Beyoncé's “Formation” packed a powerful punch at Sunday night’s MTV Video Music Awards, winning Video of the Year as well as a multitude of other accolades. The challengers for the category were Adele’s “Hello,” Drake’s “Hotline Bling,” Justin Beiber’s “Sorry,” and Kanye West’s “Famous.”
In her acceptance speech, the singer-songwriter dedicated the victory to her family, crew and the people of New Orleans since the Crescent City is also the setting for the song.
On that same note, the Mercedes-Benz Superdome is also one of the concert locations in September for the Formation World Tour.
From the popstar’s sixth studio album entitled Lemonade, “Formation” debuted in February of this year and left audiences with mixed reviews due to the political message and music video content. Former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani called the Super Bowl halftime performance a “shame.” Some echoed Giuliani’s sentiment and described the video as having an anti-police tone with Black Lives matter imagery intertwined with statement-making scenes.
Beyoncé protested against the accusations in the May edition of Elle Magazine, stating “. . anyone who perceives my message as anti-police is completely mistaken.” She explained that she has much admiration and respect for law enforcement officers and their families. She also said she stands for the video’s expressed themes: “But let’s be clear: I am against police brutality and injustice. Those are two separate things.”
When questioning why such a song was dedicated to New Orleans, analyzing the concept idea of the album can also help.
The inspiration for Lemonade was based on Queen B’s celebration of her own roots and culture. She was influenced by her and her husband’s grandmothers. At the end of the track, Jay Z’s grandmother, Hattie White, can be heard speaking at her ninetieth birthday party. In the audio recording, White says, “I had my ups and downs, but I always find the inner strength to pull myself up. I was served lemons, but I made lemonade.”
“Those feelings were long there before a video and long before me,” Beyoncé added. “I’m proud of what we created and I’m proud to be part of a conversation that is pushing things forward in a positive way.”
In the wake of the eleventh anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, it seems New Orleanians have been dealt a fair share of lemons too. Yet, as we rebuilt, we also made our own sweet-tasting lemonade.