Police supporters slam Beyoncé’s ‘race-baiting’ black rights-themed Super Bowl show

Beyonce hugs performers after performing in the half-time show during the NFL's Super Bowl 50 football game between the Carolina Panthers and the Denver Broncos in Santa Clara, California February 7, 2016. © Mike Blake
Beyoncé’s controversial and politically charged Super Bowl halftime performance of “Formation” has created a divisive response. Between anti-police-brutality sentiment and Black Panther-inspired costumes, police supporters have come out to voice protest.

Even before Beyoncé took the stage on Sunday, some were calling for a boycott of her performance. Although she has remained largely apolitical in her music and statements, the singer and Jay-Z both reportedly donated thousands of dollars to provide bail to Ferguson and Baltimore protesters. So, when Beyoncé surprised the media with her video for the song “Formation” the day before the Super Bowl, boycotting efforts were already underway.

The video features anti-police-brutality imagery, such as an African-American boy raising his arms at a row of police officers and a shot that shows graffiti declaring, “Stop shooting us.” It also pays tribute to the Black Lives Matter movement and criticizes the police response to Hurricane Katrina back in 2005.

However, that was just a primer for her powder keg Super Bowl performance.

Citing her video and decision to wear a Black Panther-inspired costume, an unnamed organizer has started an Eventbrite so that police supporters could vent their ire in front of the NFL Headquarters. The event page called her performance “a slap in the face to law enforcement,” and asks, “are you offended as an American that Beyoncé pulled her race-baiting stunt at the Superbowl [sic]?

Social media was awash with various reactions to Beyoncé Super Bowl Sunday political act, with the overwhelming majority of users admitting the show was very bold.

There is little surprise that the manner in which Beyoncé chose to express her artistic statement against police violence has been greeted with little enthusiasm by those she took a stand against. The police were supported by a number of social media users as well.

It wasn’t just social media personalities that were divided in their response to “Formation.” Slate called the video “exploitive” and “appropriation.” Jim Karygiannis, a Toronto city councilor, told the Toronto Sun to investigate ties the singer and her backup dancers might have to the Black Panther Party.

Perhaps Immigration Minister John McCallum should have her investigated first?” he said to the Sun. The singer is set to embark on a world tour and scheduled to visit Toronto on May 25.

Others felt that her message did not belong at the Super Bowl.

I think the NFL chose to allow her to make this part of their national message,” Kevin Carroll, president of the Virginia Fraternal Order of Police, told KPTV. “I think it was in poor taste.”

In commenting on the subject, Milwaukee County Sheriff David A. Clarke, who happens to be black, called The Black Panthers “a subversive hate group” and denounced the much talked-of performance.

Would that be acceptable if a band, a white band, came out in hoods and white sheets in the same sort of fashion? We would be appalled and outraged,” he said in an interview with Fox Business Live.

Former New York mayor and top cop Rudy Giuliani slammed the performance on Fox News as well, calling it an “attack” on police.

Protests at the NFL’s headquarters in New York City are set to take place on February 16th – the same day that tickets for Beyoncé’s world tour go on sale.

Meanwhile, Red Lobster has enjoyed the shout out that Beyoncé gives the restaurant in her song, seeing a 33 percent boost in sales, CNN reports.