Opinion: Beyonce’s new song sparks controversy


Beyonce took the field on Super Bowl Sunday, and according to social media, there were penalties on the play and people are not happy.

With the drop of her new song “Formation” on Feb. 6 and her Super Bowl performance the next day, Beyonce is using time to her advantage. It is clear she has a message she wants to be heard, but it seems people are only looking at half of the story.

The cast of Saturday Night Live performed a skit that mocked reactions of both Beyonce’s new song and her performance at the Super Bowl.

“For white people, it was just another great week,” the skit said. “They never saw it coming. They had no warning. Then, the day before the Super Bowl, it happened.”

Although the skit has some humor, I think it brings up a good point. Many people are taking offense to the message Beyonce was sending, and some with good reason. It seems, however, that people are missing the other messages hidden behind the catchy song and fierce outfit.

Even though the “Black Lives Matter” message is more clearly shown in the song and in the performance, there are more subtle acknowledgements of other societal injustices, such as police brutality, disproving stereotypes and feminism.

The SNL skit shows white people leaving the country in masses after they realize Beyonce is black, and a joke about a child asking her mom if Taylor Swift is still white.

The skit alludes to the one problem with this whole controversy. Yes, Beyonce is a public figure and maybe she should be careful with the way she expresses her opinions because she is a role model for so many people. But on the other hand, she is human and has the right to freedom of expression just like you and me.

Do I think she went a little overboard? Definitely. Does that mean she should not have done it? That is not for me to say.

The biggest problem I see is not whether it was okay for Beyonce to express her feelings about what she believes is wrong with society. The problem I see is people’s inability to differentiate between having an opinion and doing something about it versus having an opinion and making something of it.

Let me explain.

“So if the Black Lives Matter movement really wants to make a difference, they should pour the medicine directly on the wound,” Michael Palladino, president of the Detectives’ Endowment Association, said in the New York Daily News article “NYPD detectives union head blasts Beyonce’s Super Bowl 50 halftime show performance.” “Get into the ghetto, the ’hood. Get to the bottom of why people of color prey on other people of color in their own neighborhoods.”

Though this is very bluntly put, it holds some truth. If a person has a problem with what is going on in society, then the best way to change it is to take the initiative to go figure out why it is happening and then figure out how it can be changed.

This may be naïve of me, but it seems that rather than doing something about a problem, it has become the norm in our society to see who can make a bigger spectacle of the problem rather than be willing to actually go out and fix it.

I agree that the first step to this is acknowledgement, but the second step, which is so often skipped, is following through and finding a solution.

It is people like Beyonce, who has so much power and influence in today’s society, who have the ability to make a change with help from their followers.

“(Beyonce) is a woman who understands her own power, how to harness and magnetize us to it,” Wesley Morris said in The New York Times article, “Beyonce in ‘Formation’: Entertainer, Activist, Both?”

I think Beyonce took things a little far, but we need to stop acting like it is the end of the world when someone wants to criticize something about society.

So, if you don’t agree with Beyonce, then the first step is acknowledging it. Now, it is your choice if you are going to skip the second step or if you are going to take action and change the status quo, or sit back and do nothing. The choice is yours.

Hi world! I'm Kaitlyn Cotton. I'm a junior studying English with hopes of going to law school one day. I spend my days writing, reading and working for the Collegian. I have had articles published in the Kansas City Star, the Collegian, and most importantly- my parent's refrigerator.