“…I’m so reckless when I rock my Givenchy dress…” Oh, yeah, me too, Beyoncé... What I really want to do is 'slay' like you.
Like many others this weekend I was anticipating Superbowl 50. Not for the sport, but for the entertainment. Three out of the four acts are hot, hot, hot in fashion while the fourth plays cold (lame pun, I know). The Hollywood Reporter posted that nearly 112 million viewers watched the show. Likely it was the biggest audience for any of Beyoncé, Coldplay, Gaga and Mars.
Unlike many entertainment events, the stars did not play it safe with their style. Gaga started the night and absolutely sparkled in her red custom Gucci suit and platform heels while belting the American national anthem.
Then a bunch of football happened. Meh.
As the second quarter winded down I was bouncing while waiting for the halftime show. Months before, when I heard Coldplay was booked to perform I was whelmed. Not overwhelmed or underwhelmed just totally neutral. But when I heard about Bruno Mars and Beyoncé I said to myself, “Now that’s more like it.”
I believe Bruno Mars is an undervalued both as an entertainer and his style. Both are banging. Mars and his group wore slippery slick looking black leather Versace shirts and pants finished with the iconic medusa head gold buttons. Now I don’t use this next word often but his look and dances the other night deserve it: cool. He was cool with the addition of smooth. He makes it all look really easy and damn good.
But if I’m being honest, it was all a warm-up for Queen Bey. While she wore a brand I’m not a fan of the look was most certainly nostalgic of Michael Jackson’s 1993 performance attire. Her formation ladies backed her up wearing a familiar uniform as well. Beyoncé reminded us that she takes stances. This one was political. This new song, Formation, is bolder and more pointed that her earlier work. Want proof? She dressed her party in Black Panther-esq garb and used an “X” formation in the choreography. When it comes to B, none of this was by chance. This was all a part of a carefully planned and expertly executed rollout of the latest in Beyoncé’s universe.
Step One: The Formation song and video dropped one day earlier depicting more racial themed visuals akin to the halftime show’s vibe.
Step Two: Tidal, Jay-Z’s music and entertainment platform, pledged to donate $1.5 million to Black Lives Matter and other social justice efforts. The famous couple are both speaking up and paying up.
Step Three: Superbowl performance and tour announcement.
What a formation.
The timing, of course (thanks to the relentlessly spot on Team Bey Hive), is totally in synch. Unrest for racial atrocities in the United States and even here at home has never been this loud before. Social media amplifies the outcries and helps to keep the messaging urgent and persistent. I suspect as we participate in Black History Month and await the further backlash of #OscarsSoWhite outrage Beyonce’s latest pop culture takeover will help this cause to swell.
What I admire most is that on American sports biggest night (bolstered by testosterone and male gender stereotypes aplenty) a politically-charged black woman asking her ladies to get into formation was the best play of the night.