Beyoncé crouches on the hood of a police car halfway submerged in flood water that extends to the horizon, an image intended to recreate the devastation in New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina. This is the opening shot of the “Formation” music video. While much of the settings in and around New Orleans have focused on “the curse” and its history, this image places “the curse” in more present day context.
A closeup of Beyoncé leaning on her side atop the police car, delivering the opening refrain.
Left, the paparazzi overwhelm the frame in number and with flash photography, followed by footage of a bounce dancer performing in a mirror and Beyoncé commandingly posed on the car over the lines “…catch my fly and my cocky fresh” (right). This shows Beyoncé in control of her narrative in the face of the public gaze.
Left, Beyoncé rocking back and forth in unison with a troupe of female dancers in an ornate plantation house hallway; right, a French Renaissance style painting of regal Black women which, according to director Melina Matsoukas, was added to “Blackify” the mansion.
Beyoncé’s daughter Blue Ivy (center), with her hair in an Afro, poses with a smirk and a hand on her hip alongside two other young Black girls in white dresses. Portraying Blue Ivy proudly rocking her Afro affirms her daughter just as she is in the face of public scrutiny of her natural hair, deemed by some “unruly” for a child from a family of such wealth and status.Continue reading “Formation”