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Beyoncé embodying black empowerment isn’t racism

Beyoncé embodying black empowerment isn’t racism

Beyoncé slays in her new music video, "Formation".

Beyoncé embodying black empowerment isn’t racism
February 18
17:20 2016

Chelsea Watkins | Staff Writer


On a random Saturday afternoon,Beyoncé graced our presence by releasing a new music video and song where she unapologetically embraced her southern roots – and ultimately her blackness. In the songs she states, “My daddy Alabama / mama Louisiana / you mix that negro with that creole make a Texasbama” and later proclaiming that she likes her “negro nose with Jackson 5 nostrils” among other things in regards to black culture.

However, since the release of the video and her performance at the Super Bowl, where she paid homage to the Black Panther Party, people have been clogging their Facebook feed with statuses about how the message of her song and performance were ultimately “anti-police” and “racist.”

Somehow, embracing her culture – a culture that has been looked down upon yet appropriated for commercial use – means that she is being racist toward a group that is not mentioned at all. And by commenting on the police brutality means that she’s attacking the cops.

C’mon, don’t be so dense. No one had a problem when she was singing about being a “single lady.”


Being black in America is hard. Seriously. For years, you’re taught that black history is somehow separate from the rest of history. You’re taught to conform to Euro-centric cultural values and norms, even if it feels phony. You’re taught, even if covertly, that your blackness doesn’t matter. You see the “colorblind” rhetoric tossed around, and while that seems like a nice ideal, it strips a person of a crucial part of their identity.

There has been a large presence of black empowerment on social media that has begun to create a sense of community, harboring a community for black people to connect in a way that wasn’t possible before, and thus playing a large role in the social movements like Black Lives Matter. Black empowerment is not a new phenomenon – it stems back to Frederick Douglass – yet a century and half later, it’s still relevant.

Beyoncé’s song is a form of this expression of pride. It’s pointing out that you can be confident in who you are and where you come from, all the while seeking success. It’s being comfortable enough to embrace the very thing that people may shame you for.

The thing people are missing is that the song is not targeted for everyone, and there isn’t anything wrong with that. It’s a black power anthem. It resonates with black people as their culture is being celebrated at such a level. And with other artists like Kendrick Lamar openly embracing his blackness and Compton roots, this resurgence has become very high profile and at times polarizing to some audiences. It’s a rich history of a beautiful culture that every black person should be proud to express. Feeling empowered by your blackness isn’t a form of racism. It’s important and necessary to create a new normal in society.

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1 Comment

  1. Brian
    Brian February 22, 10:42

    Very well said. It seems we cannot repeat this message often enough.

    Reply to this comment

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