In the days before ‘Queen Bey’, Houston’s own Beyoncé Knowles Carter descended upon NRG Stadium for her Formation World Tour and worked her legion of ‘Beyhive’ warriors into frenzy that only she could achieve, I learned through a private message that the event was already pre-loaded with racial discord.
I intuitively knew that the alluded to long-standing racial discord primarily flows from several sources: (a) a Super Bowl performance rife with imagery that reminded one of not only the Black Power Era, but also the era’s Vanguard group, the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense, (b) Beyoncé Knowles Carter’s opposition to police brutality via her public support of the ‘Black Lives Matter’ movement, (c) whites juvenile attempt to co-opt the slogan ‘Black Lives Matter’ into both ‘Blue Lives Matter’ and ‘All Lives Matter’, (d) law enforcement leaders and personnel woeful lack of historical and cultural literacy in regards to anything ‘Black’.
As the ‘Beyhive’ prepared for a night of brilliant entertainment, The Nation of Islam’s paramilitary wing, The Fruit of Islam, assembled on Kirby and Murworth at 6:30 (as they promised they would in their earlier communication) prepared to defend ‘Queen Bey’ against a group known by the acronym of COPS (The Coalition of Police and Sheriffs). COPS had apparently worked itself into a frenzy that would remind one of the ‘Beyhive’ over their belief that Beyoncé had taken a posture that could be comfortably called anti-police.
According to Roy D. Malonson, “I love the fact that the Nation of Islam chose to stand up for ‘Queen Bey’. We have to stand strong against these white groups who wait for the opportunity to single-out our artists who are speaking on our behalf and doing positive in the community. The message needs to be sent to those artists who support the community; you had our back, so we have your back. It’s important that we never leave them out there alone, think of what that message would be for other artists who want to speak up for us.”
To the chagrin of most stable minded people, The Coalition of Police and Sheriffs (COPS) are not alone in their erroneous belief that ‘Queen Bey’ has turned against this nation’s law enforcement officers as they have been joined in their ‘group think’ by law enforcement agencies throughout the nation in assuming an antagonistic position against Knowles-Carter; in fact, they have manufactured antagonism where none exist.
One of the most frightening aspects of law enforcement leaders’ attacks upon ‘Queen Bey’ flows from the fact that she has forthrightly addressed both her Super Bowl performance as well as the other issues surrounding police brutality. During a recent edition of Elle Magazine, ‘Queen Bey’ touched upon the very issue that has so many law enforcement officers in a fury. According to Knowles-Carter,
“I mean, I’m an artist and I think the most powerful art is usually misunderstood. But anyone who perceives my message as anti-police is completely mistaken…I am against police brutality and injustice. Those are two separate things. If celebrating my roots and culture during Black History Month made anyone uncomfortable, those feelings were there long before…I’m proud of what we created and I’m proud to be a part of a conversation that is pushing things forward in a positive way.”
It appears that the bulk of the ill-feelings that law enforcement agencies are directing toward ‘Queen Bey’ flows from her incorporation of images of The Black Panther Party for Self-Defense, a group that was created nearly 50 years ago on October 15, 1966 by two Oakland Community College (Merritt College) students named Huey P. Newton and Bobby Seale (Dallas, Texas). Newton, a native of Monroe, Louisiana, was ironically named in honor of a white man, legendary Louisiana Governor Huey P. Long.
In many ways, the strong reaction of white citizens in general and white law enforcement officers in particular, to
Knowles-Carter’s Super Bowl performance drives home the irrationality that their mental state rests upon when it comes to pro-Black images.
It seems impossible for American whites to understand that pro-Black does not translate into either anti-white or anti-American. Such a realization is as foreign to American whites as an understanding that a strong Black America helps make the entire nation stronger.
Instead of such logical thought ruling the day, whites rest upon a fear that this nation continues to teeter upon the verge of unbridled racial revenge where African-Americans pick up guns, channel the spirits of Huey P. Newton, Robert F. Williams, Eldridge Cleaver, Nat Turner, Gabriel Prosser, and Denmark Vesey, and follow former Nation of Islam leader and native Houstonian Khalid Abdul Muhammad’s advice and proceed killing “every white who ain’t right who is in sight.” Law enforcement leaders across the nation fear that it will be ‘Queen Bey’ who gives permission for the feared carnage to begin.
It should be embarrassing for the leadership of any law enforcement agency to be so moved by Black Power images that are nearly a half-century old. In fact, it exposes so much about the rampant and unabashed absence of historical literacy that afflicts so many of the politicians and law enforcement officials who unfortunately hold significant power within both our government and our law enforcement agencies.
Reporter Dan Freeman commented upon this matter with the following litany, “You know when I first received a text regarding this show down between the Nation of Islam and COPS, I found it difficult to believe. Really, really, really difficult to believe. With as much crime that is going on in this city, we have law enforcement officers who were going to take the time to make signs, stand on a street corner, and make an absolute spectacle of themselves. The entire idea appeared to be childish.”
Such behavior reeks of an irrationality that can only be derived by a total lack of either a relevant education or an understanding regarding not only Black Popular Culture, but also African-American History regarding the true identity of not only the Black Panther Party, but also the father of the Black Power Era, Malcolm X.
Were I permitted an opportunity to address this nation’s law enforcement personnel in regards to this matter, I would offer them reassurance that ‘Queen Bey’ has a right to her own opinions and there is no one, except a rogue officer, who should be offended when an African-American man or woman expresses their discontent with an issue such as police brutality. Let’s face facts; Knowles-Carter has stated nothing beyond a rational opposition to police brutality that at any moment could affect her husband, mother, father, child, sister, or herself. ‘Queen Bey’ understands very well that not even fame makes any African-American immune from police brutality.
Additionally, I would advise law enforcement agencies to purchase a copy of my book, Creating Revolution as They Advance: A Historical Narrative of The Black Panther Party for Self-Defense, for each of their officers. I am certain that if they actually learned about the origins and daily operations of the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense that they would be shocked to learn that the group was created to serve the needs of their indigenous community by providing educational opportunities, groceries, free breakfast and lunch programs for local children (regardless of race), and stopping police brutality by rogue white officers patrolling the African-American community seeking whom they could victimize.
Officers would additionally learn that the raising of the right hand into a fist is an outward expression and show of solidarity amongst African-American people that predated the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense. Maybe most important of all, and this is a lesson that today’s copy-cat Black Panther Party groups could learn from as well, the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense was far from a group of racists seeking to kill and/or intimidate white folk. Most would be startled to learn that the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense entered into alliances with white activist groups who were also working against tyranny and exploitation.
There is no other explanation other than unadulterated ignorance and historical illiteracy that leads law enforcement groups such as COPS to attempt to take a global icon such as Beyoncé Knowles Carter to task for using her art and voice to oppose the daily degradation and abuse that her fellow African-Americans, as well as poor whites, are exposed to on a daily basis by a select few marauding law enforcement officers; officers I might add that have historically behaved as if they were above the law. And why shouldn’t they harbor such a belief? They have rarely been taken to task for the evil that they do.
It is clear that COPS came for ‘Queen Bey’ and they missed, I am absolutely certain that those who follow will experience similar frustrations because truth and righteousness is a powerful thing that should never be discounted. This small ruckus that COPS attempted to create is so far beneath ‘Queen Bey’ that it is hilarious. Law enforcement officers would be wise to cease-and-desist with their attacks, because the ‘Beyhive’ is always buzzing and never resists an opportunity to handle Beyoncé’s light work.
Dr. James Thomas Jones III
©Manhood, Race and Culture, 2016.