On February 6, 2016 Beyoncé released “Formation” on her website, a new song accompanied by a music video that was both so shocking and unexpected, that the internet could not but get in on the discussion. And I heard it there first, as people I knew buzzed with excitement about the video they had just seen, explaining its contents and backstory to me, before I got the chance to see it myself.  
The video symbolizes many incidents that are worth remembering - scenes resembling Hurricane Katrina, images of the South and New Orleans Police, as well as lyrics so explicit that as expressed by Hanna Choi and Lea Donnella of npr.org in their article titled , “we marveled at her ability to get away with it “.  The images reminded people, of every race and ethnicity, that black lives matter. And why you might ask? To get people talking.
The main point could not be more blunt: Beyoncé used her power as a popular figure to create a piece that encouraged those who were too afraid, to voice their opinion and exclaim their pride in being black. She was the fire-starter to the burning rage that lit up the Internet. 
 In return, this proved one thing: the voice of those not as famous and not as heard as Beyoncé’s contributed to this call to formation just as much as the artist herself. We bask in their pride, their bravery, their excitement and their passion to shake ignorance out of not just Americans, but the world.  Beyoncé encouraged black people and specifically black women to speak up and address this topic. Black women everywhere expressed their support to “slay” with Queen B.
Beyoncé started a revolution that provoked those itching to speak up, and paved a safe path for them to say what was on their minds. As iconic as she is, she is one voice (a particularly strong one) amongst many that share the same feelings. She took advantage of her position in the media got a necessary conversation started, which proves to be more important. Beyoncé did not explain her references, but put down guidelines for those who knew it best to explain it for us.
were some of the most repeated words amongst the articles addressing the ignorance. And from there the discussion grew and the people (mostly black women) of the Internet proclaimed their pride along with their support. The truth is, we didn’t know Beyoncé was black as much as we knew black male artists were black.  
Black female contributors spoke up about Black Girl Magic, a phrase created by CaShawn Thompson to “illustrate the universal awesomeness of black women” as defined by Julee Wilson, the Senior Fashion Editor at The Huffington Post. This was one of the elements expressed in ‘Formation’ that pertained specifically to black women. They felt the need to express their emotions towards this movement, in return helping us all understand it better. 
Another significant element of the video was Beyoncé’s use of the word “bama”. To many, myself included, the word “bama” makes zero sense, or if it does make sense, we couldn’t technically relate. For those unfamiliar, “bama” was used amongst youth in Washington D.C. to describe someone who could not dress, was uneducated, and was “country”. Hours after the video was released, articles surfaced applauding Beyoncé for including the discrimination against “bama” blackness as a central issue of this movement, and in return glorifying the term. She got those who related to the term talking and sharing their experiences.  
Many proclaimed that her portrayal of these issues was exaggerated. However, what most people disregarded was the discourse that was forming amongst the African American community as they began to voice their personal reactions to the music video. Discussion circulated around the true significance of such a politically and socially rigorous piece, and as an outsider of this movement, reading through what people had to say made it all the more powerful. Choi and Donnella prove this point, stating that their initial response was to refer to the Internet “to better understand why this video feels so important”. Without all these interpretations and discourse surrounding her video online, people who are not as familiar with the incidents she addresses would not have understood what the video was actually about and the message would not have been delivered as powerfully as it was. 
Many argued that the video diverged attention away from actual goals of the Black Lives Matter movement. Some claimed this was all a publicity stunt to generate buzz for her Super Bowl half-time show, and that she was promoting her self-brand, and using pressing issues to feed her popularity. Critiques aside, and regardless of Beyoncé not matching society’s stereotypical image of black women, ‘Formation’ was important when it got people talking. It was released on the anniversary of Trayvon Martin ‘s death and a day before Sandra Bland’s, and conveniently fired at the entire world during Black History Month. There is no doubt that her publicists knew what they were doing, but the greater picture is being overlooked and that is the circulation of discourse.  
This video helped educate many, resulting in a discussion bigger than Beyoncé herself. It reminisced black history and reflected that there is nothing racist about voicing your opinion of who you are. One would hope a conversation this powerful would inspire those of other races and ethnicities to be brave enough to speak about their culture and be proud. Beyoncé’s ‘Formation’ proved to be as educational and eye opening as it was provocative.
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