Beyoncé on 'Formation': 'Anyone Who Perceives My Message as Anti-Police Is Completely Mistaken'

Illustration for article titled Beyoncé on 'Formation': 'Anyone Who Perceives My Message as Anti-Police Is Completely Mistaken'

In her mucho hyped Elle interview released online Tuesday, Beyoncé discusses her “Formation” video and the overblown anti-police controversy that surrounded it, as well as feminism and, of course, her new clothing line Ivy Park.

In February, various national police unions voiced support of a boycott of Beyoncé’s world tour due to her Black Lives Matter-themed Super Bowl performance and footage in her music video “Formation,” which includes a New Orleans police car submerged in water, a black boy in a hoodie dancing in front of a line of armed police officers, and a graffitied wall reading “Stop Shooting Us.”

Anyone with a lick of sense would see that Beyoncé’s commentary was less a pointed criticism towards police in general and more of an indictment on a culture and system that allows unarmed black people to be murdered en masse, with very few consequences for their murderers. And yet...


In a copy of the Elle interview screengrabbed by the Beyoncé fan twitter account The BeyHive before it was put online, the musician responds to the criticism, saying, “I think the most powerful art is usually misunderstood. But anyone who perceives my message as anti-police is completely mistaken.”

She continues:

I have so much admiration and respect for officers and the families of officers who sacrifice themselves to keep us safe. But let’s be clear: I am against police brutality and injustice. Those are two separate things. If celebrating my roots and culture during Black History Month made anyone uncomfortable, those feelings were there long before a video and long before me. I’m proud of what we created and I’m proud to be part of a conversation that is pushing things forward in a positive way.

(Emphasis mine.)

While that beautifully crafted statement is still echoing around your brain, let’s head over to Lainey Gossip, where Elaine Lui has a very solid theory as to how Elle managed to score this very rare Beyoncé interview. Turns out, it’s probably just boring old nepotism—Tamar Gottesman, writer of the Elle profile, is the daughter of billionaire hedge fund manager Noam Gottesman, good friend of Beyoncé and Jay Z.


But that didn’t necessarily mean that Elle would get the authentic celebrity dirt. As Lui points out:

The excerpts right now are just three questions and three straight up answers. You know how you’ll read a VOGUE profile or an Esquire feature or whatever and the writer’s exposition will include details about how and when s/he met with the subject and observations about how the subject behaved in the car, etc?

...This is not the same as an interview where it’s simply question and answer. Because if it’s just question and answer, it could have happened over email.


The actual rest of the interview is more interesting than speculated, but hardly groundbreaking, though it does appear that Gottesman met Beyoncé in person. Beyoncé says she pitched Ivy Park to the CEO of Top Shop, noting that “he was pretty blown away” with her vision. On what makes her clothes different:

I was so specific about the things I feel I need in a garment as a curvy woman, and just as a woman in general, so you feel safe and covered but also sexy. Everything lifts and sucks in your waist and enhances the female form.


She also discusses how being in Destiny’s Child empowered her, due to the fact that Columbia Records “underestimated” the group, allowing them to do whatever they wanted, and explains that she included the definition of the word feminist in “Flawless” “to give clarity to the true meaning.”

Working to make those inequalities go away is being a feminist, but more importantly, it makes me a humanist. I don’t like or embrace any label. I don’t want calling myself a feminist to make it feel like that’s my one priority, over racism or sexism or anything else. I’m just exhausted by labels and tired of being boxed in. If you believe in equal rights, the same way society allows a man to express his darkness, to express his pain, to express his sexuality, to express his opinion—I feel that women have the same rights.


Lastly, Elle reminds us that, as rumored, “Beyoncé will soon be delivering to the world a cadre of young artists whose sound and image she has personally groomed and fostered” through her company Parkwood Entertainment. So get ready for that.

Image via Elle.

Managing Editor, Jezebel

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If celebrating my roots and culture during Black History Month made anyone uncomfortable, those feelings were there long before a video and long before me.

i’m looking at YOU, #alllivesmatter-but-i’m-not-racist facebook friend!