Brow Beat

Beyoncé’s Surprise New Single Is Both a #BlackLivesMatter–Inspired Protest Anthem and an Absolute Jam

A still from the new Beyoncé, “Formation.”


A stunning music video for a new Beyoncé song called “Formation” was uploaded to YouTube Saturday. Arriving on the eve of Beyoncé’s performance at the Super Bowl half-time show, the new song was reportedly produced by Mike Will Made-It and co-written by Swae Lee of Rae Sremmurd. It feels instantly like an anthem, with shout-along lines like “I just might be a black Bill Gates in the making” and “Earned all this money but they’ll never take the country out me” and a back half built around the phrase “I slay.”

The video, which looks like it was filmed at least in part in New Orleans, is full of imagery linked to Hurricane Katrina and Black Lives Matter: a cop car drowning in standing water, a child dancing in a hoodie in front of a line of police officers in riot gear. The video also features a shot of Beyoncé with two middle fingers up, singing the line “When he fuck me good I’ll take his ass to Red Lobster,” which seems to be the early favorite on Twitter

Beyoncé is expected to play “Formation” Sunday at the Super Bowl, which means that a year and a half after framing herself in front of the word “feminist” at the VMAs, she just set herself up for what could be an even more powerful moment on an even bigger stage.

Watch the video below, or stream it on Tidal.