If you haven’t watched Beyoncé’s video for “Formation” — dropped yesterday, as a surprise, 24 hours before she headlines the Super Bowl halftime show — you need to. Consider it your pop music civic duty, only it’s way more fun than voting.
The song is very good — a darker, more aggressive take on the lean swagger she’s flaunted before in songs like “7/11” and “Partition” — but the video… goddamn. In the very first shot, Beyoncé stands defiantly on top of a New Orleans police car half-submerged in a flooded cityscape. Before the end of the first verse, she’s dropped the lines:
I like my baby hair with baby hair and afros
I like my negro nose with Jackson Five nostrils
Earned all this money but they never take the country out me
I got a hot sauce in my bag, swag
The entire thing is one of the most uncompromising, important statements of pride from a major black artist we’ve heard in… forever? It’s “Black Skinhead” from the mouth of our preeminent pop idol. And if the thought of Beyoncé’s Yeezus doesn’t make you quiver with anticipation, that’s your loss.