Is Beyoncé From Louisiana? She Reps Her Southern Roots in "Formation"
After somehow not doing it on the day the video was released alongside everyone else, I finally watched Beyoncé's "Formation," and let me just say — I totally get it. The surprise single is a reminder of Queen Bey's flawlessness, and it has her putting on a stellar performance with interesting costume and set changes topped off by baller dance moves. And the ways in which she rocks her heritage, especially her Southern roots, are powerful; the references to Hurricane Katrina and samples of Messy Mya showcase Bey's heritage in a fascinating way. Many viewers might even wonder, is Beyoncé from Louisiana, since she mentions it so often in the song? But while the answer to that is no, it's clear why she wanted to make the state such a big part of "Formation."
Bey is from Houston, not Louisiana, and in fact, she mentioned her love for her home city often in her glorious 2014 self-titled surprise album. Beyoncé featured quotes like, "I’m out that H-town Coming, coming down I’m coming down dripping candy on the ground H, H-town, town, I’m coming down." And even in "Formation", Beyoncé gets in some love to her home state, saying, "My daddy Alabama, Momma Louisiana, You mix that negro with that Creole get a Texas bamma."
With her mother from Louisiana, though, it's understandable why the state, and particularly the city of New Orleans, has such a big role in "Formation." As much as this song is a love letter to Bey's Southern heritage, it's also a criticism of the treatment of black Americans, especially in New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina. At the end of the video, Beyoncé figuratively drowns on a sinking cop car, and this imagery packs a powerful punch.
"Formation" is a song about many things (self-love, empowerment, perseverance) but it's also clearly about inequality, especially in the state of Louisiana during one of the country's most horrific events.