When Beyoncé surprise-dropped both the track and video for “Formation” in February, it pretty much—to use an overused but never-truer phrase—broke the Internet. Fans couldn’t get enough of a strong, powerful Queen Bey growling, “I got hot sauce in my bag” and swinging her box braids, all while wearing entire Gucci looks.
The video also generated buzz for its undeniable sociopolitical message, a pointed departure from her typical fare. We saw depictions of a post-Katrina New Orleans, references to Black Lives Matter, and a young boy in a hoodie holding his hands up before a sign flashes with the words Stop shooting us. The video also showed Beyoncé standing on and lying across a police car as it sinks into water, a visual that angered some, who called out the singer on disrespecting police.
In a recent interview with Elle, Beyoncé addressed the controversy surrounding “Formation” and its accompanying video.
“I mean, 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,” she said in the fashion magazine’s April issue. “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.”
The interview also includes Bey’s thoughts on critics who felt both the song and the video were too much of a digression from the Beyoncé they know and love.
“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,” she stated. “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.”