At least a dozen supporters of Beyoncé’s Super Bowl 50 tribute to black power movements showed up Tuesday morning outside of NFL headquarters in New York City to counter a planned rally against the controversial performance, only to find they outnumbered the anti-Beyoncé protesters. The protesters were there to speak out against what they deemed as an anti-police and racist statement by the singer in her halftime appearance at the NFL's main event Feb. 7.
Beyoncé supporters held up signs that included phrases such as “Say Her Name,” a refrain that became part of the national Black Lives Matter movement protesting the police-involved death of black men and women in the U.S. There was no indication Tuesday morning that anti-Beyoncé protesters had called off their planned demonstration.
— jamilah lemieux (@JamilahLemieux) February 16, 2016
— lady nectarine (@LifeWithJRDN) February 16, 2016
— Jacky Johnson (@JackyJ) February 16, 2016
— YoungPeople of Color (@YoungPplofColor) February 16, 2016
A pro-law enforcement group that goes by the name “Proud of the Blues” last week said it was offended by Beyoncé’s performance of “Formation,” a newly released song and music video that celebrates her Southern black heritage and criticizes law enforcement in communities of color. During the halftime show, which also featured alt-rock band Coldplay and R&B singer Bruno Mars, Beyoncé and her backup dancers wore outfits that appeared to be inspired by the Black Panther Party for Self Defense, a black social justice organization prominent in the 1960 and 1970s that encouraged black community empowerment and rejected police brutality.
— Proud Of The Blues (@ProudOfTheBlues) February 16, 2016
The performance became a national news story when several pro-police organizations, including former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, and conservative media outlets began speaking out against the singer. As the backlash over the performance grew, so did support for Beyonce. A collective of women responded with a counter protest, which they dubbed the “Get In Formation: Anti-Anti Beyoncé Protest Rally.” They’ve called on black women and their allies to push back on the mischaracterizations of Beyoncé’s performance as anti-law enforcement.
“We have asked our biggest stars to get political and Bey went there,” a message on the Eventbrite page created in support of Beyoncé stated. “Don't let anyone make her powerful statement about the value of black life be overshadowed by those who don't believe that our lives matter. We are challenging the pushback that Beyoncé is facing for affirming the Black Panther Party and the anti-police violence movement. This isn't just about her.”