In what might be one of the best SNL skits to come out recently , the prove featured a parody of what happened when Beyonc dropped her newest hitting Formation and white people realized that their favorite guilty pleasure is( gasp !) black. Through a horror film-esque movie trailer titled, The Day Beyonce Turned Black, the sketch exaggerated white Americas shocked reaction to a video that promoted Black Lives Matter, highlighted the neglect of the government during Hurricane Katrina, and encouraged black people to embrace their afros and Jackson 5 nostrils.
Maybe this song isnt for us, SNL comedian Bobby Moynihan said, to which castmate Cecily Strong retorts: BUT USUALLY EVERYTHING IS!
What’s funny is that the magnified responses the depict depicted arent that far off from how a lot of white people reacted to Beyonces video. When the Grammy-award winning vocalists new ballad dropped, I heard everything from light criticism to people threatening to boycott the Super Bowl.
Keep in mind, all this hoopla was simply over a catchy anthem that uplifts black people, particularly black females. But what I believe SNL was truly trying to convey was that many white people are OK with artists when they’re blackbut not too black .
Beyonce wasnt the only target in the skit. Scandal star Kerry Washingtons race is also questioned, because shes on ABC, yet a guy portrayed like a thug on the street is obviously black. SNL cast member Kenan Thompson even jokes that Beyonc was white in The Pink Panther movie, but wasnt in her hitting song Single Ladies.
What I believe SNL was actually trying to convey was that many white people are OK with artists when they’re blackbut not too black .
The argumentheld by many white, and even black peoplethat certain actions or characteristics can affect how people view a persons race and ethnicity is fairly warped. Whats even worse is the fact that people of all colours are just now devoting Beyonc credit for being a black artist.
Fans idolize Beyonce for her hit sungs. However, the second she reminds everyone that she’s not only a successful female, but she’s a successful black female, everyone loses their damn mind. When Queen B, a Houston native, debuts her own brand of social activism and wears her black pride on her sleeve , currently being an issue.
The dichotomy of how white people treated Beyonce before versus after Formation is something I discovered very interesting, although Im not amazed that a song with strong overtones of black and female empowerment didnt sit too well with some people. I suppose the main takeaway of the SNL skit was that white America is unsure of what to do when black people take control of their tales and tell them on their own terms.
Were in a period where we have powerful black artists, such as Beyonce, Kendrick Lamar , and Rihanna who arent afraid to voice the truth about how they feel black people are treated and portrayed not only by police, but by white America at large.
Let’s be clear, black people want something they can call their own without white America controlling or appropriating it. For Beyonce, Formation was the one space where she could unapologetically be herself. The reaction from white viewers, particularly white conservatives, on her anthem, music video, and festivity of black lives is proof that theres an expectation that black artists have to cater to white expectations and white feelings.
If youre someone who was uncomfortable with Beys new song because you didnt feel like you could relate to it, I hate to break it to you, but that was kind of the point.
If youre someone who was uncomfortable with Beys new ballad because you didnt feel like you could relate to it, I hate to break it to you, but that was kind of the phase .
As weird and surprising as this may sound, this song wasnt meant to uplift white people because they werent the intended audience. Formation wasnt induced solely to educate white people or to garnish some sort of pity for #BlackLivesMatter. Instead, the anthem is a celebration of something that many white people have a hard time relating to, something SNL provoked quite beautifully.
White people can like Beyonce and her anthem and her image without freaking out that a black female is unashamed to let the world know she is black, woke, and unashamed. Comedy skits such as SNL have the potential to ten-strike a nerve and highlight some uncomfortable truths. But does that mean we should critique what in the end is just a music video and slapstick skit? Or, should we instead listen and gain insight into issues we may not be familiar with?
While many people, includingFox News, seem to think Beyonce overstepped some sort of invisible bound or delivered an offensive Super Bowl performance and music video, what they need to realize is that not everything is meant for white-only consumptionespecially this song.
Alexandra Samuels is a third-year journalism major at the University of Texas at Austin. She is a breaking news correspondent for USA Today College. She enjoys debates on race, politics, sexuality, and Chance the Rapper. Follow her on Twitter @AlexSamuelsx5 .
Photo viahotgossipitalia/ Flickr( CC BY 2.0) | Remix by Fernando Alfonso III