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Beyoncé Talks Police Brutality And True Equality

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Courtesy of Topshop
It was the music video that stopped the world in its tracks. Beyoncé proved the power of Beyoncé in releasing “Formation” as an unlisted Youtube link, which you could only watch if you had the link, had been sent the link, or were subscribed to Tidal. From the lyrics, to the video, to the release strategy, “Formation” was perfect, and reminded everyone to keep talking about the cases of race-related injustice in the U.S. criminal system; a topic that comes in and out of the news with each new, shocking story.

In case you were away that day, the opening image of the video is Queen Bey crouching on a New Orleans police car, floating in the river. Another arresting scene sees a little black boy dancing (amazingly) in front of a line of white policemen in riot gear; and the final scene is the police car sinking in the river, pulling Beyoncé under with it. “Formation” was a sleekly executed call to action and an empowering statement of black identity.

In a revealing interview by Tamar Gottesman in Elle UK, released today, Beyoncé talks about the issues at hand in “Formation” and sets the record straight on her views about police brutality. She also talks extensively about her new activewear line Ivy Park, unveiled last week, and outlines her definition and practice of feminism, from a parent's perspective.

Here’s what stood out to us from the interview:

On “Formation”:
“I’m an artist and I think the most powerful art is usually misunderstood. But anyone who perceives my message as anti-police is completely mistaken. I have so much admiration and respect for officers and the families of officers who sacrifice themselves to keep us safe. But let’s be clear: I am against police brutality and injustice. Those are two separate things. If celebrating my roots and culture during Black History Month made anyone uncomfortable, those feelings were there long before a video and long before me. I’m proud of what we created and I’m proud to be part of a conversation that is pushing things forward in a positive way.”

On her definition of Feminism:
“I’m not really sure people know or understand what a feminist is, but it’s very simple. It’s someone who believes in equal rights for men and women. I don’t understand the negative connotation of the word or why it should exclude the opposite sex. If you’re a man who believes your daughter should have the same opportunities and rights as your son, then you’re a feminist.”

“Ask anyone, man or woman, ‘Do you want your daughter to have 75 cents when she deserves $1?’”

“I don’t want calling myself a feminist to make it feel like that’s my one priority over racism or sexism or anything else. […] If you believe in equal rights, the same way society allows a man to express his darkness, to express his pain, to express his sexuality, to express his opinion – I feel that women have the same rights.”

On self-perception:
“It’s not about perfection. It’s about purpose. We have to care about our bodies and what we put in them. Women have to take time to focus on our mental health – take time for the self, for the spiritual, without feeling guilty or selfish. The world will see you the way you see you.”

On the pain of childbirth:
“Everyone experiences pain, but sometimes you need to be uncomfortable to transform. Pain is not pretty – but I wasn’t able to hold my daughter in my arms until I experienced the pain of childbirth.”

Read the full interview in the new issue of Elle magazine, out now.
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