In class we watched Beyoncé’s new music video Formation. I don’t listen to a heap of Beyoncé except when my girlfriends around. The song itself wasn’t anything that special to me but I thought the music video was very well done.
It was an epic politically charged video full of various representations and strong imagery. I wouldn’t say the messages in this video are hidden, it’s made quite overtly clear which I like. In saying this you would probably have to watch it a few times to get every reference and then you still might be missing a few as this video is packed full of them.
One of the stronger and most forward message in this video was when there were a line of police facing a young boy in a black hoodie. This is followed by graffiti on the wall that says ‘Stop Shooting Us’ which is a message frequently expressed by the Black Lives Matter movement and other activist groups. In the video the line of police join the boy in the ‘hands up, don’t shoot’ gesture which references Michael Browns death who was an 18-year-old black who was fatally shot by the police officer in Ferguson.
A part of this video that I particularly liked was when it switched to a lower quality camcorder-like footage which once again refers to police brutality. For anyone that has ever watched any footage of this it was easily recognisable. It was simple yet so effective.
Formation however isn’t just about police brutality it’s about what its like to be black in America including the standards of beauty, their history and culture. With images pulled from various periods in southern history the video shows Beyoncé and dancers elegantly dressed almost as if they are plantation owners.
The video also destroys the insulting idea that succesful black people and successful women must be in the illuminati. She makes it clear that she has made her wealth because she has worked hard and not through some weird cult-like group.
Another powerful moment featured Beyoncé lying and sitting on the top of a sinking police car referencing Hurricane Katrina and the refugees in Texas. Beyoncé reminds viewers that a lot of the devastation in the south still hasn’t been cleaned up and is still rebuilding.
All in all I think this video is very powerful in evoking political connections through its imagery. It’s good to watch a music video that is thought-provoking and has meaning and not a piece of media that’s purely for entertainment.