A house divided cannot stand. The “women’s vote” and the “black vote” question has the potential to seriously threaten Democrats’ chances of taking the White House, but this week the gray fog among liberals has been lifted by none other than Roger Goodell and Beyoncé.
Leave it to the National Football League to make America great again. In a brilliant comeback, it staged a provocative, politically charged halftime show perfectly timed in an election year while the country is deep in conversation about whom women should support and why black lives matter.
Goodbye forever, DeflateGate. All balls are in the air and fully pumped. Forget about Tom Brady. Forget about the Wells Report. The question now, football fans, is are you with B or are you against B?
I’m talking about the protest scheduled this week outside NFL headquarters in New York City – an anti-Beyoncé rally.
Anti-Beyoncé. How’s that for a wet blanket on your fantasy football?
Millennial goddess Beyonce performed her new song “Formation” during the Super Bowl halftime show and most baby boomers and Gen X-ers dug the moves and loved the attitude; but without closed captioning, the lyrics were drowned out by the awesome beat. The visual of the dance competed with the visceral of electricity and sexuality. It wasn’t until days later that the true meaning of the song was revealed, and timing is everything.
“Formation” is a powerful story about the spectrum of American blackness. Images of Hurricane Katrina and other figurative storms rage – injustice, poverty, hatred – pummeling black people; but in the eye of it all is beautiful, strong Beyoncé, whose confidence is so powerful it is hypnotizing, or terrifying, depending on your world view.
“Okay, ladies, now let’s get in formation” sounds like something Gloria Steinem or Madeleine Albright would say, but this lyric is straight from the mouth of the millennial Queen Bee. In her song, using her powerful voice, Beyoncé paints a word picture of the United States that is consistent with our deepest held values of culture, family, self-determination and courage – just using different hues. Her language is so raw and potent, it makes people who are used to milquetoast political prattling uncomfortable.
The angry white-guy caucus led by Rudolph Giuliani and Rep. Peter King, a Republican from Long Island, is fuming mad that its Super Sunday game was interrupted by an audacious superstar flaunting confidence and attitude during the halftime show, and they aren’t going to take it anymore! American families deserve “wholesome” entertainment while watching grown men violently crash into each other, according to New York’s former mayor.
The Super Bowl was on Feb. 7 and the New Hampshire primary was on Feb. 9, and in between, news erupted that old-school feminists Gloria Steinem and Madeline Albright were berating young women for their support of Bernie Sanders. Angst filled the hearts and minds of those feeling “Berned” for being asked to employ a gender litmus test, while others know that until there’s an app for it, we won’t have a woman president unless we vote for one.
With the battle over Beyoncé, the issue now seems black and white. The choice isn’t Clinton or Sanders for people who reject the entire GOP field of candidates. The choice is between going forward or going back.
What voters will be carrying signs protesting Beyoncé, and more importantly what candidates will take a stand? Do Donald Trump, Ted Cruz or John Kasich approve Beyoncé’s message? Or do they side with the right-wing conservatives who want public airwaves to be pearly white?
The bottom line: We need not fear that the generations coming after us aren’t awesome because they look and act different. The road ahead looks unfamiliar, but the drivers of change are steady at the wheel. We must never lose sight of our goals for a more perfect union, or lose hope or faith in generations that have come before and will govern after.
The shock of the New Hampshire primary and Donald Trump caused many to suffer a mild concussion, and rifts were created among friends, but the antidote is thinking about the anti-Beyoncé rally scheduled in New York this week and all that emanates from it. Games, money, violence, anger, resentment.
Black, white, women, men, music, power, justice, country.
The goal of progressives is to make progress, so when it comes to identity politics in America and elections, we gon’ slay, okay?
Cynthia Dill is a civil rights lawyer and former state senator. She can be contacted at: