Video Review: Beyoncé “Formation”

On a flooded street, Beyoncé sits on top a police car. Over the image, Messy Mya, a Youtube personality, who according to PopSugar, was murdered in New Orleans in 2010, can be heard. Over documentary footage from “That B.E.A.T.” an intact New Orleans neighborhood is shown as well inside a club, where the police are standing by. Mya asks “what happened to New Orleans, bitch.”

At a funeral, Beyoncé is standing in the center, dressed in black. Four men surround her. Messy Mya says “Bitch, I’m back by popular demand.” A concerned priest waits to give his sermon. Next, a house is turned over in the water. Two other houses are partially submerged in water. No signs of life anywhere.

On a southern plantation, Beyoncé sits on a chair, a parasol in hand. Blue Ivy, her daughter, runs around the house with two friends. She continues to sit on the police car as it sinks further into the water. Blue Ivy, along with her friends, stands with her natural hair.

Beyoncé hangs out a car. More intact houses are shown. Back at the funeral, Beyonce rocks her head back and forth. Three black women are standing in a beauty supply store. Inside a gym, Beyonce and a line of dancers begin their choreography. She twirls her braided hair as the four men stand still. Next, men are playing basketball with “Bama” shown as their team. While in the car, Beyonce lets her weave touch the ground as the driver does a figure eight.

Beyoncé and five other women are aristocrats, fanning themselves inside the home. While Beyonce and her dancers are performing outside, it’s being recorded on home video. A Mardi Gras Indian is on the street. Beyonce has separated herself from the men and puts both middle fingers up in the air. The marching band from Edna Karr is given the spotlight. An African-American holds up a newspaper with Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s face on it. Underneath it, it says the “The Truth.” A black cowboy walks his horse. An black boy, dressed in a black hoodie, dances. The priest is giving his sermon and his congregation celebrates. The police officers, who are Caucasian, are in riot gear, surround the boy. The boy and police officers put their arms up in the air at the same time. A graffitied wall reads: “Stop shooting us.” The police car, with Beyonce still on top, sinks to the bottom, the water crashing over her in waves.

Rating: 5/5

The video comments on the marginalization of black people and she takes aim at every criticism. Black cowboys is a subculture that is ignored, black woman has to have straight hair to be beautiful while black men in hoodies are criminals. The lessons have not been learned from Hurricane Katrina. Beyoncé is proud of who she is, has the courage to speak up and refuses to do what is expected.

      Director: Melina Matsoukas  Year: 2016

 

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