Watch Beyoncé Honor Her Southern Roots In New “Formation” Video

Beyoncé Formation Video
There’s been some speculation about whether or not Beyoncé would drop music before her performance with Coldplay at the Super Bowl halftime show tomorrow, but today she did with the “Formation” video. The song kicks off with “Ya’ll haters corny with that illuminati mess,” and goes on to celebrate Bey’s southern roots. There’s also some powerful imagery here that speaks directly to the Black Lives Matter movement and calls out the rampant police violence that’s been in the forefront of our national consciousness. She sinks a cop car, flips a double bird, shouts out Red Lobster and even gives us some pretty cute Blue Ivy cameos. There’s plenty of New Orleans influences and overtones here too, referencing Hurricane Katrina and the government’s incredibly subpar response to that tragedy. The song was produced by Mike Will Made It, co-written by Swae Lee from Rae Sremmurd, and features Big Freedia. Maybe that’s part of why Beyoncé also spends a lot of time rapping here, which is what plenty of us were hoping to hear more of after that last self-titled album. Watch it below.

The song is available for download, guess where? Tidal.

UPDATE: LA-based music video producer Chris Black and writer/director Abteen Bagheri said that the “Formation” video uses clips from their three-year-old documentary about New Orleans and bounce music That B.E.A.T without permission. According to Black and Bagheri, there were initial talks to use some of their footage which trickled off without resolution. Bagheri also tweeted that he explicitly refused to let Beyoncé’s camp use their work. The clip was directed by Melina Matsoukas–who has worked with Beyonce before on the “Pretty Hurts” video–and who Bagheri said has taken from other directors before. Meanwhile, there’s already “Formation” gear in Beyoncé’s shop.

UPDATE #2: The video’s director Melina Matsoukas has now tweeted a shoutout to Bagheri and Lily Keber, the producer/director of a Bayou Maharajah, a film about New Orleans piano player James Carroll Booker III:

UPDATE #3: In a statement to EW Beyoncé’s representatives said the following: “The documentary footage was used with permission and licensed from the owner of the footage. They were given proper compensation. The footage was provided to us by the filmmaker’s production company. The filmmaker is listed in the credits for additional photography direction. We are thankful that they granted us permission.”

Berghi also tweeted, thanking the camp for crediting them:

Watch their That B.E.A.T. documentary below.

That B.E.A.T. from Abteen Bagheri on Vimeo.


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