Following the release of Beyoncé’s “Formation,” and her subsequent, Coldplay-and-Bruno-Mars trumping Super Bowl halftime performance, an Eventbrite posting went up calling for a protest. “Formation” boldly brings together an army of signifiers of southern black American identities, and displays pride in those qualities as a defense against both recent and historical forms of oppression. So, one would want to assume that the first protests responding to that video would be in favor of it, using its power and widespread, Internet-stopping viewership, to combat racial oppression.
But because the video is a fervent display of black femininity, and because this automatically seems to upset racist conservatives, it indeed…upset some racist conservatives who seem unable to fathom the popularity of a video where white people aren’t central and blackness is celebrated — and politicized. And now some of these people are protesting. Their Eventbrite page, calling for the protest to take place outside of the NFL headquarters building in New York, features a laundry list of absurd grievances against Beyoncé’s recent work:
“Are you offended as an American that Beyoncé pulled her race-baiting stunt at the Superbowl?
Do you agree that it was a slap in the face to law enforcement?
Do you agree that the Black Panthers was/is a hate group which should not be glorified?
Come and let’s stand together. Let’s tell the NFL we don’t want hate speech & racism at the Superbowl ever again!”
As New York Magazine notes, there also now happens to be a protest to protest that protest planned, created by a user who goes by Black Girl Rising, and called “GET IN FORMATION: Anti-Anti-Beyoncé Protest Rally.” On this Eventbrite page, Black Girl Rising succinctly skewers the racism fueling the original protest, noting that “when Black women affirm Blackness/Black womanhood, they are attacked and silenced.” She continues:
“This is a counter protest to a racist, ahistorical attack on the Black Panther Party and Beyonce, plus an excuse to celebrate a very awesome song and #BlackGirlMagic moment. Sisters, dress in your ‘Formation’ video/Super Bowl performance-inspired gear and make this moment a joyous one! Allies and friends, show up and show your support!”
Both the racist protest and the protest against the racist protest will be held on February 16, from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m.