Kalyn B – Conversation 2

The song, “Formation” by Beyonce is a multi-layered work that addresses various themes and issues, making it a thought-provoking and controversial piece of art. Some themes expressed in the song are black empowerment, racial injustice, feminism, as well as resilience and strength. My first time watching this video was when it came out in 2016, and I was much younger and less wise, I picked up on some of the themes like black empowerment and feminism, as well as the social injustice but never took the time to educate myself on the making of this video and how much creativity and thought was behind it. This song celebrates black culture and identity while highlighting pride and roots to ones heritage. Beyonce makes references to racial injustices by referencing police brutality as well as BLM, emphasizing the need for social justice and equality. She touches on feminism by promoting female empowerment and by of her challenging gender roles. Resilience and strength is shown in the video when visuals of post hurricane Katrina were showcased, emphasizing the strength of the community of New Orleans and how they felt like the first responders failed them. Melina Matsoukas is the extremely talented and creative director behind this iconic video, and has helped Beyonce meet the quality and standards of the vision they have been looking to produce. Matsoukas states “I treat each video like a thesis project..I wanted to show—this is black people…We triumph, we suffer, we’re drowning, we’re being beaten, we’re dancing, we’re eating, and we’re still here.” Beyonce’s sister Solange is also close and has worked with Matsoukas, stating, “One of the special things about our friendship is, nine times out of ten we are on the same wavelength…Her being a black woman being able to tell those stories in such a bold, unique way is really rare.” Matsoukas being a black woman in a white, male dominated career gives black female artists comfort and trust with their work, knowing she can better relate to them, understand their themes, symbolism and visual concepts. Two examples of rhetorical devices used in this video were hyperboles and imagery. In the lyrics, Beyoncé uses hyperbole for emphasis, such as “I got hot sauce in my bag, swag.” This exaggeration adds a playful and confident tone to the song, reflecting the overall theme of self-assured empowerment. Beyoncé employs vivid imagery throughout the song, describing scenes like “I twirl on them haters” and “I see it, I want it, I stunt, yellow-bone it.” This imagery helps create a visually rich narrative and reinforces the themes of self-confidence and pride. In the end, I think this song became controversial because of the topics and real life issues that were being represented in the video. For example, Beyoncé used the video and her Super Bowl halftime performance of the song to make strong political statements about racial inequality, police brutality, and the Black Lives Matter movement. These statements sparked both support and backlash, even having a Fox News segment which we know is more of a right winged news outlet. The media played a big role in turning a beautiful song and video into a political stance, instead of really sitting down and listening and watching to what was being said and shown, which was the outrage of social injustice. In conclusion, Formation,” by Beyoncé is a politically and socially charged song and video that addresses several important themes and messages and has made history with the beautiful imagery and representation is shows.

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