Super Bowl is one of the most watched events on television in America. Yet, when fans and the media discuss Super Bowl 50, the conversation isn’t about how the game went or how the athletes played.
Instead, much of the talk centers on Beyoncé’s performance, which without a doubt carried strong Black empowerment symbols. These included paying homage to not just the Black Lives Matter campaign and Malcolm X, but also the Black Panther Party.
As a result, many viewers labelled the performance “controversial”, and the most politically-charged statement ever made at the Super Bowl. Former politician, Rudy Giuliani, was outraged by the performance and called it “anti-police”.
Music fans across the world – even some (now) former fans of Beyoncé – were equally enraged and branded the musician a racist. This has led to anti-Beyoncé protests planned across the country, and the call for the boycotting of her music.
Beyoncé’s performance comes on the verge of serious racial tension in America between Caucasians and virtually everybody else – especially Blacks, Muslims, and Mexicans.
Five occurrences in the past year have driven this tension to near breaking point. These include the Black Lives Matter campaign, the refugee crisis in Europe, the Paris attacks, the Oscar nominations, and some politicians’ uncanny ability to successfully wield racist and xenophobic rhetoric.
Beyoncé likely meant well by her performance, and only hoped to further educate the nation of the complete polar opposite life lived by Black men and women in America; especially those in poorer communities. However, the truth is: America has already gotten the point. The question is: what are we going to do about it, now?
Creating a Rift
This over-emphasis on the problem and little talk of the solution only further exacerbates the problem by creating a racial divide. As more videos surface and celebrities take the forefront of the new and evolving Black movement, it begins to pit both sides against each other – Caucasians versus not just Blacks, but all racial minorities.
The new Black Empowerment Movement has given Black Americans a voice on a scale they did not have – or use – it before. But now that we have gotten the world’s attention, what do we have to say? More of the same?
If it is inclusion we want, then it is time to say so and to act on it. To only continue to repeat all the injustices we have suffered just pits one side against the other, and creates no room for real reparations.
At some point, Black people need to decide if we’re asking to be seen and to have our issues seen, or if we want actual equality and inclusion. Do we only want to stir other Black people to rise against racial biases, or do we want everyone to work together peacefully to achieve equality?
We cannot have it both ways. There will never be peace by pointing fingers, or buying one side a one-way ticket for a guilt trip.
“Wars” are Won by Making more Allies, not Enemies
Of course, as Blacks we want everyone to see our struggle. They need to.
But this often causes one side to blame the other for the situation. Too much of that generalizes another race of people, when so many of them are actually trying to help.
When Jada Pinkett decided to boycott the Oscars on account of their lack of inclusion, George Clooney rose to her defense and agreed that the Academy needed to make a change.
Even Ian McKellen stepped forward not only to agree, but to shed light on a bigger issue – the fact that all minorities have suffered some form of non-inclusion at the Oscars.
As an openly gay man he pointed out that no openly gay actor has ever received an Oscar– not even him. Not even after his exceptional performance as Gandalf, which is one of the most loved characters in a movie that practically gained a cult following.
If the Black Movement and others like it are to create a change, then we need to do more than just point out the problems, by also providing solutions. We need to do more than lay the blame at other people’s feet, by also working with them to make a mutual change.
This is true of not just the Black movement, but LGBTQ rights, feminism, and any other group looking to uplift the oppressed.
Now that we’ve all taken a stand for one side or the other, it’s time to take steps to bring us closer to the goals we have in mind.
Despite playing an involuntary role in the perpetuation of some racist ideologies on account of the Paris attacks, it was the French who got it right more than 200 years ago when they fought for “Liberty, Equality, Fraternity” – for all.
We should aim to achieve the very same goal, after waging such an intense revolutionary war in the media.
