Beyonce’s new video “Formation” is a loud celebration of Black culture, while artistically addressing racial injustices that continue to plague the Black community:
Hurricane Katrina: “What happened after New Orleans?” is the opening statement of “Formation,” as Beyonce is seen standing on a New Orleans police vehicle, in what appears to be the water that flooded the city. At the end of the video she appears to drown while laying on the NOLA police car, confirming what has been continuously expressed about Hurricane Katrina and answering the opening question: Absolutely nothing happened after Hurricane Katrina. The government let the people drown. We catch your drift Bey!
Self-love: “I like my baby hair with baby hair and afros.” “I like my Negro nose with Jackson 5 nostrils.” Who cares what ya’ll think about Blue Ivy’s hair and Jay Z’s nose? Apparently Beyonce doesn’t. #Bloop
Roots Don’t Lie: And if there ever was any concern about Beyonce forgetting her Black/Creole/Country roots, she lets it be known that she has hot sauce in her bag, and likes cornbread and collard greens. *flips hair*
Police Brutality: For the past two years, police brutality has been a huge issue in the Black community. The public has wandered when certain celebrities would speak out against it, especially Beyonce. Well, she did. In “Formation” there’s a scene of a boy dancing while being surrounded by police. In an interesting turn of events, and something that will only occur in a Utopia, the police raise their hands in a sign of surrender to the boy.
Let’s not forget about Beyonce’s Superbowl performance that consisted of her paying homage to Michael Jackson in her costume, while her female dancers sashayed in Black Panther Party attire. Yes, yes, yes! Beyonce finally addressed racial injustices and we’re here for it.
However, one thing was forgotten: education. High quality education, to be exact. The lack of high quality schools in Black and Brown neighborhoods is a racial injustice. Mainstream America has a tendency to overlook the consequences of what the lack of not having a high quality education does to a community. According to the
Black Alliance for Educational Options (BAEO), 16 percent of Black students in the fourth grade were reading “at proficient” in 2015. How will these children be able to apply for college? How will they obtain respected careers? How will they somehow manage to escape the easily accessible road of crime that’s looming in the crevices of every urban neighborhood? How Sway? How? It’s impossible to discuss racial injustices and fail to mention education. They go hand-in-hand. Especially when statistics like the one above continue to haunt our community. We’re no longer waiting for Superman, but I would have loved for Beyonce to add a line about how the schools are failing us, before drowning on top of that police car. I can only imagine that a life without receiving high quality education must feel like drowning.
Tanikia Carpenter blogs about schools and life on Chicago’s South Side at Chicago Unheard. Her work has been featured on the TLC network, ESSENCE, and Huff Post LIVE, just to name a few. Tanikia is a regular contributor to Black & Married With Kids and the columnist of JET Magazine's "Giving You the Gospel." She is also the author of "When God Said ...