Beyoncé don’t give no fucks about your Saturday afternoon. Which is to say–as Big Freedia’s voice says in Beyoncé’s new song, “Formation“–“[She] did not come to play with you hoes. [She] came to slay, bitch.”
And slay she did in her usual fashion, but with the volume on the South ratcheted up to the lower frequencies. While “No Angel” gave us a Texas Bama vision of Houston, the visuals for “Formation” offer up New Orleans as convergence place for a blackness that slays through dreams, work, ownership, legacy, and the audacity of bodies that dare move and live in the face of death. As an actual and imagined site of black southern ecstasy, tragedy, remembrance, and revolutionary possibility, NOLA is the pendulum on which Beyoncé rides a southern genealogy that traverses the Deep South from Alabama to Louisiana to Texas, back and through, with stops in between.