Amy Schumer's New Response To The "Formation" Controversy Explains Her Side Of The Issue
By now, almost everyone has taken their shot at Amy Schumer's "Formation" parody, which was initially released exclusively by TIDAL and starred Schumer, Goldie Hawn, Wanda Sykes, and Joan Cusack. The parody caused the comedian to quickly be accused of cultural appropriation and of minimizing the issues of police brutality and racial violence that Beyoncé highlighted in her music video for the hit song. Schumer responded to the controversy with an Instagram post poking fun at the whole issue, quoting, "You know you that b*tch when you cause all this conversation." However, on Thursday night, Schumer released a new response to the "Formation" controversy and, though the comedian still didn't apologize, she did take the time to clarify a lot more of her headspace than her Instagram post did.
"I did not mean to detract any of the meaning from the video," Schumer wrote in the post on Medium titled "Information About My 'Formation'". "I am of course horrified and sickened by the events that are addressed throughout that video and didn’t see this as minimizing that and still don’t. It was a way to celebrate bringing us all together. To fight for what we all want. And to do it together." She also took the time in the statement to talk about her own reaction to both "Formation" and Lemonade , underlining the fact that the message of the video and the album were never lost on her. "It was NEVER a parody," she insisted. "It was just us women celebrating each other. The video Beyoncé made was so moving and I wouldn’t ever make fun of that."
Admittedly, it's incredibly difficult to watch the video, to watch Schumer, a blonde, white woman, do her own take on a song and a music video that is so deeply entrenched in black culture and the black experience. With Lemonade, Beyoncé gave black women a piece of art that spoke to pain, rage, healing, and action. She took everything not traditionally considered beautiful about ourselves — our "Negro nose with Jackson 5 nostrils" and our "afros" — and turned it into #BlackGirlMagic.
Whatever Schumer's intentions were with her "Formation" video, the fact of the matter remains that it's very uncomfortable to see one of the few mainstream triumphs for black women, especially when entrenched in a strong statement about police brutality, made light of. That, at least, is something that Schumer seems to recognize, as she continued in her statement, "If you watched it and it made you feel anything other than good, please know that was not my intention." She didn't apologize, but she did acknowledge that this controversy isn't something that can be simply brushed or laughed off with a lighthearted Instagram post.
I may not have been personally offended by Schumer's not-parody, but I can understand why the controversy exists and why so many people were hurt or offended by both the video and Schumer's response to their feelings. For that reason, I'm glad to see that the comedian is now treating the situation with the seriousness that it deserves. However, what she isn't doing is actually apologizing for her work or for her video, and she made that clear with the final lines of her statement:
"You have every right to feel however you feel about the video and me but I want you to know I’m not going anywhere. Use whatever hashtag you like. My mission is to continue to work as hard as I can to empower women and make them laugh and feel better and I won’t let anything stop me."
This statement likely won't do much to pacify her critics, but that didn't appear to be the point. Her statement shows where she's coming from and tells her side of the controversy. However we feel about it, Schumer has said all she has to say on the subject.