The One "Formation" Lyric That Sums Up The Song's Biggest Theme Is Unforgettable
Beyoncé's new song "Formation" has officially rocked the internet and the world as we know it. The song and video are so filled with meaningful imagery and powerful lyrics that it's impossible to reduce "Formation" to just one lyric or idea. Like Beyoncé's overall persona, the song has a lot of mysterious layers; it's about Black Lives Matter, Hurricane Katrina, her southern roots, African-American hair, the respect and power that money brings you, shutting down media speculation, and a whole lot else. Bey manages to make these ideas come together into a clear point of view, a spectacular but unsurprising feat, considering who's pulling it off. Yet that's not to say there isn't one line and idea in "Formation" in particular that sticks out for a lot of people, both because of its inherent catchiness and because of its elusive meaning. The line?
You just might be a black Bill Gates in the making, cause I slay/ I just might be a black Bill Gates in the making
There are a couple of possible meanings to this bold statement, and it's very possible that they are all correct. One of these interpretations is the link that Bey makes between money and power. Bill Gates is the richest man in the world; Beyoncé could be aspiring to that level of wealth, and suggesting that all black people should and could be able to achieve Gates-like levels of wealth, power, and respect. This is an especially empowering message alongside the video's depictions of moments in history, such as Hurricane Katrina and Southern plantations, that have stripped black people of power and money.
Then there's this idea. Beyoncé released the song on the eve of her Super Bowl performance; what's a more extravagant display of mainstream American wealth and success than the halftime show of the Super Bowl? The idea that Beyoncé is aspiring to wealth and mogul status is further supported by the fact that "Formation" merchandise was already available on her website when the song dropped. Perhaps Beyoncé is telling us that she's not content simply being a very rich entertainer; she has her sights set on richest personout there. After all, the final line of the song is, "Always stay gracious, best revenge is your paper."
Gates is also famous for his philanthropy; he has donated billions of dollars to charity over the years. Bey could be describing herself as the black Bill Gates in order to suggest that she will be a charitable figure to black people, an idea that is supported by the fact that Jay Z's Tidal promised to donate $1.5 million to Black Lives Matter and other charities the day before Bey's "Formation" release. The line in the song is also preceded by her assertion that she "might get your song on the radio station," suggesting that she has the influential power over culture to elevate those who have been underrepresented.
As I mentioned before, I believe that all of these interpretations are true. With the flip of the "You/I just might be a black Bill Gates in the making," Beyonce suggests that the song's message isn't just about her making money — it's about creating a culture in which black people can aspire to massive levels of success.