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Beyoncé is shaking the formations of white fragility

15 Feb 2016

With the world still reeling in the wake of Beyoncé’s ‘Formation’, a track celebrating black womanhood and southern American culture as well as tackling the real issues of police violence towards black people, it’s no surprise that it has evoked criticism as well as overwhelming support.

Much of the criticism, however, seemed to arise from crippling cases of white fragility, which is artfully highlighted by SNL skit, ‘The Day Beyoncé Turned Black‘, where the lives of white Americans are turned upside down upon the discovery of their favourite popstar being, in fact, black.

While a piece of satire, it’s not too far off from the reactions of some white Americans who could not believe that Beyoncé and her dancers were capable of doing such a thing as openly celebrating themselves – as well as Black History Month and the Black Panther Party.

Their outrage is almost laughable. Fragile white sensibilities were shattered under the weight of disbelief that something might not be for the white population; that there was something going on in popular culture they couldn’t relate to. After being used to being the standard by which people of colour are measured against, for once, white people did not qualify, and some didn’t know how to process this except to attempt to rally others to protest and boycott Beyoncé’s audacity.

As always, black Twitter clapped back in the most resounding fashion. Never has black personhood been so openly and unapologetically placed on a pedestal, and this was neither the time nor the place for the whining of those who were put out because they couldn’t join in.

The comparisons made between the KKK and the BPP are laughable. The agenda of the former was to root out and destroy anyone who dared to be black, while the latter sought to rebuild, and foster a sense of pride. That’s what ‘Formation’ is about. Being black and proud.

You know, sometimes it’s not about fragile white sensibilities. Sometimes we’re just reminding one another that we slay.