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Amy Schumer twirls on her haters and won’t apologize for Beyonce parody video

Amy Schumer in West Hollywood last year. Schumer is brushing off critics who say her parody of Beyonce's "Formation" video is racially insensitive.
Amy Schumer in West Hollywood last year. Schumer is brushing off critics who say her parody of Beyonce’s “Formation” video is racially insensitive.
(John Salangsang / Invision / Associated Press)

As seems to happen on a fairly regular basis, Amy Schumer is again embroiled in a controversy invoking the scorn of the Internet.

Whether she’s insulting Donald Trump supporters during a recent show in Tampa, Fla., or continuing her association with Kurt Metzger, the “Inside Amy Schumer” writer who made comments in August doubting the statements of alleged sexual assault victims, Schumer has been finding herself at the center of Internet firestorms. And this week is no different.

Upon releasing an imitation of Beyonce’s “Formation” video Oct. 21, Schumer faced criticism that her homage missed much of the point of “Formation” and “Lemonade,” the album that featured the song, largely seen as a celebration of black womanhood.

“Formation,” has been a flashpoint for controversy since its debut as the first single from “Lemonade” in February.

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During Beyonce’s performance of the song during the Super Bowl halftime show, her backup dancers wore outfits that harkened to the Black Panther Party.

When the official video for the song was released, featuring imagery of the singer atop a sinking New Orleans police cruiser and a young boy in a hoodie dancing in front of a line of police officers in riot gear, it spurred some police organizations to promote a “Ban Beyonce” movement to withhold security for the artist, saying her message was anti-police.

In the Schumer video, filmed while she was in Hawaii working on a yet-to-be-named movie that also stars Goldie Hawn, Joan Cusack and Wanda Sykes, the comedian dances and twerks and lip-syncs to Beyonce alongside fellow cast and crew members.

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Upon its release, critics of the video accused the comedian of appropriating black culture and creating a send-up of something she doesn’t understand.

On Thursday, Schumer responded to critics of her video in an essay published on Medium, pointing out that she had the approval of Beyonce herself to release the video and repeating the fact that it had been released exclusively on Tidal, the streaming service co-owned by Beyonce’s husband (and rapper) Jay Z, for 24 hours.

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“It was NEVER a parody,” Schumer wrote, despite Tidal marketing it specifically as such. “It was just us women celebrating each other.”

In her essay, Schumer defends the video, saying that she thinks “Lemonade” is “one of the greatest pieces of art of our time” and that both the album and the speeches of First Lady Michelle Obama and Hillary Clinton at the Democratic National Convention drove them to film the tribute.

What she did not do in her essay, however, is apologize for any of the furor around the video.

“If you watched it and it made you feel anything other than good, please know that was not my intention,” Schumer wrote.

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Schumer seemed disinclined to view her take on “Formation” as white-washing, despite the song containing lyrics like, “My daddy Alabama, momma Louisiana. You mix that negro with that Creole, make a Texas bama.”

“You have every right to feel however you feel about the video and me but I want you to know I’m not going anywhere,” Schumer said while concluding her essay. “Use whatever hashtag you like.

“My mission is to continue to work as hard as I can to empower women and make them laugh and feel better and I won’t let anything stop me.”

Schumer’s words make it clear the comedian is committed to the empowerment of women. Just not the ones who disagree with how she chooses to demonstrate her empowerment.

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libby.hill@latimes.com

Twitter: @midwestspitfire

To read the article in Spanish, click here

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