Madonna had a Black Jesus cry blood in “Like A Prayer” as Klan crosses burned on a lawn.
Animated Illustration: Veronica Marché Illustration by Veronica Marché .
Let Beyoncé comment on half a century of police brutality that still goes woefully, criminally unchecked and completely unjustified.
Let Beyoncé pay tribute to her very mixed but clearly Black heritage, one wrought with struggle spun into lace and gold, woven into tracks and braids and thread wraps and crowns, some natural, some that come with receipts.
Let her video be narrated by, punctuated by, and elevated by the voices, gyrations, and signifying of queer Black at its unapologetic flyest.
Let Beyoncé summon her sistren to be themselves, be Black, be beautiful, be critically thinking, be sexual, be gracious, be wealthy. Be regal with fans and parasols in hand. Or be street, careening in low-lows and strutting in combat boots, synchronized swimming through air in a dry pool to preserve their glorious afros…all while being unified in all their gorgeous complexity.
And when the NFL recognizes that she is a ringer for ratings (119M viewers last Sunday, making #SB50 the third most viewed program ever) and invites her to return to the Super Bowl for the second time in under 5 years (who’s ever done that? Oh—Bruno. Anyway.) Let Beyoncé acknowledge the 50th anniversary of the Black Panthers via her dancers’ costume choices. It is after all, a show. I for one am not looking to her as my barometer for the relevance and power of the Black Panther Party. You know who really disrespected the Black Panthers? J. Edgar Hoover, that’s who.
So let Beyoncé live, make her art, and prosper. Or not. Because even if you refuse to “let” her, and try lame “boycotts” on a halftime show that’s been bought and paid for…The King does as she pleases. Y’all should know that by now. And when she does, no one dies, like when the cops shoot unarmed people for any, every, and no reason. And no one gets their ass beat, like the thousands of victims of domestic violence who meet said violence because of the Super Bowl’s outcome for the fiftieth time this year.
Photo: Matt Cowan/Getty Images North America
#KingBey is not igniting a liberation movement. She is inspired by it. She was raised by it. She is a product of it. How she walks the path blazed by her heroes and sheroes is her choice.
That’s how freedom works.
In other words, you’re free to get in #Formation. Or not.
Thembisa S. Mshaka is the author of Put Your Dreams First: Handle Your [entertainment] Business, and can be followed on Twitter @putyrdreams1st or IG @officiallipgame.