Amy Schumer Comments On "Formation" Parody Controversy, But She's Not Apologizing
While she is no stranger to controversy, it would seem that Amy Schumer has once again awoken the sleeping giant. Over the weekend, Schumer dropped a "Formation" parody video, along with co-stars Goldie Hawn, Wanda Sykes, and Joan Cusack, on Tidal and there were some appropriately heated reactions from those who viewed it. While it appeared that Schumer had intended to make a parody video in the same vein of Aziz Ansari's send-up of Kanye West's "Famous", the way it read to audiences was much different. Schumer's version of "Formation" didn't go down as smoothly, partially due to the fact that her version didn't seem to add anything relevant to the video's thematic conversation and because it felt irrelevant to Schumer's upcoming film (the women shot the parody video while filming their new movie). So, while Twitter users immediately took Schumer to task, on Monday, she posted a comment (sans apology) on her Instagram about the video.
In Schumer's words: "You know you that b*tch when you cause all this conversation. Thanks for the exclusive release Tidal! We had so much fun making this tribute. All love and women inspiring each other." Clearly, Schumer sees the video as a positive, but the fact that she didn't apologize could further stoke the fires of vitriol against her take on the now-iconic music video, which had be thriving under the Twitter hashtag #AmySchumerGottaGoParty. Yikes.
So what specifically is making Schumer the loathed target? Unlike "Famous," which Ansari and his Master of None co-star Eric Wareheim simply turned into a video about them traveling and eating pasta, the weight and significance of "Formation" is too far outside the sphere of what Schumer could comfortably parody and still stay in the public's good graces. Women supporting the work of other women is not the issue here, despite Schumer's own statement. Rather, many people have picked up on the fact that what Schumer was parodying was a song so specific to the black female experience.
Which leads me — like many dissenters at the moment — to wonder: Is Schumer being blatantly appropriative with her take on "Formation"? I'll admit: I felt squeamish watching Schumer's video because it becomes very clear, very quickly, what she is trying to do, but you know it won't stick the landing precisely because of the layers of meaning of the song is imbued with. This version of Beyoncé's original is one example of the still-heated and ongoing conversation around whether there are boundaries to what certain comedians can joke about. Did Schumer go too far this time?
It wouldn't be a surprise if Schumer didn't respond to further controversy. To a certain extent, she's said all she needs to say with her Instagram post. What both the video and her photo achieve, though, is a ton of publicity and intense conversation, but it may not have been exactly what she envisioned.