Beyoncé says her Super Bowl performance, which saw the singer and her backup dancers praising the anti-police Black Panther Party and won admiration from Malcolm X’s daughter, was not “anti-police” and was simply “powerful art” that was “misunderstood.”
“I’m an artist and I think the most powerful art is usually misunderstood,” Beyoncé told Elle Magazine in an interview that also covered the pop star’s views on feminism. “But anyone who perceives my message as anti-police is completely mistaken. I have so much admiration and respect for officers and the families of officers who sacrifice themselves to keep us safe.”
“But let’s be clear: I am against police brutality and injustice,” Beyoncé added. “Those are two separate things.”
Indeed in the days and weeks after Beyoncé’s Super Bowl performance and the release of her “Formation” music video, criticism of the singer’s choice to express herself wasn’t hard to find.
She “used it as a platform to attack police officers, who are the people who protect her and protect us and keep us alive,” Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani said of Beyoncé’s Super Bowl performance.
As for the obvious anti-police imagery in Beyoncé’s controversial music video for “Formation,” the singer is seen sitting on a sinking police car. Another scene shows a graffitied wall with the words “Stop Shooting Us,” while other images show police officers raising their hands in the air, à la Michael Brown who did not have his “hands up” when Officer Wilson fired on him.
“If celebrating my roots and culture during Black History Month made anyone uncomfortable, those feelings were there long before a video and long before me,” Beyoncé told Elle Magazine. “I’m proud of what we created and I’m proud to be a part of a conversation that is pushing things forward in a positive way.”
In recent months, through their subscription-based streaming service Tidal, Beyoncé and her husband Jay-Z have pledged to donate $1.5 million to the anti-police group Black Lives Matter.