The visuals for Beyoncé s Formation video are stunning. Even I, a proud Beyoncé critic will concede that. Because of the stunning visuals, I can understand the unfettered fawning over Formation.
But before you go getting “in formation” on behalf of other people or “the community” make sure you get in formation for yourself.
We all know that within the Black community some lives matter more than others. While there is an occasional exception, Black = Black men. And some of you are okay with that. You’ve been indoctrinated every day of your life to believe that Black men and boys are more valuable than Black women and girls.
We see it in a movement led by Black women where mass mobilization took place on behalf of Black men while family members and supporters of Black women were forced to stand on side walks with handmade signs pleading for someone to pay attention to their mother, sister, daughter who was also unarmed when she was shot by law enforcement.
We see it when ESSENCE magazine, the magazine where Black women “come first,” dedicates an entire issue to Black lives that matter, but when it comes to a photo spread of mothers who’ve lost their children who were killed by law enforcement, ESSENCE didn’t include a single mother of an unarmed Black woman who was killed.
I’m not going to tell you not to get in formation. But when you get in formation for “the community,” just realize that the community is probably not going to get in formation for you.
And before you go ga ga over Black Panther imagery, read up on how women were treated within that movement. Read about the male leadership’s views about violence against women. Here’s a hint…they weren’t against it.
As I’ve stated repeatedly, Beyoncé is not a radical. She’s a conformist. She just reinforces a male-centered value system in flashy creative ways. There is nothing radical about telling Black women to be sacrificial lambs. We get that drilled into our heads from birth.
We see M’Dear get in formation by putting the house she spent her whole life paying for on the line to get some male member of the family out of jail.
We see Aunt Mabel get in formation trying to raise children by herself after being abandoned by their fathers.
We see Sister So and So give her last dollar to the church so pastor can get a new overflow parking lot while her roof is leaking and she’s struggling to survive while she just keeps on keeping on… As long as the Lord will allow.
I don’t blame Beyoncé or all of y’all screaming “Slaaaaay! Slay! Slay!”
Getting in formation feels good. Helping other people feels good. Being a part of an event that you think is greater that yourself feels good. We are social creatures after all.
But I’m convinced that many of you running to get in formation for other people are doing so because you are terrified of getting in formation for yourself.
So go ahead and slay- just leave some time to slay for yourself.