She did it again.
Beyonce Giselle Knowles Carter, wife of Shawn, mother of Blue, sister of Solange, daughter of Celistine Ann "Tina" Beyince Lawson and Matthew Knowles, just dropped a video in the middle of your Saturday and the interwebs are ablaze. Tweets are watching, the gram has comedy memes galore, and if you're a fan of King B, your facebook and text notifications are prolly lit right NOW.
Upon first watch and listen, you might be thinking "Woah, Bey. What are you doing? Are you making light of something as serious as Katrina?" Let me help you out: she's not. As someone who watched her beloved NOLA drown 10 years ago, I will say this: I am all the way here for this offering.
Beyonce just dropped one of the Blackest videos of her career, yo. You just gotta decode it--or not even decode, you just gotta watch and listen.
First off--the song starts with a native New Orleanian, confirmed to be the late Messy Mya, speaking in native New Orleanian dialect. That's just Black as hell.
"My daddy Alabama, mama Louisiana, you mix that Negro with that Creole make a Texas Bama".
Beyonce. Just. Called. Herself. A. Bama. If that's not one of the Blackest proclamations someone can make about themselves, I don't know what is.
"I like my baby hair with baby hair and afro."
For everyone complaining about how Blue's hair is never combed...STFU. Beyonce just told y'all she ain't putting no PCJ in her daughter's head right now to please NOBODY. Blue is currently on #TeamNatural, and you will deal.
"I like my Negro nose with Jackson 5 nostrils."
To those that always postulate about Bey trying to disavow her Blackness through lightening her skin, hair, and plastic surgery, she basically just said "FOH." Also, this is the second time she sang the word Negro. #SoBlack
ProTip: white fans...don't get yourselves in trouble. That is another "N" word that's OURS now. Like old Negro spirituals. Like the United Negro College Fund. OURS. Don't be around here singing it all loud and strong. 2016 has already proven to be the year of the clapback. Don't get got.
"Made all this money but they'll never take the country out me...I got hot sauce in my bag--Swag."
As a person who carries around hot sauce in their bag on the DAILY, I feel her so hard on this (except the money part. I do not have Beyonce money by any stretch of the imagination).
I legit screamed when I heard this line, because when I moved from the south to the northeast, portable Tobasco was my saving grace. People used to try and shame me for it, but did I care? HALE NAH. This food above the Mason-Dixon is flavor deficient! I used to carry the tiny bottles, but have since upgraded to the packets. Additionally, since going over to that vegan lifestyle, she prolly needs that hot sauce more than ever. Either way, having no shame about carrying hot sauce around in your bag to flavor your food is some really Black behavior and I SUPPORT IT.
"I did not come to play with you hoes, I came to slay b!tch...I like cornbread and collard greens b!tch..."
No explanation necessary. Well, except on that last part. We're not talking about the collard greens Whole Foods tried to jack up with peanuts, or that the melanin deprived are outchea eating raw. We're talking about the cornbread and collard greens big mama/madea/mawmaw cooked every Sunday. You besta believe it. #PeakBlackness
Now let's get into some of the imagery.
This country has had a pretty consistent history with trying to oppress and eliminate Black people. From slavery to police brutality to the unresponsiveness witnessed during Katrina, America has proven that she hates the people on whose backs she was built. Beyonce knows this. Beyonce also knows she has a voice to amplify these problems artistically and creatively. She knows her power and reach, and she knows people flock to take part in any new project she drops--especially if it was unexpected.
This video, filmed and released in this way, shines a light on these problems and even people who deny these societal ills will be forced to see them.
Which is why--at least, *I* choose to believe is why--she is standing defiantly on a NOPD cruiser in the middle of flood waters, daring it to try and take her under. It's why she has a little Black boy child dancing in a hoodie in front of a line of policemen, and when he's done they're the ones with hands up in surrender.
This video is not irreverent, it's a message. It's saying "you keep trying to kill us, yet you still crave our fabulousness, so we gon twirl on that ass and show you we ain't going nowhere." It's why she repeats "I slay...We gon' slay". Her "Ok, ladies now let's get in formation" sounds more like a charge to come together and take action on these issues than a command to dance in a line. "Prove to me you got some coordination, Slay trick or you get eliminated." sounds more like "get your s#it together and be the best you can be, so that they can't stop you. If you don't, they'll kill you." And when that line of Afroed beauties kick their legs out and stomp down in a ripple, it makes you want to get down to business of waging war on everyone who denies your greatness.
At the end of the video, Beyonce allows the cop car to take her into Katrina's waters. This image is juxtaposed against another shot with her standing confidently while saying: "You know you that b!tch when you cause all this conversation...always stay gracious, best revenge is your paper." Part of me thinks this is her way of saying: "The only way you can take me down is if I allow you to do so; Therefore I'll play the game until I don't have to anymore." And with this video, she has shown she's done just that. With this song on her own Parkwood Entertainment imprint and video released on Tidal, a music platform she's part owner of, Beyonce isn't beholden to anyone's thoughts on what the impact of this song will be. She's not worried about offending shareholders and investors. She is making the music she wants, attached to the imagery she wants, in order to make people have conversations. Beyonce is not worried about losing money over standing proud in her Blackness. When you have "Black Bill Gates in the making" money and influence, you can do that sort of thing.
Come on people, now let's get in formation.
ETA: Look at this t-shirt. I TOLD y'all King B. was waging war. Available in her online store for preorder here: http://shop.beyonce.com/products/56944-slay-tee