On February 6th, 2016, during Black History Month and one day before her Super Bowl halftime show performance, Beyoncé dropped the song and video for “Formation” on her YouTube channel and on Tidal, Jay-Z’s streaming service. The song's lyrics are characterized by Beyoncé reframing stereotypes traditionally used in a derogatory way towards African-Americans into empowering statements which celebrate Blackness. For instance, she states:
“Run the World (Girls)” is a song recorded by Beyonce Knowles in 2011, with the accompanying music video directed by Francis Lawrence. The video displays a post-apocalyptic war-zone in which Knowles and an army of scantily-clad women square off against men in riot gear – all through the use of seductive dance moves. The video ends with Knowles ripping off the military general’s badge and putting it on herself. The aggressive lyrics center on the superiority of women, with much of their power being attributed to their intelligence, money-making abilities, and “persuasion”.
Beyonce’s 2008 hit Single Ladies epitomizes her uniquely powerful brand of girl power that’s come to define her entire career. The song sends a positive message to women about finding strength after a breakup, independent of a man. But how well does this message translate to a group of seven year old performers? This video clip, uploaded on Youtube, is from a children’s dance competition in which a troop of seven year old girls perform a routine to Beyonce’s Single Ladies. Dressed in lacy red and black outfits, their dance moves mimic Beyonce's sexually suggestive routine.
This trailer comes from the 2010 documentary, "Blacking Up: Hip-Hop's Remix of Race and Identity", produced by filmmaker and professor Robert Clift. As described in the film's promotional materials, "The film presents a diverse group of white rap fans (often referred to by derogatory terms such as “wannabe” or “wigger”) and performers with very different ways of expressing their relationship to Hip-Hop music and culture." With contributions from amateurs, professionals like Vanilla Ice, and African American scholars Amiri Baraka, the film investigates key questions about whites and the world of hip-hop: "When is it adoration, and when is it mockery?" the narrator ponders. "When is it fun and when is it blacking up?"
This clip comes from a 2004 episode of MTV's "Making the Video". It features Britney Spears and director Joseph Kahn taking the audience through the video-making process of her song "Toxic". The sexual nature of the video and of the production process is clear from the start. "If MTV approves it, which is a big if, I think you're going to get a nice treat," the director describes.