Why Beyoncé’s 'Formation' Win Is a Win for Black Girls Everywhere

Video still. (Photo: Parkwood Entertainment /  Columbia Records)

Why Beyoncé’s 'Formation' Win Is a Win for Black Girls Everywhere

The Queen takes home one of the biggest awards of the night for being unapologetically Black.

Published June 26, 2016

Beyoncé stays winning, quite literally. For those who chose to dismiss Bey’s Blackness prior to her video for “Formation,” there’s no ignoring it now. The superstar received the award for “Video of the Year” at the 2016 BET Awards for the controversial visual, proving she can’t be stopped.

When the Queen combined a New Orleans backdrop and unapologetic Black Girl Magic, the world didn’t know how to react. When Black culture chooses to raise their fists in pride of who they are and where they’re from, people outside the culture, more often than not, don’t understand and mock us.  

Black Girl Magic has been a running theme all year. Melissa Harris-Perry became Editor-at-Large for ELLE. Elaine Welteroth became Editor-in-Chief of Teen Vogue. Solange Knowles wakes up everyday, so that is enough Black Girl Magic in itself. Then, Bey released Lemonade and showed just how much power a Black woman has, physically, emotionally and spiritually. She gave us women a voice. In “Don’t Hurt Yourself,” she used a sound bite from Malcolm X’s speech, “Who Taught You To Hate Yourself?”: “The most disrespected person in America is the Black woman. The most unprotected person in America is the Black woman. The most neglected person in America is the Black woman.” She gave us freedom and it started when she sang, “OK, ladies. Now, let’s get in formation.”

“Formation” is a bold proclamation of proud blackness, an experience through the lens of Black America and is slightly political with scenes highlighting police brutality and Black Lives Matter. From the young boy with his hands up in front of the police, panning to a sign saying ‘Stop Shooting Us,’ to Bey sinking with a police car in the final scene, “Formation” was a video, prefaced with the warning for explicit lyrics, created for Black people, highlighting Black life and struggles. It was a sign of unity for us. It showed Black women everywhere that we are no longer invisible, but rather we’re invincible and was undeniably was the best video of the year.

Although she wasn’t on hand to pick up her award in person because she had to fly out to her London tour stop straight after her awards performance, Mama Tina Lawson represented. And if you know anything about Mrs. Tina, she embodies Black Girl Magic too. Bow down — to the Queen, to her mama, to “Formation” and to the conversation this video has sparked.

Written by Mya Abraham

(Photo: Parkwood Entertainment / Columbia Records)


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