Super Bowl 50 Performance fuels political controversy


Story by Valeria Munoz, Copy Editor

On Feb. 7, 2016, the halftime show during Super Bowl 50 made it seem as if the event was a Beyoncé, Coldplay, and Bruno Mars concert with a football game on the side. Coldplay began the halftime show with hit songs “Viva La Vida,” “Paradise,” and “Adventure of a Lifetime,” only pausing to have his face wiped by fans with a rainbow handkerchief.  Complete with a marching band and dancers dressed as flowers, Coldplay’s unique take on their old songs did not disappoint. On the 50th anniversary of the Super Bowl, Bruno Mars proved his onstage presence and performance skills once more as he sang “Uptown Funk” accompanied by Mark Ronson. Of course, Mars couldn’t leave out the signature sway in his choreography. Mars also demonstrated remarkable control as he showed his mastery of the fundamental hip hop styles: popping and locking. His amazing footwork left viewers in awe as they tried to keep up with his feet.

The day before her Super Bowl performance, Beyoncé released her new single “Formation” where she spoke of black history and pride but also referenced political acts. She managed to hit every single note while staying completely in sync with a massive crew of dancers. Along with her backup dancers, Beyoncé wore clothing that paid homage to the Black Panther party, as it was the 50th year since its founding. The Black Panther party stood for black empowerment and committed violent acts while fighting for Civil Rights movement. At one point, the backup dancers formed an X alluding to Malcolm X, a Civil Rights activist that occasionally resorted to powerful demonstrations and violence to stand up for his beliefs. Prior to the performance, Beyoncé released her new single “Formation,” in which she spoke of black history and pride but also referenced political acts. In the music video, Beyoncé is shown sinking with a police car and there is an appearance of a hooded boy holding his hands up as an allusion to Michael Brown. Some people argue that the boy had his hands up surrendering when he was shot by an officer. With many interpretations of Beyoncé’s intentions, rumors have spread regarding the Tampa Police refusing to sign up to act as security during her concert. However, the police department responded making a positive reference to her song “Formation” dissipating the rumors saying:

“What?! @TampaPD officers have been in #formation for days signing up to keep the #Beehive safe! #Truth #Fact…”

“A lot of people have misinterpreted both Beyonce’s Super Bowl performance and music video for it’s political impact. She mentioned Jackson Five and she wore a similar outfit to Michael Jackson to commemorate him. I feel that a lot of people who find it to be insulting or negative are against the song and simply don’t want to accept or comprehend Beyoncé’s true intentions. The song was made to embrace the black community,” said sophomore Oze Elimelech.

Beyoncé and Bruno Mars served up a dance battle we never knew we wanted, and it was absolutely glorious. Despite suffering a minor setback during the dance, Beyoncé managed to stay balanced and continue to challenge Mars to step up his game. Mars retaliated with a mini skit that involved strutting, fake hair flipping, and mimicking Beyoncé’s power strut in her “Crazy in Love” music video; an instrumental version was even playing in the background. Needless to say, Beyoncé and Mars delivered the most epic dance battle in history that they amicably joined together at the end dancing to “Uptown Funk.”

However, Chris Martin and his band closed the show by performing a combination of their songs “Clocks” and “Fix You.” They did so while displaying and commemorating past Super Bowl halftime performers through a video montage and medley: Chris Martin incorporated Prince’s “Purple Rain” and U2’s “Beautiful Day” along with his other songs. The British band finished with “Up & Up” as Mars and Beyoncé joined them onstage while the message “Believe in Love” appeared on the screen and projected across the Super Bowl spectators.

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