On Thursday, Beyoncé finally answered critics of her recent performances and ‘Formation’ video for delivering strongly negative messages towards police officers, and even advocating racial counter-violence. “Anyone who perceives my message as anti-police is completely mistaken,” Beyoncé told Elle magazine. “I have so much admiration and respect for officers and the families of officers who sacrifice themselves to keep us safe.”
Beyoncé then continues: “But let’s be clear: I am against police brutality and injustice. Those are two separate things.”
Two separate things, indeed, though police unions nationwide have expressed concern that this distinction hasn’t been made clear to the roughly 36.3 million viewers of the ‘Formation’ video, not to mention the roughly 112 million viewers of the singer’s Black Panther-inspired Super Bowl 50 Halftime performance.
There’s also the significant amount of time that has passed since the Super Bowl and video release, with little clarification from the singer. That lag has drawn criticism of a different type of exploitation. Specifically, is Beyoncé not only failing to make that distinction in her latest work, but recklessly abusing her massive media power at the expense of police officers?
That remains a serious concern of US-based police organizations along with leaders like Rudy Giuliani, all of whom remain deeply unhappy in light of images like these:
The issue was first sparked by Beyoncé’s Super Bowl 50 halftime performance, which seemed to celebrate the radical and violent legacy of The Black Panthers. The black power group, which initially started to combat police oppression, traces its roots to Oakland, just a few miles from the stadium.
The spirited performance prompted calls for boycotts of her albums and tour dates, with even the NFL receiving heavy criticism for allowing the Halftime performance in the first place.
Beyonce has not discussed the matter beyond the Elle interview this week.