Just before the Super Bowl, pop star Beyonce released a Black Lives Matter themed music video set in New Orleans called “Formation”, in which she gives the double bird to the police, among other things. Of course, this was prime fodder for MSNBC host Melissa Harris-Perry, who finds race in everything from from Star Wars to the term “hard worker.”
On her Sunday morning show, Harris-Perry brought on the perfect panel of Beyonce fans to discuss the video, which included Brittney Cooper, Rutgers University professor and Salon.com contributor; Michael Arceneaux, writer for Complex Magazine, MSNBC.com reporter Adam Howard and Dave Zirin, sports editor for the Nation.
After Harris-Perry gushed about Beyonce’s insight into police brutality, the panelists honed in on one prolonged scene where Beyonce held up two middle fingers to the camera which the panelists couldn’t get enough of.
HARRIS-PERRY: Can we talk about how long and how uncomfortable it is, how long she holds the double middle finger, right?
The MSNBC host then claimed Beyonce was saying, “F**k you” to “patriarchy” and “homophobia.” The panelists jumped in, in what seemed like a frantic attempt to outdo each other in flattery for their pop queen. But Michael Arceneaux, an openly gay writer for Complex Magazine, provided the silliest statement of them all:
“No one is as gracious and commanding at the same time with offering an f-you as Beyonce.”
Panelist Brittney Cooper jumped in agreeing, “That's right.”
Arceneaux continued in his enthusiasm for Beyonce’s politics, saying:
"I literally just want to fall out and say thank you, mother. I love her so much.”
Later on he reiterated his utter devotion:
“Like I literally want to run around and just like, thank you, mother because she makes me so happy.”
But that wasn’t even the worst of it. MSNBC reporter AdamHoward then claimed everyone owed worship to Beyonce:
“[W]hen she drops a single, everyone stops in their tracks and must bow down.”
Harris-Perry agreed, gushing some nonsense about how Beyonce “slayed” “everybody with all of her everything.”
After that embarrassing display, Arceneaux explained why Beyonce’s music video got it right and while another political song from black pop artist Kendrick Lamar, got it wrong.
ARCENEAUX: I just wanted to say, I don't like – already online I saw the comparison — like, oh, you like this, but you didn't like Kendrick Lamar's song. Kendrick Lamar's song, while it got people talking, but not necessarily for a good reason because he was essentially blaming black people for being victims of racism that is beyond their control.
Arceneaux elaborated, claiming that “white supremacy” and “institutionalized racism” causes black-on-black violence so bring black crime up only detracts from the important message of Black Lives Matter.
“Like you’re essentially [indecipherable] Black on black crime, that's a very stupid reductive way of looking at things. We need to move beyond that. That video is a celebration of every facet of blackness and a direct f-you to much of the white supremacy and institutionalized racism that causes all of that."
Later on, panelist and sports blogger Dave Zirin praised Trayvon Martin’s mother and “queer black women” for being, what he deemed, the leaders of the BLM movement. Zirin claimed that the issue did not get enough media attention and Beyonce was one of the few bringing it to the national spotlight.
Evidently Zirin hasn’t turned on his television or read a newspaper in a while. Since Michael Brown’s death in August of 2014, the media has been obsessed with racial unrest, protests and every step of the Black Lives Matter movement. The issue’s been brought up during the Grammy’s, during a NFL game, in primetime television series, even asked in one of the Democrats Debates. It doesn’t get any more mainstream than that.