Photo credit: Aisha Butler for Jazzy Studios
While finally coming off my “Formation” high, I feel compelled to share with you, my luvs, on why I needed Beyoncé’s song as a reminder that I slay, as well as address some critics on the importance of visual/lyrical translation.
It’s so easy for people to not get the message Beyoncé is conveying in “Formation”. Folks who has criticized the song and the video doesn’t understand how art and culture are blended to form an artistic statement. Only a TRUE artist and genuine art lovers will “get it”.
I am in no way a member of #Beyhive. However, “Formation” has left such an impact on me, I may have to consider. 🙂
I’ve always been a fan of Bey for her tenacious work ethic and her ability to pull emotions out of her fans with her music. Beyoncé has collectively and creatively shown who she is with each solo album. You’d have to be an art lover to recognize the personalized theme behind each album.
Despite all of Beyoncé’s number one singles, it is her latest single, “Formation”, that has affected me to the core. “Formation” has successfully made me and every other woman who “get’s it” aware of her ability to evolve and become the best she can be, despite her circle of critics.
There has been a lot said about the video to “Formation”, as well as the lyrics. Some say the lyrics don’t match the video. Some say the song is all about money, fashion, and sex. The rest is too sensitive to get over Beyoncé dropping the F Bomb and hearing Big Freedia use the word “bitch”.
With all due respect to those sensitive to profanity, you’re not hearing something you’ve never heard before and most likely out of your own mouth a few times, so cut it out!
It’s all about translation.
Before I get into that, let me share why I’ve needed a reminder that “I slay”.
My life came with many challenges, including child loss, heartbreak, financial struggles, body image struggles, and low self-esteem. While any of those things could make me crumble, I chose not to by simply doing what I can do to live a happier and stress-free life…and for that, I fuckin’ slay! Of course, I didn’t need advice or permission from a world-wide entertainer to slay because I always have. I just never realized it until her song confirmed that and I truly thank Beyoncé for that.
Beyoncé has a special way to make her female fans see themselves in her. That’s the power of a true artist and performer and the most effective way to gain a fan’s love. To be able to do that with music and video transcends my admiration for her. In my humble opinion, no other entertainer has been able to do that since Michael Jackson.
This is the part of the post where my “Formation” critics really need to pay attention. When it comes to translating lyrics as complex as Formation’s, you have to break down each verse/sentence in the simplest form for someone like you to understand.
We all know what folks has said about Beyoncé and her family for years. She’s basically responded to everything said about her in a 4-minute visual. From her joining the Illuminati to how she style BlueIvy’s hair, Beyoncé effortlessly said EFF YO OPINIONS the only way Beyoncé can do.
As far as the visual, I have never seen representation so beautifully expressed. From the vintage fashions to the setting, you could smell the scent of New Orleans, Louisiana through the screen. I love how Beyoncé is on the porch, surrounded by strong black men; her family of protectors. I love how she’s in the living room with her girlfriends, sipping tea. That’s representation of sisterhood. I love how she stands on a drowning cop car with one fist in the air. That doesn’t scream anti-police, it screams Black Lives Matter…something we’ve been screaming since Katrina when our brothas and sistahs and their babies were DROWNING. I love seeing the little black boy in the black hoodie, dancing in front of the policeman in riot gear…dancing for all the young black boys and men we’ve lost to police brutality/killings. The message “stop shooting us” spray painted on a wall were just a few words, but powerful as ever, with the boy and his hoodie. I love the scene with the sistahs in the beauty supply store. Each one of them, expressing their individuality, with colored hair, piercings, while sporting a “no fucks given” facial expression.
When she says…
“Paparazzi, catch my fly, and my cocky fresh”
“I’m so reckless when I rock my Givenchy dress (stylin’)
“I’m so possessive so I rock his Roc necklaces”
She’s not just unapologetically BLACK, She’s also unapologetically CONFIDENT, and unapologetically IN LOVE with her HUSBAND!
When she says…
“My daddy Alabama,
You mix that negro with that Creole, make a Texas bamma!
I like my baby hair, with baby hair and afros
I like my negro nose with Jackson Five nostrils!”
She’s making us aware that she is proud of her black southern, creole-ish, country biscuit and jambalaya-eaten, fresh squeezed lemonade drinkin’, thick/curly hair rockin’ background, and don’t care what y’all fools think of her, her man’s features, or her baby’s hair!
When she says…
“When he fuck me good I take his ass to Red Lobster, cause I slay”
If he hit it right, I might take him on a flight on my chopper, cause I slay”
Drop him off at the mall, let him buy some J’s, let him shop up, cause I slay”
She’s basically saying she doesn’t mind treating her man when he makes love to her the way she wants it. You can’t get any simpler than that. She’s getting the love she deserves. The middle fingers risen is for the censors and critics alike, who she knew would have something to say.
Let’s carry on
When she says…
“I see it, I want it, I stunt, yellow-bone it
I dream it, I work hard, I grind ’til I own it
I twirl on them haters, albino alligators
El Camino with the seat low, sippin’ Cuervo with no chaser
Sometimes I go off (I go off), I go hard (I go hard)
Get what’s mine (take what’s mine), I’m a star (I’m a star)
Cause I slay”
Do I really have to break this down?
This is the part of the song that gets me going! The lyrics here matches my personal hustle. After I see it, I grind ’til I own it! My entrepreneurial spirit rises like a wildfire when I listen to the chorus.
The most important part…When she says
“Okay, ladies, now let’s get in formation, cause I slay
Okay, ladies, now let’s get in formation, cause I slay
Prove to me you got some coordination, cause I slay
Slay trick, or you get eliminated”
She’s basically sayin’ to all the ladies who are workin’ hard and grinding til they own it in their own journeys without hurting others…LET’S ALL DO IT TOGETHER! Whoever doesn’t should get out of line and make room for those ladies who do. Let’s get in formation and take care of ourselves and our families. Let’s get in formation and realize that you’re capable of achieving greatness. Let’s get in formation and recognize how fierce we all truly are, despite how others feel about you!!! If I may add (and at this point, this may be just my assumption) We should all stop competing with one another. Let’s start celebrating each other’s accomplishments. When one of us win, WE ALL WIN.
In conclusion, I know how stubborn critics could be. What they believe is what they’re sticking to and to be honest…they have that right. The bottom line is we as music lovers have to educate ourselves on how art and culture come together. When we read into things too technically involving arts, it takes away the recognition the artist tries to convey artistically.
For those who’ve listened to “Formation” and only hears fashion, sex, and money. Please, listen to it again with open-mindedness and an artistic ear. “Formation” isn’t about any of that. It’s about female empowerment, black love, and an undeniable expression of black pride.
Get with the program