Beyoncé reminds us it’s black history month

Cory Irwin

Leading into the Super Bowl, all of sports media’s focus was on Carolina Panther’s quarterback, Cam Newton’s antics. Some argued that Newton was an annoyance, a disgrace to the game, due to the way in which he celebrates his touchdowns – dancing and giving the football to a kid in the stands.

So the debate on race began: is the real issue that people have with Cam Newton his antics? Or is it based on race? For instance, his famed counterpart and New England Patriot’s quarterback, Tom Brady celebrates by screaming profanity and throwing the ball to the ground.

This was only the beginning of the firestorm of media attention the Super Bowl would receive on the issue of race.

During the game’s halftime show, the camera cut to a drumline, “Ladies let’s get in formation!” A woman echoes throughout the stadium, out struts Beyonce Knowles, or “Queen B,” the most powerful woman in music, performing for the most watched TV program in America.

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Beyonce performing at halftime of Super Bowl 50. Photo credit: Getty Images

Halftime of the Super Bowl featured Knowles and her dozens of black dancers, all dressed in all black uniforms, large puffy afros and black berets to symbolize the Black Panthers, a revolutionary black nationalist and socialist group from the 1960’s.

This was important, this year’s Super Bowl had a TV audience of 111.9 million TV sets tuned in for the big game.

When you add the 1.4 million computers that streamed the program, the watch-parties, and the restaurant viewership it is reasonable to estimate that between ⅓-½ of the country witnessed the Super Bowl.

Beyonce, figuratively and literally, took this stage to promote an incredibly important issue that our nation faces today. She insisted to promote and instill conversation on the equality of races through fair treatment, and moreover to indulge Black women to be proud of who they are.

This left some, like Fox News contributor and former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani, stuttering and outraged. Giuliani proceeded to appall the rest of us who weren’t already by the performance. “I thought it was really outrageous that she used it as a platform to attack police officers who are the people who protect her and protect us, and keep us alive,” Giuliani said.

Rudy Giuliani at Fox News studio.

He declared that this wasn’t “wholesome.” I struggle to comprehend exactly what he meant by “wholesome.”

Did he mean it wasn’t safe for kids? Was it not culturally acceptable for the masses? But by these definitions I can only recall Super Bowls of the past.

Was there something wholesome about the Red Hot Chilli Peppers 2014 Super Bowl performance? Because I think they would be offended to hear “wholesome” as a description of their performance. The same year Bruno Mars accompanied the group, singing lyrics based on women and sex.

Was there something wholesome, let alone entertaining, about Madonna and LMFAO singing about how they “were sexy and they knew it,” during the 2012 game?

M.I.A. flipped off the camera, and Justin Timberlake showed the world Janet Jackson’s boob during past halftime shows as well.

So, what is his definition of the word? Is it because Beyonce is embracing her black culture, and instilling empowerment to a minority group who has historically been treated as less in American society?

Giuliani offends a large portion of this country with his ignorance. Not only will he refuse to recognize the issue of corrupt police forces across the country devastating black communities, but he continues to portray it as a non-issue.

“Ninety-three percent of arrests and 85 percent of traffic stops were done to Blacks, whom only make up 67 percent of the population,” according to a report done by the Attorney General of the United States, as reported by the Wall Street Journal, in Ferguson, Missouri.

“Investigators determined that in ‘nearly every aspect of Ferguson’s law enforcement system,’ African Americans are impacted a severely disproportionate amount. The report included racist e-mails sent by police and municipal court supervisors, repeated examples of bias in law enforcement and a system that seemed built upon using arrest warrants to squeeze money out of residents,” the same report said.

Beyonce is neither a cop killer nor instigating mass violence against the police. She was promoting the Black Panthers, a group that defended themselves from a corrupt government system by using their second amendment right – something their right-winged counterparts should be proud of.

Yet Giuliani, like many others in America, continues to bash down upon the star. He declared that Beyonce is a hypocrite for using a police escort to and from the game, while she criticized the cops at halftime. But why is standing up for equality and fair treatment from police forces regardless of race, hypocritical?

Because Beyonce is a strong, and powerful voice for a generation of black Americans, who wish to finally undo the toils of an American History that includes the Ku Klux Klan, slavery, and poor treatment of Blacks since?

I have seen and heard many people recently call it “reverse racism”, and compare the Black Panthers as the black equivalent of the Ku Klux Klan.

This, is something I will gladly help you understand, There is no such thing as reverse racism. Racism is the institutionalized oppression, in our case done by the government, of one people by another due to race. There is someone in power, the racist, and someone whom is being oppressed.

Racism only functions in one direction, and only functions when a group of people is oppressed. A minority group feeling prejudices toward white people or the government is not racism – it’s simply prejudice and doesn’t function on the larger scale of social injustice.

Beyond this, the Ku Klux Klan was an organization who sought to continue racism in America through the use of fear tactics, killings, burnings and robberies. The organization committed uncountable crimes against black people for no reason other than race. That is racism.

The Black Panthers sought to protect themselves from such oppressions committed by the KKK, by corrupt police forces and from the J. Edgar Hoover led FBI, in order to help their fellow race members reach the height of equality that they merely strived for.

Black women in particular, lack strong role models who aren’t forced to portray themselves with white characteristics. Black women can’t show up to a formal function with braids, or an afro – “straighten your hair” is all they’ll hear from society.

Beyonce has received media flack for not brushing Blue’s hair, in essence they were mad that Beyonce didn’t force her child to have straight hair like a white baby.

Beyonce is out to change that culture. Her song “Formation” debuted a day before the Super Bowl and declares many black physical attributes that she is proud of. We’re taught to not shame people for the way they are and she argues that this is not different for the way a different race looks either.

February, while still a little known fact to most Americans, is Black History Month. It is a time designed to level the playing field. All our lives we only hear the negatives of black culture, but this month is designed to hear the history behind the heroes.

We should be celebrating the lives of Frederick Douglas, Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X. This month serves as a reminder that we may one day come to a mutual understanding of each other and each other’s history, so that one day race isn’t a disparaging thing.

Beyonce wanted to remind America, while the Super Bowl is entertaining, February is Black History Month. And there are some things we need to discuss.

This was written by a college-aged, white, middle-class, liberal male who doesn’t own a single Beyonce album. Thank you for reading.