This Is the Perfect Response to People Who Can’t Handle Beyoncé’s Halftime Show

When we first heard that some people were offended by Beyoncé’s halftime show, we figured the criticism had to be made up.

You’d have to be pretty closed-minded to think her dancers’ black panther-themed costumes or the “X” they formed as an homage to Malcolm X were offensive. These were deliberate and politically charged images for sure — but they’re not the violent call to arms that many of Beyoncé’s critics are painting them as now.

Beyoncé proved this weekend that she no longer wants to keep her political views or even her blackness concealed from the public. She’s got enough clout to push the boundaries politically and get people talking about issues that go beyond female sexuality, which she’s explored before. And she’s clearly trying to spark a conversation about the continued systematic oppression of black people in America.

So it’s no accident that her black panther costumes might make you stop and think about race issues and the root causes of radical action. But in white America, we don’t like thinking about radical action — we like it when our black entertainers stick to wearing glittery leotards and singing about being single ladies.

And that’s why a bunch of Fox News conservatives are being pissy about her performance. Their viewers don’t want to think hard about these things. They don’t want to admit that policemen aren’t all perfect. So if they see someone on the TV telling them it’s okay to plug their fingers in their ears and shout “LA LA LA LA LA” when one of their favorite mainstream performers starts talking about race in America, they’re going to feel pretty relieved.

All of this can be really hard to explain at the dinner table when your vaguely racist parents are going on and on about how “inappropriate” the halftime show was. But the truth is there should be no time when it’s “inappropriate” to talk about race in America — especially not in art, or at a sports event as diverse as the Super Bowl.

So take a cue from Jessica Williams’ rant on “The Daily Show” last night. She talked about Beyoncé for just under four minutes and all of it was gold, but we found one line to be particularly on point. When responding to Rudy Giuliani’s statement on Fox News that the Super Bowl Halftime Show should consist of “wholesome” entertainment, she sarcastically said this:

“The fans deserve wholesome entertainment, like watching 300-pound men give each other concussions while a crowd cheers like we’re extras in the movie ‘Gladiator.'”

Football is a violent sport that results in actual physical trauma that can kill people or leave them brain damaged — and we’re debating whether the halftime dancers’ outfits were offensive?

Beyoncé’s not physically hurting anyone with her art. But the event where she was performing is responsible for actual pain and suffering. And that’s without even bringing in the NFL’s shoddy track record when it comes to ignoring domestic abuse and sexual assault, and exploiting female labor by underpaying cheerleaders. All of this is far more offensive than having a conversation about race.

Doesn’t that put things into perspective?

Watch Jessica’s full rant here.


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