ARTS/CULTURE: Big music acts bring attention to black lives

Photo credit: Arnie Papp via / CC BY

by Daisia Payne, Patrick Greenwood–

Two big musical artists recently made clear political statements on separate stages.

Grammy Award-winning artists Beyonce and Kendrick Lamar each performed songs about black lives in America within a week of one another.

Beyonce performed her new song “Formation” for the Superbowl 50 halftime show on February 7. The video for the song dropped the day before the game, and immediately caught the nation’s attention.

During the show, she and her dancers were dressed in outfits reflecting the Black Panther group. The lyrics and wardrobe choice clearly presented her support of black culture.

Kendrick Lamar had a similar message when he performed on the Grammy stage. He and his dancers came out in chains with a prison background, performing his song, “The Blacker the Berry.” The song contains lyrics like, “You hate my people, your plan is to terminate my culture.”

The difference between the two performances is the way that people reacted. Beyonce was heavily criticized for portraying the Black Panthers, while Lamar’s performance was referred to as possibly legendary.

Either way, both artists sent a clear message about their pride in their race and caught the attention of the country, whether it was good or bad.