The Formation to Lemonade
“You that bitch when you cause all this conversation”
It all started on a Saturday. February 6 to be exact. The day before Super Bowl 50.
Without warning, Beyoncé unleashed a strike on the world in the form a brand new song and video titled “Formation.” Released exclusively through TIDAL, in the surprise launch style she first popularized with her 2013 self-titled visual album, the instant hit dropped from the sky.
Thumping with the bounce beat of New Orleans hip-hop, the Mike Will Made It-produced song features Bey singing, almost growling, about Southern heritage, identity, self love and hot sauce, on top of a whole lotta swaggering and slaying. In case you were worried that the global superstardom had forgotten where she came from, the confident Queen assures: “Earned all this money but they never take the country out me.”
Backed by such powerful visuals as plantation houses and a sinking police cruiser in a flooded post-Katrina landscape, Beyoncé delivered the heaviest, most politically saturated expression of her career to date, alluding to police brutality, gender, culture, class, history and the greater black experience in today’s America.
“I like my baby heir with baby hair and afros
I like my negro nose with Jackson Five nostrils”
One day later, alongside Coldplay and Bruno Mars, Beyoncé performed at the Super Bowl 50 Halftime Show, a return after her triumphant 2013 halftime show in the New Orleans Superdome at Super Bowl XLVII.
In a throwback medley opposite Bruno Mars and the boys, Bey and her troupe of dancers, dressed in homage to the Black Panthers, stomped and strutted lines from “Formation” before joining the boys for a feel-good “Uptown Funk” dance-off that left the whole world reeling in a stupefied awe.
In a move only the biggest pop star on the planet could pull off, Beyoncé had just debuted her brand new song to the largest television audience of the year (the third largest of all time) and unequivocally stole the show.
If the powerful “Formation” addressed sensitive subjects, Beyoncé brought it to America’s living room, spurring an effervescent fervor of admiration, acclaim and even some controversy.
Such comes with her mighty position at the pinnacle of pop culture. Her every move creates a conversation, swiftly followed by memes, cerebral roundtables and, in the case of “Formation,” a 33% sales boost at Red Lobster. And make no mistake, she knows exactly the frenzy she creates in her wake. Meanwhile, the ever-regal Queen B carries on unaffected, working in her own lane, speaking more through her actions and art than her words. And in that way she’s been anything but quiet since the Super Bowl.
“I see it, I want it, I stunt, yellow-bone it
I dream it, I work hard, I grind ’til I own it
I twirl on them haters”
Kicking off this coming Wednesday, April 27, and announced immediately after the halftime performance, Beyoncé’s Formation World Tour – the first ever all-stadium tour by a female artist – sold out immediately in numerous American and European cities. And there’s her brand new Ivy Park activewear collection, which launched just this week and, not unlike her tour, is already selling out items and entire stores.
Of course, we’d be remiss not to mention TIDAL’s humble role in the recent Beyoncé chronicle. A true emblem for what we stand for, Beyoncé embodies TIDAL’s guiding values of creativity and expression, philanthropy and social justice, connecting artists and fans, and reestablishing the value of art. The TIDAL release of “Formation” was a supreme artist unleashing her art on her own terms, and we’re proud to be the continued host of her expression.
Following that first Saturday in February, and a cryptic teaser trailer one week ago, we find ourselves on another unsuspecting Saturday.
Today Beyoncé unleashes her new visual album, LEMONADE, a conceptual project based on every woman’s journey of self knowledge and healing, featuring 12 new songs and a corresponding short film. Watch and listen to it now – only on TIDAL.
“Always stay gracious, best revenge is your paper”
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