Music star Beyoncé says that despite controversy from some quarters over her song “Formation,” she is not anti-police but simply against police brutality.
“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,” the multiple Grammy Award-winner, 34, says in the new issue of Elle magazine. “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.”
“Formation,” released Feb. 6, contains no anti-police lyrics and is an ode to celebrityhood and female empowerment. Criticism centered partly on her Super Bowl halftime-show choreography, which consciously evoked the 1960s and 1970s militant African-American organization the Black Panther Party through such iconography as black berets and black-power salutes.
The song’s video, released a day before the Super Bowl, also drew controversy for images such as Beyoncé atop a New Orleans police car slowly sinking, with her, below floodwaters; a line of police with helmets and flak jackets; and graffiti reading, “Stop shooting us.”
“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 told the magazine. “I’m proud of what we created and I’m proud to be a part of a conversation that is pushing things forward in a positive way.”