Controversial or Inspirational: The Beyonce and Kendrick Lamar performances

Breaking Down Kendrick Lamars Controversial Grammy Performance

Breaking Down Kendrick Lamar’s Controversial Grammy Performance

By Averi Cervantez and Blake Wood

Why are we upset over Beyoncé’s and Kendrick Lamar’s “controversial” performances? Is it due to the lack of Caucasian’s in the performances? Or because of the strong message that these well-known African American artists portrayed?

After the release of Beyoncé’s music video, Formation, and following performance at the Super Bowl, Twitter and other social media platforms blew up. Beyoncé and the dancers came out with a controversial message, dressed to represent the Black Panthers, forming an X for Malcolm X and singing about police violence against black people. Many people viewed this performance as Beyoncé being against police officers and an abundance of posts were made to #BoycottBeyonce.

Let’s be honest. There are too many white people that do not like to think that America still has a race problem and quite frankly, it’s pathetic. Admitting that we still haven’t reached the point of racial equality isn’t saying that police officers are all terrible people. It’s not saying that all white people are racist. It’s not saying that all black people are treated poorly. It’s accepting the fact that police misconduct is a serious issue, and if your initial reaction to that is anything similar to “They had it coming”, just ask yourself why you think that.

The message by  Beyoncé was to celebrate black heritage and to shine a light on an issue that desperately needs our attention. Saturday Night Live even joked how people’s views on this artist did an absolute 180 by making a skit over a bunch of white people in a chaotic panic that  Beyoncé is suddenly black. What people fail to realize is that she has always held strong views about her race and feminism. At the 2014 VMA’s her performance promoted the feminist movement. Why is everybody now just boycotting her music? Because the message was too strong and white America still wants to avoid dealing with obvious issues?

Kendrick Lamar’s performance was labeled as “controversial” even before he went on stage. Lamar began Untitled 3 as he came out in chains and a prison uniform to represent the mass incarceration of black people in America. Followed by tribal dancing, with all black back up dancers, and then ending with a picture of Africa that read “Compto” across the continent.

The performance did not represent any race in a negative way, yet many people are still consumed with rage over Lamar’s performance. According to a twitter user I spoke to, David Dillard, he “thought that all (Kendrick) was saying was racist perception and racism will never go away if it keeps getting brought up”. A lot of other people felt this way about the performance as well. They feel that we should not view others through their skin tone or race, but who they are as a person. In an ideal world, this is correct. However, in reality, it’s simply a fantasy. In a country with a history of slavery and segregation, pretending that racism will go away if we ignore it is ludicrous.

To minorities, these performances were an important stage to spread their message toward the direction of racial equality, not the direction of white oppression. The messages that the two black artists conveyed is a strong and powerful one. A message that will hopefully lead people to become more open minded and educated on this controversial subject, even if they do cause an uproar on social media.