Staff Brian Manley told reporters at a press conference that the incident occurred when officers were responding to reports of a suspicious black man. Manley said that an officer opened fire after the man disobeyed commands and then charged at him.
Why would an African-American organization, Black Lives Matter, believe that police violence against their communities is a problem?
Since [August 1, 2014], the rallies for justice have not abated, and neither have the number of deaths at the hands of police. At least 1,083 Americans have been killed by cop since August 9, 2014, according to comprehensive research and data collected by VICE News — an average of nearly three people a day. . . .
While the bulk of those killed from August 2014 to August 2015 were white, black people per population were more than twice as likely to be killed by cops than any other race, the data showed. African Americans are also more than three times as likely to be killed by police than white people, according to the statistics.
But . . . but . . . Black Panthers! Racists! Cop killers!
At its inception on October 15, 1966, the Black Panther Party’s core practice was its armed citizens’ patrols to monitor the behavior of police officers and challenge police brutality in Oakland, California. In 1969, community social programs became a core activity of party members. The Black Panther Party instituted a variety of community social programs, most extensively the Free Breakfast for Children Programs, and community health clinics.
Federal Bureau of Investigation Director J. Edgar Hoover called the party “the greatest threat to the internal security of the country”, and he supervised an extensive program (COINTELPRO) of surveillance, infiltration, perjury, police harassment, and many other tactics designed to undermine Panther leadership, incriminate party members, discredit and criminalize the Party, and drain the organization of resources and manpower. The program was also accused of using assassination against Black Panther members.
As for some of those other images from Beyonce’s video, like the kid in the hoodie with his arms up facing a line of police aiming their guns at him, I can’t imagine where she thought that was ever a thing.
Here’s where the honesty thing comes in: How many of you out there who are suddenly verklempt that a well-known African-American performing artist might well offer a view of race relations that makes white folks uncomfortable knew while watching the halftime show all the nuances and symbolism of Beyonce’s performance? How many of you saw those dancers in berets and screamed, “Black Panthers! She hates cops!”? How many of you didn’t wait until a bunch of folks on social media who don’t know history, who don’t understand contemporary music or Beyonce’s history of standing for both feminism and solidarity with African-American communities, who believe that each and every incident of police violence against African-Americans is justified, who believe that protesting such violence is ipso facto proof that such people “hate” police, how many of you snapped off your television there and then? How many of you don’t care about evidence, or history, or black lives, but just want to “take a stand” without even knowing that against which you’re taking a stand?
Be honest. Tell the truth. Did you know, during the halftime show, all or even some of the things her performance hinted at or pointed toward? Were you outraged even then? Were you previously a fan of Beyonce but have suddenly decided not to be because of this performance? Answer me honestly.
As for injecting race in to popular music performance, I’ll just leave you with this: