Police Protest Outside Beyonce’s Hometown Concert
Law enforcement officers gathered outside Beyonce’s hometown concert in Houston, Texas on Saturday to protest the alleged anti-police message in her “Formation” video.
The superstar’s Formation World Tour touched down at the NRG Stadium over the weekend, but fans arriving at the venue were met by members of the Coalition Of Police And Sheriffs (COPS), who staged a demonstration nearby and shone a blue light in the direction of the arena.
The officers were among a group which had taken issue with Beyonce’s decision to spotlight the ongoing problem of police brutality in the U.S. in the emotionally-charged promo for “Formation.”
She further incensed authorities in the days after the song’s release in February, when she paid tribute to the Black Panthers movement – a revolutionary black nationalist and socialist organization in the U.S. – during her Super Bowl halftime show.
The imagery prompted members of police unions in various U.S. states to launch boycotts, threatening not to work as volunteer officers during the trek.
“Some of her performances we believe to be anti-police,” COPS demonstrator Tony Ragsdale told local TV station KHOU11.
However, not all local police forces agreed with the action.
Doug Griffith, Vice President of the Houston Police Officers Union, previously declared: “From the initial release of the video, I think it’s been blown out of proportion. I think at the end of the day most people understand (Beyonce) has no problem with law enforcement.”
Beyonce herself underlined the point when she recently spoke out about the backlash, insisting she has nothing against the police.
“I’m an artist and I think the most powerful art is usually misunderstood,” she told Elle magazine last month. “But anyone who perceives my message as anti-police is completely mistaken. I have so much admiration and respect for officers and the families of the officers who sacrifice themselves to keep us safe. But let’s be clear, I am against police brutality and injustice. Those are two separate things. If celebrating my roots and culture during Black History Month made anyone uncomfortable, those feelings were there long before a video and long before me. I’m proud of what we created and I’m proud to be part of a conversation that is pushing things forward in a positive way.”
Beyonce has since used the controversy as inspiration for her tour merchandise, with the phrase “Boycott Beyonce” emblazoned on black T-shirts and black iPhone cases sold during her shows.