Fans and critics were appreciative of Beyoncé’s halftime show performance at Super Bowl 50 this Sunday, but her political message is now making waves.
“I think it was outrageous,” former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani said on Fox News Monday, who said he didn’t get it from an artistic standpoint and didn’t agree with the pop diva’s politics and her support of “Black Lives Matter.”
“The halftime show I thought was ridiculous anyway. I don’t know what the heck it was. A bunch of people bouncing around and all strange things. It was terrible,” Giuliani said.
Beyoncé’s back-up dancers were dressed in all black, with black berets and afros — reminiscent of the way members of the Black Panther Party dressed in the 1960s.
And Beyoncé donned a bandolier of bullets, similar to one famously worn by Michael Jackson during his 1993 world tour.
One day before taking the stage with Coldplay and Bruno Mars at Super Bowl 50, Beyoncé dropped “Formation” — her first new single since 2014. The video was shot in New Orleans and features references to Hurricane Katrina and images that are seen as rallying cries to the “Black Lives Matter” movement.
“Formation” has references to Black Lives Matter and Katrina that are clear; it includes an image of Beyoncé on top of a sinking police car, walls strewn with “Stop Shooting Us” graffiti, and a young African American boy in a hoodie dancing in front of police officers.
Giuliani rejected the political statement.
“This is football, not Hollywood,” he said, “and I thought it was really outrageous that she used it as a platform to attack police officers who are the people who protect her and protect us, and keep us alive.”
Asked whether a political message belongs at the Super Bowl by CNN’s Carol Costello, Black Lives Matter activist Erika Totten said Beyoncé’s message accomplished exactly what the movement is supposed to.
“I think [the message] absolutely belongs in the Super Bowl,” Totten said. “Our goal is to disrupt the status quo and bring the message wherever the message may not be heard.”
Meanwhile, “Black Lives Matter” activist Deray McKesson, who is running for mayor in Baltimore, hailed the star’s performance, tweeting “At its core, she is reminding us that economic justice is a key component to liberation work.”
Bakari Kitwana, the the CEO of Rap Sessions and author of the “Hip-Hop activism in the Obama Era,” says that while mainstream stars like Beyoncé and her husband Jay-Z have not necessarily portrayed themselves as activists, they are evolving and they have access to mainstream platforms.
“There’s definitely an evolution going on with Beyoncé. It shows you how smart she is. She’s tapping into the same consumer culture that she’s always tapped into but she’s doing it with some political overtones,” Kitwana said.
And he cannot recall a time when Beyoncé brought a political message to a spotlight as mainstream as the Super Bowl.
“In terms of Black Lives Matter, we’re in this really hyper politicized movement where blackness is being discussed in the mainstream, so it’s a smart move for her to play with that type of imagery,” Kitwana said. “it achieved what it was meant to do. People are talking about it.”
The singer also started the #BeyGood fund to support local United Way programs which are distributing thousands of filtration pitchers, faucet mount filters and truckloads of water to residents of Flint, Michigan.
By Deena Zaru