*(Via Billboard) – If anything has been made clear in the past two weeks about black female lives in America’s pop territory, it’s that black girls are magic, but black women expressing their views are on the “attack.”
As the gigabytes of reactions to Beyonce‘s “Formation” — the song, the video, the Super Bowl performance, the seismic event — have shown, white America, white supremacy and patriarchy continue to live in fear of an actualized black woman who actually resonates with black women.
It would be woefully incorrect to say that “Formation” is Beyonce’s coming into womanhood — she’s been a mother for years, a wife for longer and a boss before that. But “Formation” is in many ways her own formation: the moment when she finally stepped beyond Beyonce and into the larger world. On her last album, Beyonce, her politics were deeply personal. Songs like “Flawless,” “Partition” and “Drunk in Love” were about her singular agency: her sex and sexiness, her self-love, her wife-love, her adulthood. But “Formation” is a song from a mother who seemingly has it all — success in family, career, wealth, power and fame — but realizes that none of that means as much as the world she leaves behind to her daughter. And it’s a pop song that could only be made at this chart-topping register by someone whose net worth is currently F-point-U-million dollars.
Suggested from Windows StoreLike all transcendent pop songs, “Formation” is both universal and local. She begins: “My daddy Alabama, momma Louisiana/ You mix that negro with that Creole make a Texas bama” — and it’s impossible to hear this roots roll call as anything but a declaration of being. In his recent musical polemic, Seattle rapper Macklemore noted that whites “take all we want from black culture, but will we show up for black lives?/ We want to dress like, walk like, talk like, dance like, yet we just stand by.” His observation was not original — it’s something cribbed from activists that have been at the intersection of culture and politics for years. It’s a reality that’s been allowed to exist only by virtue of a low-level cognitive dissonance that lets people easily separate art from both the world at large and the artists who create it.
Get the REST of this article by Kris Ex at Billboard.