Beyoncé Makes the Should-Be-Obvious Distinction Between “Anti-Police” and “Anti-Police Brutality”


Beyoncé’s “Formation” arrived during Black History Month amidst a continuing history of American police brutality aimed particularly at the country’s black population. She took this on with a song/video that celebrated southern, black American culture as a shield against the powers that try to bring it down. Yet the responses of some oversensitive white people would have made you think the video was a graphic depiction of retaliatory violence, rather than… a graphic depiction of really spectacular dancing. It seems some feared the weaponization of the “hot sauce in [Beyoncé’s] bag,” and called the song “anti-police” and spun it as a racial polemic against white people.

A pop star certainly doesn’t need to grace such inanity with a response, but in ELLE Magazine, Beyoncé did, and, hey, it makes the obvious point people should have understood from the beginning — that an indictment of police brutality isn’t an indictment of the police. She said:

Anyone who perceives my message as anti-police is completely mistaken…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 a part of a conversation that is pushing things forward in a positive way.

It’s a bit of a shame Beyoncé felt she needed to add the disclaimer to her protest of police brutality, but this at least underscores the distinction between two things people conveniently conflated. The interview marks the first time Beyoncé has spoken with the press in years. Read the full feature at ELLE.