When Beyoncé took the field during the Super Bowl 50 halftime show, she didn’t just leave Chris Martin and Bruno Mars in the dust with her performance of “Formation,” the first single off her forthcoming album and the video for which she’d released less than a day prior. It seems the singer’s performance, which saw her flanked by female dancers in afros and black berets in a nod to the Black Panthers, also left a bad taste in the mouths of some people who were not singing along, and instead called for a Beyoncé boycott.
A Facebook group called Proud Of The Blues (as in police departments) had taken exception with the Black Panther homage in the performance, as well as references the “Formation” video makes to the Black Lives Matter movement, i.e., a scene that features a wall with the words “Stop Shooting Us,” and a stand-off turned dance-off between armed police officers and a young black boy. The group’s anti-Black Panthers/Black Lives Matter stance gave rise to anti-Beyoncé sentiment (for her “race-baiting stunt”), which was funneled into an Eventbrite invitation to a protest that included this caveat: “That doesn’t make us racists. We disagree with the methods employed and underlying ideologies—not the skin color—of those we oppose on these issues.”
Tuesday’s protest was held at the NFL’s New York headquarters, presumably to present the organization with irrefutable proof that such spectacles would not be tolerated in the future. It was attended by several media outlets, including New York magazine, and dozens of Beyoncé supporters. All of three people heard the boycott call and showed up wearing blue (as they were instructed to) or some other raiment that showed their support of law enforcement. In their defense, the weather was bad, and that strip of Park Avenue has a lot of great lunch spots.
But as her detractors were clearly outnumbered by her fans, the Beyoncé protest turned into a Beyoncé rally. New York magazine’s reporter recounted a rather peaceful scene, which saw two of the protestors talking with reporters and fans about their differences, though their agreeability (regrettably) did not magically summon the singer herself.