Recently, on Don Lemon’s CNN show, a police representative/spokesman even had a problem with the graffiti in Beyoncé’s video (Formation) – which says: “Stop shooting us.” That is now being viewed as a “cop-hating comment”. How? And why? The plea for police officers to stop shooting and/or killing unarmed African-Americans can in no way be misconstrued to mean anything other than a plea to please stop. It is not a cop hating slogan. So should African-Americans just accept being shot and killed by police? Of course not. Should they ask police to stop? Of course they should. The fact is that some are seizing upon every iota of African-Americans who are speaking out against these murders, which includes a backlash against Black Lives Matter movement, also calling that cop-hating. This is right out of the anti-civil rights movement of the 1950’s and 1960’s, and more notably, the covert attack strategy used by J.Edgar Hoover against the Black Panthers in the 1960’s. Speak up for justice – and suddenly – the speaker becomes a threat against the status quo. Create a slogan – and suddenly it is deemed to be ‘racist hate speech’. Why is it that some have such a problem with African-Americans insisting that their lives do indeed matter and a simple request to “stop shooting us”?
The video of ‘Formation’ is a celebration of not only African-American history, but Beyoncé’s own personal history, which includes her ties to New Orleans , with obvious references to hurricane Katrina. The song also references her love of her “negro nose”. The end of the video shows the phrase “Stop Killing Us”. You can view it for yourself here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fTUDy59K9hQ:
No one yet has seemed to have a problem with Bruno Mars doing the same thing – matching her in color and leather – and with his dancers being dressed like the original and militant hip-hop artists. Apparently a man can make a statement via dress, but a woman cannot.
The firestorm of controversy stems from the Beyoncé’s half-time performance and has become a social media frenzy. The frenzy, however, was created by Rudy Giuliani, ( is he ever going away?), and a police union saying that police will boycott her concert via refusing to provide security for the event. Beyoncé’s tribute to not only 50 year anniversary of the founding of The Black Panthers but also to Michael Jackson’s Super Bowl appearance, seems to have “offended” some people. Some of her now former fans have called the performance “disgusting”. In fact, even though Beyoncé’s outfit was a direct replica of the jacket which Michael Jackson wore during his historic Superbowl performance, they are saying that her outfit was a Black Panther uniform. However – Huffington Post Style posted side-by-side photos and Beyoncé was also a friend of Michael Jackson.- so there’s that to refute and hopefully diffuse the controversy.
However, no such luck with the facts quieting things down. And it is getting even louder with groups such as the Bloods, The Crips, The Polynesian Panthers,The White Panthers, and Louis Farrakhan now offering to provide security for her if the police will not.
PBS has recently aired a documentary about The Black Panther Party of the 1960’s , (The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution), it is both enlightening and heart breaking. And what J.Edgar Hoover did , (as now revealed in de-classified documents), is an outrage. These were kids aged 16-23. The truth is that they were never a group that were out to ‘get’ cops. The Black Panthers defended themselves against outrageous conduct – even having members being shot and killed in their sleep – and in their own defense – they defended their thresholds.
Amazingly, juxtaposed with the heated debate over gun control with the counter-argument being assertive defense of the 2nd amendment – The Black Panther party gained notice for exercising their rights under the then California law, which permitted open-carry – a law just recently passed in Texas. (No recent governmental outrage, as the Black Panthers experienced, however, regarding those who recently stood with loaded weapons outside of Muslim temples .) But the Black Panthers were, and continue to be, vilified, for asserting their 2nd amendment rights. The complete name was The Black Panther Party for self-defense. That self-defense included not only the right to bear arms, but free breakfast programs for children, and free medical clinics. Before you judge Beyoncé and what she was doing – first watch the PBS documentary – then read the lyrics to “Formation”, at that point, you will be sufficiently informed enough to make an independent opinion based upon your own information and not based upon the spin from the likes of Rudy Giuliani.