Black History Month Highlight
A Cry for Unity
On Saturday, February 6th, the world felt the sting of the one and only Queen Bey. Dropping her newest
music video, Beyoncé took the world by storm as she addressed various political realities and personal
assumptions. It was no coincidence the video was dropped during Black History Month, the day after
Trayvon Martin’s birthday, and the day before Sandra Bland’s birthday.
For those who have not seen the video: first, what are you doing with your life? Second, you may be
wondering how a simple music video can be making more waves than Super Bowl 50. Trust me when I
say the real winner of the Super Bowl was Beyoncé and here is why:
In beginning of the video, we see homes immersed in water, an obvious reference to the devastation that
occurred in New Orleans due to Hurricane Katrina. Paired with a quote from Messy Mya, the audience is
forced to look at the failure of the government to protect the people. This blunt reference is shown as a
catalyst for the continued injustice and murder of black lives today.
Beyoncé goes on to address the silly notion that she is part of the illuminati, a common rumor that has
surfed across the internet for years. She then takes a moment to address the origins of her parents
and herself. Within the black community, many terms were created to categorize fellow black members
based on where they lived. Beyoncé refers to herself as a Texas “bama”, which was black slang during
the Great Migration for working class blacks arriving North from the South. She uses this derogatory
term to show the discrimination she and others face within the black community.
She even goes as far defending her daughter and husband. In the video, she says “I like my baby heir
with baby hair and afros. I like my negro nose with Jackson Five nostrils.” Beyoncé is addressing that her
daughter’s afro and baby hairs is not a political statement, but a personal preference. Many have made
fun of Jay Z’s nose and Beyoncé will have no more of it. She kills two birds with one stone, saying she
likes her noses like the Jackson Five and slamming Michael Jackson for the drastic changes in his face
from when he younger.
Before calling fellow black women to unite and #slay, Beyoncé mentions a term “yellow-bone” which
refers to being a light-skinned black person. The term is used to distinguish between light-skinned black,
who were thought of as less black and “red-bone” blacks, who were dark-skinned and thought of as
The songs concludes with Beyonce asking her fellow peers to unite into a formation. This formation is a
call for women to fight for social justice and equal rights.
The beauty of the video and lyrics is how completely and unapologetically unsubtle it is. It features the N-word,
police brutality, #blacklivesmatter, hot sauce, an El Camino, and a call for change. This song has been called an
anthem for black people and anyone else looking for justice and equality.
watch the video here
By Terry Bradley