Super Bowl 50, the game itself, was quite uneventful. An aged Peyton Manning, who spent part of this season on the bench for lack of production, rode his way to another championship thanks to a smothering Denver Broncos defense that kept NFL MVP Cam Newton and the rest of Carolina’s high-powered offense in check.
While the game was without much controversy, the halftime show was littered with it. Well, in the minds of some, anyway. But what kind of trouble could Coldplay — literally the safest, least offensive band in the world — and former Super Bowl halftime performers Beyoncé and Bruno Mars do? Well, the focus was all on Beyoncé and it began Saturday afternoon.
Roughly 24 hours before Super Bowl 50 began, Beyoncé surprised us all when she released the single and music video for “Formation.” The song celebrates Beyoncé’s culture and upbringing (“My daddy Alabama, Momma Louisiana. You mix that Negro with that Creole make a Texas bamma” // “I like my baby hair, with baby hair and afros. I like my Negro nose with Jackson Five nostrils”), a statement fully supported by Chance The Rapper.
The video does the same while also shining light on the fallout from Hurricane Katrina, racism, and police brutality. Though, it should be noted, the video never paints police or white people as evil.
*NOTE: Depending on where you work, this video might be NSFW for language. Watch at your own risk. Or when you get home.
Regardless, this did not sit well with some people who decided to unjustly label Beyoncé as a racist. The accusations continued during and after the Super Bowl halftime show, where Beyoncé employed a dance troupe of all black women and a band of all black musicians wearing black berets and leather body suits or jackets.
Former Mayor Rudy Giuliani called her performance “outrageous” on FOX News.
“This is football, not Hollywood, and I thought it was really outrageous that she used it as a platform to attack police officers who are the people who protect her and protect us, and keep us alive,” Giuliani said. “And what we should be doing in the African-American community, and all communities, is build up respect for police officers. And focus on the fact that when something does go wrong, okay. We’ll work on that. But the vast majority of police officers risk their lives to keep us safe.”
Giuliani’s tone-deaf remarks were mirrored on Twitter.
Commenters chose to play the race card instead of viewing Beyoncé’s performance as a salute to black activism; Super Bowl 50 was played in Santa Clara, a short drive from Oakland where the Black Panther Party of Self Defense was founded 50 years earlier in 1966.
Of course, accusations of racism were met with retort.
Clearly, there is a larger issue at play here; one that has been in place for generations and still is today, despite what some pundits and commenters might argue.
On a slightly lighter note:
Let Beyoncé be great. Let her slay.
~ E.J. Judge, CBS Local