While it was always obvious that Beyonce was destined for greatness, there was an obvious shift in her career a couple years ago that sent her down the path to properly cement this. Ahead of her show stopping 2013 Super Bowl set, she severed ties with her father Mathew Knowles. It seem almost immediately that her moves became bigger, her releases more intentional, and her brand more unapologetically black.
With her cultural influences at an all time high, Beyonce decided to refocus her image on her heritage as a black woman of creole decent in a series of albums and performances throughout the 2010’s.
Arguably the biggest indicator of this was when she joined Coldplay and Bruno Mars for the 2016 Super Bowl halftime show. Dressed in an outfit that paid homage to the iconic Black Panther Party, she performed “Formation”, a record about taking pride in her culture and being unapologetically black. She also made references to police brutality and paid homage to Malcom X.
SNL did a sketch about the branding shift immediately after the perfomance. Titled “The Day Beyonce Turned Black”. In the horror movie preview parody, SNL cast members freak out as they realize Beyonce is black. While listening to formation, a white actor got up from his desk shocked saying “this song isn’t for us?” with another proclaiming, “BUT EVERYTHING IS FOR US!”
Shocked fans quickly organized Anti-Beyonce Rallies following the Super Bowl Halftime show.
In an Eventbrite post about the rally, they said “Are you offended as an American that Beyoncé pulled her race-baiting stunt at the Super Bowl? Do you agree that it was a slap in the face to law enforcement? Do you agree that the Black Panthers was/is a hate group which should not be glorified? Come and let’s stand together!”
In the time since the Super Bowl performance, Bey has not backed down. She went on to release a self-titled visual album which she followed up with “Lemonade”. Both films were filled with images representing black history and culture throughout the ages. During her Coachella performance, she took the opportunity to celebrate Historically Black Colleges and Universities in a Homecoming inspired set.
While these are some of the moments that will go on to define her career, father Mathew Knowles argues that Beyonce actually lost the day she decided to shift her branding.
Speaking with the Jasmine Brand he said “You know, when she did the halftime years ago in San Francisco and did the Black power, and the Black, whole, movement, you know she paid a dear price for that,” He also described his daughter as being “unapologetically Black.”
He went on to say that not only did she lose money, but support from fans as well.
“She lost some of her endorsements, she lost a lot of her white fans, a lot of her white fans. And I don’t think her Black fans understand it, I don’t think Black people in general, and not just for Beyoncé or Solange,” he expounded. “I don’t think Black people know, we see these leaders the price that they pay, and sometimes it’s their life.”