A White Lesbian Responds to Beyonce’s Formation

This won’t be the post you expect.

Let me open by saying that while I enjoy Beyonce’s music, I’ve never really listened to her catalogue. I admire her politics, especially her stance on feminism and I appreciate her artistry. But I never really moved past admiration to engage her art.

Until Saturday.

I saw so many references to the video ‘Formation’ that I decided to watch it. And rewatched it. A lot. I had a long conversation with my partner (also a white cisgender lesbian) about the video. And then I went looking for analysis from women of color in my network – my friends, my colleagues, my social media feeds.

I put some work into understanding the video – I used Google, I looked up terms, I slowed down the video to watch frame by frame. I knew it was important and I wanted to try to understand. I don’t understand and that’s okay. Because the video wasn’t made for me.

So my response to the video was profound, but not because of my words or thoughts or critique. It is because the video made me resolve to listen more than I had the day before. The title of this post was designed to get you to read my few paragraphs, but what I really hope to do is have you read these articles.

Tiffany Lee posted this public response on Facebook. We have several mutual friends so it popped into my feed. I don’t know Tiffany, but I hope to find more of her writing.

Luvvie wrote all of the words. Beyonce’s Formation is Her Best Thing Yet and it’s the IDGAF Anthem

Adrienne Maree Brown on the Visionary Fiction of Beyonce

Over at The Root, Danielle Belton reminds us Beyoncé Drops ‘Formation’ for the People, the Black People

From Very Smart Brothas, Pittsburgh’s own Damon Young has this BEYONCE IS THE NEW BLACK: THE 10 BLACKEST MOMENTS IN BEYONCE’S “FORMATION” VIDEO

Essence has this from Aliya S. King Beyonce and the ‘Formation’ of Black Girl Feminism (When the Hot Sauce Isn’t Enough)

Google away, but I strongly suggest you read works written by black women and men over the click bait pieces promising to explain the entire video to you. You don’t need to understand the entire video. It isn’t for you or me and that’s the way it is. Beyonce owes white women nothing in her art or her messaging or her life choices.

And whether we are okay with that is also not the point.


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