Beyoncé Addresses "Formation" Backlash

"I think the most powerful art is usually misunderstood," she says in Elle

By Francesca Bacardi Apr 05, 2016 2:47 PMTags
Beyonce, Elle U.S.Paola Kudacki for ELLE

When Beyoncé first released her music video for "Formation," the Beyhive was in absolute awe. Her fans were thrilled to have received more music from Queen Bey and the Internet was jazzed to hear about a potential new album from the star. But there was a group, however, who wasn't exactly pleased with Bey's project.

Some felt the "Crazy in Love" songstress was using her music video as a way to criticize police. The video for "Formation" shows footage of New Orleans in the wake of Hurricane Katrina and features Black Lives Matter imagery. In Elle magazine's new issue, Beyoncé addresses the backlash of her latest project.

"I mean, I'm an artist and I think the most powerful art is usually misunderstood. But anyone who perceives my message as anti-police is completely mistaken," she says in the new issue. "I have so much admiration and respect for officers and the families of officers who sacrifice themselves to keep us safe. But let's be clear: I am against police brutality and injustice. Those are two separate things." 

Paola Kudacki for ELLE U.K.

Although Beyoncé explains where she and her video were coming from, she doesn't back down in defending her art. "If celebrating my roots and culture during Black History Month made anyone uncomfortable, those feelings were there long before a video and long before me," she continues. "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."

"Formation" isn't the first time Beyoncé has used her platform to express a political message. During the Mrs. Carter Show tour, the "Single Ladies" singer had "feminist" blasted across stadium screens.

Paola Kudacki for ELLE U.K.

"I don't like or embrace any label. I don't want calling myself a feminist to make it feel like that's my one priority, over racism or sexism or anything else. I'm just exhausted by labels and tired of being boxed in," she shares. "If you believe in equal rights, the same way society allows a man to express his darkness, to express his pain, to express his sexuality, to express his opinion—I feel that women have the same rights."

Beyoncé is hoping her work will help others do what's right. "I hope I can create art that helps people heal. Art that makes people feel proud of their struggle," she admits. "Everyone experiences pain, but sometimes you need to be uncomfortable to transform."