Those who were only half-watching Beyoncé's "Formation" performance during the Super Bowl halftime show — perhaps distracted by the beer, wings and guacamole — may be wondering what was the big deal. So here's a quick primer.
- The costumes spoke volumes
- Beyonce's ensemble was an homage to Michael Jackson, ripping its style from the outfit the late pop star wore during his Super Bowl show in 1993. Her backup dancers, meanwhile were clad in dance-leotard versions of the Black Panthers' clothing of choice, accented by afros and black berets.
- The choreography spoke volumes
- In addition to the black power salute that came a couple of minutes into the Bruno Mars-Beyoncé part of the show, the pop star and her ladies went into an X formation, presumably evocative of Malcolm X.
- The lyrics spoke volumes
Queen B's new song "Formation" touches on many racially sensitive issues, including police violence against black youths and the treatment of people during and after Hurricane Katrina, as well as black hair, skin color and facial features. Also acknowledged: long-running rumors that she and hubby Jay Z are members of the Illuminati, a supposed secret society that runs the world. See the explicit version of the music video here.
- Beyoncé's backup dancers weren't shy about politics
- A photo taken backstage shows the troupe rocking the Black Panthers' black power salute, and a video posted to Twitter by a Bay Area branch of the Black Lives Matter movement shows a handful of the dancers demanding "Justice 4 Mario Woods," a 26-year-old black man armed with a knife who was fatally shot in December by San Francisco police.
- Rudy Giuliani was not impressed
- The former mayor of New York and occasional presidential aspirant weighed in Monday on Fox News, calling out the singer for what he saw as an attack on police.
"This is football, not Hollywood, 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," he said (via the New York Daily News). "And what we should be doing in the African American community, and all communities, is build up respect for police officers. And focus on the fact that when something does go wrong, OK. We'll work on that. But the vast majority of police officers risk their lives to keep us safe."
- Blue Ivy got a sneak preview
No controversy here, just a cute Facebook picture of the 4-year-old checking out Mommy during dress rehearsal. The little girl would spend the game with daddy Jay Z and mom's pal Gwyneth Paltrow, watching the spectacle from a sky box.
- Missed the performance entirely?
- No worries — that's what the Internet is for. You can watch Bruno Mars and Beyoncé's portion of the halftime show, headlined by Coldplay, on the NFL's website.