At this point, I don’t even have to ask if you’ve heard about Beyoncé’s new song, “Formation.” The song and music video has been the main topic of conversation since its release date. There’s no doubt that the video is sending a particular message, but some are concerned that the underlying message is portrayed in an offensive way.
In Brandon Harris’s article he discusses “The Problem with Beyoncé’s Formation Video.” As far as cinematography goes, director Melina Masoukas met all expectations. Matsouka’s choice to switch between different formats – HD, grainy 16mm, blurry, near-surreal VHS made the video appear to be exerts from different home videos or news clips, which in my opinion is why the video excels.
However, Harris argues that the message “Black lives matter” doesn’t excel and hardly registers throughout the video. While there is an abundance of imagery alluding to Katrina and demonstrating the violence and injustice to black members of the community, there is also numerous lyrics and images alluding to Beyoncé’s lavish lifestyle. Harris closes his article with the statement: “it’d be nice to hear her articulate her beliefs and intentions – that is, beyond the allure of her own commercial viability, wrapped in the symbols of black revolt.”
Personally, I am a fan of almost anything Beyoncé leaks to a mass audience. However, I do agree with Harris – I would rather people be talking about how black lives matter and taking action than arguing over a Beyoncé music video and song. Although, I admire that she is bringing a major issue to light, I am discouraged that her video and select lyrics overpower the intended message.