How I interpret "Formation" is Beyonce being proud of being black and helping other black women, especially younger black girls embrace their black features. "I like my baby heir with baby hair and afros" while showing a clip of the three little girls with their natural hair stood out to me. The lyrics after that is her telling us she loves her black features (nose) which is influential to like I said, black girls. Another thing I noticed in the music video is the depiction of growing up in the South. You can see the low income neighborhood which has a majority of the black population in the South living in those areas. There is a clip near the end of the video where it shows a black church along with the lyrics "I slay (okay), I slay (okay)" which to me it means that the community is empowering each other and preaching their black pride. At the end, there is a little boy dancing while being surrounded by armed cops but eventually raise their hands along with the boy. A small clip of a wall "Stop Shooting Us" shows us how black people are facing racism and prejudice everyday which is the reality for a lot of black people living in the South. Overall I think the message is that no matter what they face, they will always be proud of being black.
Matsoukas, Beyonce's friend and director has helped Beyonce and other female artists portray female empowerment in many of their music videos. She specifically helps portray the struggles of black women through art which are the music videos she puts together. Formation was one of the videos she helped Beyonce direct. For the video, Matsoukas has to do extensive research to portray how black people experience on a daily basis. At the same time, she manages to also depict the strength and resistance of black people and the community. I believe that the music video was so controversial because it shows people, specifically black people standing up to authority. We don't see that a lot which is why it could possibly shock the audience.