In Depth

Beyonce's black power Super Bowl show sparks row

New York's former mayor attacks singer's 'outrageous' and 'anti-police' half-time performance

Former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani has criticised Beyonce's politically charged performance at last weekend's Super Bowl, calling it "an attack" on police.

The singer took to the stage on Sunday evening to perform her new single Formation to an audience of more than 100 million people.

The track, which has been dubbed a black power anthem, celebrates black identity, mourns the victims of police violence and highlights the effects of Hurricane Katrina on black communities.

"[It] articulates multiple identities of southern blackness, while social critiques of the nation's crimes against its darker skinned citizens acts as ballast," Syreeta Mcfadden writes in The Guardian

During her Super Bowl performance, Beyonce's troupe of dancers were decked out in leather and black berets – an iconic symbol of the revolutionary Black Panthers Party - and ended the performance with a black power salute.

The performance comes against the backdrop of the growing Black Lives Matter movement, which began in response to police killings of unarmed black men.

The dancers were pictured backstage holding a sign saying: "Justice 4 Mario Woods", in reference to the 26-year old African-American who was shot dead by police in San Francisco in December.

Why has it caused a stir?

Guiliani described the half-time show as a "bunch of people bouncing around and all strange things" and said Beyonce did not understand that "this is football, not Hollywood".

He told Fox News: "I thought it was really outrageous that she used it as a platform to attack police officers who are the people who protect her and protect us and keep us alive."

The former mayor went on to call for "you know, decent wholesome entertainment" instead.

What has the response been?

"I'm not sure, as usual, what Mr Giuliani was talking about," Andrew Rosenthal writes in the New York Times. "That's only an attack on police officers if you believe that they should not be restrained in their use of violence."

"BREAKING: old, white people find Beyonce's black pride distasteful," says Gawker's Rich Juzwiak, who argues that it's "telling" that her performance and subtle militancy is intimidating to white conservatives.

"It's, in fact, telling in the same manner as white people's discomfort with the words 'Black Lives Matter' – a simple and self-evident concept that nonetheless troubles people," he adds.

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