Beyonce’s photo, courtesy of Tony Duran
Originally Titled: Why Beyoncé’s Super Bowl 50 Performance Solves Nothing
10 thoughts on “Liberty – Equality – Fraternity”
And what you said, “And what I have seen on my facebook timeline, on Twitter, and on TV is just a continuous pointing of fingers, and not enough focus on a solution.” is just my point. The media is the epitome of false propaganda to what ever will gain ratings. Much power and knowledge gain on our own accord is found in being of part of those organization that are striving to bring together peaceful equality. We need to start fact checking what the media propagates instead of going on it’s “gospel truth” of “good news”. I understand your point of view but when you seem to be apart of the Black community that points fingers when you said, “If the Black Movement and others like it are to create a change, then we need to do more than just point out the problems, by also providing solutions. We need to do more than lay the blame at other people’s feet, by also working with them to make a mutual change.” I would have like to see what your opinion about that change could/needs be.
The media I referred to was just not made up of what organizations and network put forward, but what people have put forward in large numbers.
Regardless of what leaders plan to put in place if they cannot inspire people to follow their lead, the movement will manifest into something else and it has.
If Black people in America want to see a change, it needs to start internally. If people want less violence against them, they should set an example by having less violence towards each other. Social scientists are still trying to figure out why Black people love to kill each other so much. It happens here in America, and it happens in my home country (I am not American, as I have said on my blog countless times).
Until we learn to respect ourselves, I don’t see how anyone can demand respect from others. And I don’t see why learning to start a change and revolution from within needs to involve blaming other people so much for where we are today.
In any case, we can agree to disagree. I wanted to make a point specifically of how Beyonce’s performance contributes to the movement – and you have gone off topic.
Thanks again for dropping by and contributing to the discussion. Enjoy the Valentine’s weekend! 😉
You obviously have more of a primary insight into the hardships and injustices faced by the black community in the States than I do. I absolutely agree that steps toward progress and change need to be defined and set into place now that people are being exposed to the problem in the media, on social media, and in their everyday lives. I do think it is also important to make sure that the groups being wronged and the people doing the wronging are exposed so that we know what needs to be changed. The actual process of change does indeed require communication and as united of a front we can manage to form together. There is a need to be seen and heard, but as you said, the act of change is the next big piece to ending the racially and religiously intolerant nation we live in. I think it’s admirable that you are talking about such an important issue that many people refrain from engaging in for the fear that others will disagree. Keep it up!
Yes, the African American community has definitely not been pleased with me for this article, but it needed to be said. Thanks for keeping an open mind and for giving it a read.
I have a unique perspective on the issue, because I am treated as an African American, but I’m not. I’m not American. I’m a Caribbean woman (originally from Jamaica) who’s been visiting for 17 years, and recently migrated (resident, not citizen) to be with my husband. As a result, I get to have an unbiased perspective as both a participant and an outside observer. Because my husband is White, it also means we are constantly in the middle of race relations in America.
In Jamaica, race is nowhere near as important. We don’t have African Jamaicans or anything like that. You would never hear that in the news. You’re either Jamaican or not. Our minorities do not wage wars in the media for representation, and for the most part we all get along pretty great.
Being in America has been a racial nightmare. It makes me miss home. There’s a reason Jamaica’s national motto is, “Out of many – ONE PEOPLE”. America has a lot to learn…
Thanks again for dropping by and for commenting. Looking forward to speaking with you again!
Your post states the obvious of what we already know. The United States was built on racist practices, division, separation. African Americans are tired of it and so they want to be both seen and heard. But one can’t be heard or seen if you are not open minded and if you are unwilling to open your eyes and ears. The black community is not placing blame, pointing fingers. If you do your research they are doing more than just talking there are a bunch of programs/ organizations out there that are trying to make a difference. We live in a society that for one to formulate a thought they gain their opinion on news outlets and social media. If people with your opinion stop talking about it and actually seek out those organizations they to can be a answer to help combat racial inequality in the United States of America!
I have done my research and lived within its context. But a movement will be judged by its masses, and not its leaders, contrary to popular opinion. And what I have seen on my facebook timeline, on Twitter, and on TV is just a continuous pointing of fingers, and not enough focus on a solution.
This is an opinionated piece, and you are entitled to your opinion and your perspective.
I just don’t believe that Beyonce’s performance really furthers a positive change. There are more than one ways to skin a cat. I just don’t think this was a very good one.
Thanks for reading and commenting.