A halftime show with meaning

Beyonce performing during the halftime show Sunday.

Kelsey Bundra


The Super Bowl is arguably the most popular sporting event in the U.S. The halftime show is seen as one of the most memorable entertainment production that will takes place all year. Coldplay, Beyonce and Bruno Mars took over the halftime show at Super Bowl 50.

There have been mixed reviews on the performance. Most of the buzz has been over Beyonce’s performance. Some have praised Beyonce for bringing the Black Lives Matter movement to the mainstream. The Black Lives Matter movement is a campaign against violence towards black people. Others have voiced their negative feelings towards the discussion of the Black Lives Matter movement stating that it was brought to stage at an inappropriate time. People felt the Super Bowl was not the right time to voice these issues, creating a backlash, and a #BoycottBeyonce hashtag.

Beyonce performing during the halftime show Sunday.
Beyonce performing during the halftime show Sunday.

Beyonce pulled her signature move and released her single, “Formation”, with no warning a day before her Super Bowl performance. The music video is filled with empowering imagery featuring her daughter, Blue Ivy, with her hair in an afro. She makes reference to it with the lyrics:  “I like my baby hair, with baby hair and afros.” When it comes to physical appearance, Beyonce spins what it is typically seen as an “ugly” feature that black people have into a positive.  An example of this is the lyric “I like my Negro nose with Jackson Five nostrils.” Some of the video’s most powerful imagery can be seen when Beyonce is on top of a police car that is submerged in canal, presumably in Louisiana. This references Hurricane Katrina, an important page in African American history. Hurricane Katrina devastated mainly black communities in New Orleans.

“Formation” was then performed during the halftime show with a similar message. Beyonce shared the stage with all black, female backup dancers. These backup dancers were adorned in Black Panther-esque outfits. There were no explicit symbols of Beyonce supporting the Black Lives Matter movement, yet it was hinted at.

Commentators have called the performance “outrageous.” Other critics of the performance said that it was inappropriate to bring up such a serious subject during the Super Bowl. Does highlighting these issues this take away from the main event? I believe it just adds another facet to sporting events.

I applaud Beyonce for introducing these ideas to a larger, mainstream audience that may have not seen this content otherwise. The audience that is most likely being reached, needs to be reached. Artists like Beyonce are hired to entertain audiences, even if that audience is filled with football fans. Beyonce took this chance to use her position of power to promote issues that need to be talked about.