How Beyoncé Broke the Internet

February 7, 2016

A dance scene from Beyoncé’s “Formation” video.

It’s something we’re used to seeing from Businesswoman Beyoncé: A meticulously planned surprise that has the world talking days later. But Queen Bey took that to a whole new level this weekend—we’re talking sonic boom status.

On Saturday, one day before she was scheduled to share star in the Super Bowl halftime show alongside Coldplay and Bruno Mars, Beyoncé dropped the music video to her first new song since 2014, “Formation.” It quickly took over social media for both its grand scale and sheer social power. In less than five minutes, she cohesively packs in images of police brutality in St. Louis, post Hurricane Katrina New Orleans and Southern Creole culture. It’s easily the biggest statement Beyoncé, a usually safe artist, has ever made about the African American experience. Facebook lit up with comments both championing and questioning her choices, which further strengthened the video’s relevance.

The dancing in it? There wasn’t a ton, but what was included packed a punch. I liked the simplicity and power of so many women dancing in unison, and there was some creative floor work echoing synchronized swimmers during the scenes in the empty pool. The credits go to Dana Foglia, Chris Grant, and JaQuel Knight (who choreographed her “Single Ladies” dance).

Then, the Super Bowl happened. Coldplay was there, I think; Bruno Mars was certainly present. But this halftime show was all about Beyoncé. Heck, the whole Superbowl felt like it was about Beyoncé. Once she stepped out onto the field, the air—yes, the air in my living room—felt different. This wasn’t about her working at the biggest sporting event of the year. This was about that sporting event working for her. Because let’s be honest. Only Beyoncé could perform a brand new song during the commercial-driven half time show and get away with it.

The dancing was stellar. I kept yelling “I’m not even asking to be Beyoncé. Can I just be one of her backup dancers?!” (My friends can vouch for me.) The formations from the video looked even more drill team-like on the football field, and the dance battle between Beyoncé and Bruno Mars was too feel good to not love. Also, this near fall and fantastic recovery happened, almost making us believe Beyoncé is human, too:

The halftime show wraps up, and you think Beyoncé’s moment is over. But nope. To set the scene: Throughout the Super Bowl, my friends and I are playing a silly betting game. One of the questions was to guess what the first commercial following the half time show would be. I guessed Hyundai, because well, it was the evening’s official sponsor. But boy was I wrong.

The first commercial was announcing Beyoncé’s world tour for an album that isn’t even out yet.

My friends, that’s how you win the Super Bowl.

(In case you need to know who won the actual football part, the Denver Broncos beat the Carolina Panthers, 24 to 10.)


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