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