Beyoncé backlash

William T. Robinson, Jr.

William T. Robinson, Jr.

It appears that the halftime performance by Beyonce’ during the 2016 Super Bowl honoring the Black Panther Party’s 50th anniversary has caused a backlash in some law enforcement agencies. We are referring to a performance, which for the most part received rave reviews until some law enforcing agencies dissected it and interpreted it as a direct message advocating hate, harm, or a call to kill police officers.

Many viewers, especially African Americans, saw the performance as entertainment, a tasteful exhibition of freedom of expression, and saw no message to hurt anyone. If any negative interpretation was warranted, it was that Black lives matter and that some law enforcement agencies should revisit their policies and practices when it comes to enforcing laws and practices involving individuals (especially African Americans). It is a real pending issue and it needs to maintain national attention until some crucial changes are made especially, when it comes to law officials using extreme measures (shooting a person multiple times when it is deemed unnecessary). It is nothing short of abusive use of power and authority that has a propensity to be disproportionally targeted toward people of color.

Beyoncé used a national venue to entertain and get out the message of social relevance. Many people see this as commendable because they don’t feel enough rappers or entertainers do enough to call attention to social, political, and economic ills oppressive to the common public. Some call bringing attention to social issues as ‘entertaining with a purpose’ by highlighting profound topics–not merely entertaining as a smokescreen to make people impervious to their reality. Many people hailed Beyonce’ for showing that she cares and is aware of the social injustices that are occurring among African Americans. If nothing more, it caused more people to discuss and confront the issue that Black lives matter.

Why would you suggest Beyonce’s creative expression honoring the 50th anniversary of the Panther Party as a way of making people more apt to kill law officers when you have numerous movies and TV shows daily advocating violence toward law enforcement officers or agencies? In fact, some people find it stereotypical and racist that some people think most Blacks automatically want to reciprocate with heinous and brutal activities, whenever African Americans are shown being abused unjustly by White law enforcing officers.

It shouldn’t be seen in a negative when African Americansand their supporters show interest in their predicament by marching, advocating for departmental changes, transparency, and for holding people accountable. Civil disobedience with no violence is not a crime. Those interested in provoking violence are discouraged and prohibited from participation by groups especially Black groups advocating for social, political and economic change.

I guess the real issue for some predominately White law enforcing agencies harboring hostility and boycotted Beyoncé concerts (discouraging off duty policemen not to volunteer to work her concerts) was her method of using the Black Panther Party as a platform. The Black Panther Party is historically portrayed as an anti-establishment revolutionary group with a history of killing policemen whom they saw as enemies. Could it be that were just protecting themselves from corrupt police who were unduly killing, harassing, and oppressing them? In fact, most Blacks (90% by polls at the time) proudly looked upon the Black Panther party as a self-organized group protecting their communities against racist and oppressive law enforcing officers at the time. Right or wrong, is it so difficult to believe African American are tired of being victimized and killed, provoked to seek self-empowerment when the system that’s supposed to help and protect them is oppressive? But it just doesn’t make sense to kill police officers or anyone for no reason.

It goes without saying that our law enforcing officers put their lives on the line daily to protect and serve the public and should be commended. Most people (both Black and White) respect and support policemen. But let’s not be blind that there exist racist and out of control policemen using their power and authority to harm and even kill people. For the most part, it is often covered up. This has historically been accepted in many cases and it is corrupt officers in the departments that make it bad for their peers. There are some bad policemen with discriminatory practices–and laws that disproportionately target people of color. A great number of Americans see this as a systemic problem and are demanding radical changes. Using Beyoncé as a backlash is not the answer.