We may have stopped talking about the ads or even the game itself, but people are still talking about Beyonce’s Superbowl halftime show that CBS News called, “a stunning display of unapologetic blackness and political activism during one of the most-watched events of the year.”As CBS News notes:
While Beyonce hasn’t commented on the specifics of the show, and her rep declined comment, the imagery speaks for itself. Beyonce’s dancers donned berets, sported Afros and wore all black, similar to the style of the Black Panther party, founded 50 years ago by Huey P. Newton and Bobby Seale in the Bay area – the location of this year’s Super Bowl. At one point during their routine, the dancers formed an “X” on the field, which some people are taking as a tribute to slain black activist Malcolm X.In addition, Beyoncé and her dancers raised a fist to the sky, reminiscent of the black power salutes of the 1960-70s, made popular internationally by Tommie Smith and John Carlos, who raised their fists to the sky after winning gold and bronze at the 1968 Summer Olympics.
Whether you view the “stunning” and “unapologetic” performance in a positive light depends on your perspective.
Conservatives such as former New York City mayor and GOP presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani slammed the performance as an attack on police officers, while Fox News host Steve Varney lamented, “Is there anything in America that can exclude race? Why is race brought in at the halftime show of the Super Bowl?”To which Daily Show correspondent Jessica Williams gave this unbelievable response:
“Race was brought in because Beyoncé was brought in. And brace yourself, because you might want to sit down for this, but Beyoncé is black.”
So now are we to understand that simply by hiring a black person — as the National Football League did Beyonce for the Superbowl halftime show — we are bringing in race as an issue? Here I naively thought the NFL hired Beyonce on the merits of her being a kick-ass performer — not seeing her as a particular color, but rather the best person for the job of entertaining us at half-time.And, as Milwaukee Sheriff David Clarke points out, if the tables were turned — and a white performer took a similar tack and brought her white race into the show — there would have been all-out outrage.
Following Beyonce’s performance at Super Bowl 50, many noticed her reference to #BlackLivesMatter protesters through an excerpt of her new song, “Formation.” The performance attire of her back-up dancers also appeared, to many, to be a nod to the Black Panthers.Her performance was perceived as so “anti-police” that the National Sheriff’s Association – watching the game from their annual meetings – opted to mute the television and turn their backs on it.
Now, another famous sheriff – David Clarke, of Milwaukee County – has weighed in:
“[Beyonce] coming out… in those ‘Black Panther’ type uniforms, would that be acceptable if a white band came out in hoods and white sheets in the sam sort of fashion? We would be appalled and outraged.”
Sheriff Clarke added, “the Black Panthers are a subversive hate group in America.”
Once again, the double standards are striking. Some groups push for “equality” and for our society to move beyond race, but apparently only if some groups are “more equal” than others, and the race card can be played when advantageous to one’s own agenda.
People seem to forget that Malcolm X and the Black Panthers represented militancy, violence and separatism — a far cry from the great Martin Luther King, Jr.’s tactics. But, then again, I suppose the #BlackLivesMatter movement is modeling itself more on the likes of Malcolm X and the Black Panthers than it is Martin Luther King.
As The Daily Signal noted, “It is now “cool” to embrace violence, mayhem and frankly even racial separatism in the cause of civil rights.”
But isn’t it well past time for Beyonce and the #BlackLivesMatter movement to ask themselves, are they actually advancing their cause or hurting it? It certainly feels as those race relations and our unity as Americans — regardless of color — have only split open in a big way as a result of #BlackLivesMatter.
It’s very disappointing, to say the least, that we’re going backward instead of forward here.
And I’m disappointed, too, that yet another person I valued for her skills as an entertainer is now off my list because she had to co-opt what was supposed to be an entertaining halftime show for her own political — and racist — agenda.
[Note: This article was written by Michelle Jesse, Associate Editor]