It all started in February. The beginning of Black History Month saw the milestone 50th Super Bowl. In the days leading up to the most-watched telecast of the year, it was rumored that Bruno Mars and Beyonce would both join Halftime headliners Coldplay. Then, the day before the Super Bowl, Beyonce dropped a surprise song online entitled “Formation.” The internet was abuzz with the lyrics and connotations of the song. Many wondered if Queen Bey would dare to perform such a song on arguably the biggest national stage.
After Coldplay performed a song or two, Bruno and his “Hooligans” took to the stage along with Mark Ronson. He finessed his way through his 2015 smash “Uptown Funk” wearing shiny black pants, black sneakers, and a gold chain round his neck. Although produced and performed by two non-black artists, the jam is unabashedly a tribute to funk, soul, and disco — all genres perfected by black musicians. It should also be noted that Bruno’s backup dancers were black and, like Bruno, wore black outfits.
After performing several bars of “Funk,” Beyonce stormed the field with an army of black women behind her. Beyonce wore a black leotard and a black bomber jacket of sorts with two gold sashes crossing diagonally across her chest. Her dancers wore black shorts and crop tops with black berets. She eased her way into the lyrics of “Formation,” sashaying slowly through her dancers. (It would be discussed later that the outfits worn by Beyonce and her dancers were a tribute to the Black Panthers. The dancers were even photographed doing the Black Power fist.)
“I like my baby hair with baby hair and afros/I like my negro nose with Jackson Five nostrils….”
Swaying side to side, then twerking at a 90 degree angle (surely working them quads), Beyonce and her black girl squad worked their way through the choreography.
She then joined forces with Bruno for a mashup of their two songs. Chris Martin of Coldplay joined in toward the end of the performance. But as Bruno and Beyonce sang the end of “Funk,” working the camera in their black getups front and center, it was clear that despite a white artist “headlining” the Halftime show, blackness — both literally and figuratively — had taken over.