As you scroll through your social media outlets, you are bound to see her mentioned at least once. Her latest album broke several records including having 12 tracks on the Billboard Hot 100. Queen B is back and bigger than ever. Not only has she returned with catchy new hits but Bey is also bringing light to a powerful message which is often ignored in mass media. After the release of Formation, the internet blew up. But why? In a world of white feminism, Beyoncé’s song stood out with its’ tribute to black girl magic. The keywords essay that came to mind when I listened to Formation and watched its’ video is identity. I also thought of The Bluest Eye but saw it as serving as a contrast to Formation in terms of looking at identity. It also shows the harmful effects of an absence of diversity in media similar to what we encountered in the short film A Girl Like Me.
The keywords essay, Identity, discusses a couple important aspects to the formation of one’s identity. Two parts that I picked out when looking at Formation and The Bluest Eye were the concepts of the looking glass self and the presence of characters or people who look like one’s self in media. The idea of the looking glass self discusses the importance of society in forming one’s identity. This means that one sees themselves as how they believe society views them. In The Bluest Eye, we saw this in Pecola and her desire for blue eyes, believing that is what would make her beautiful. When she is teased by the other children, this is also reflected in how she views herself and her racial identity. Another aspect of identity is the presence of one’s self in media. This was apparent in The Bluest Eye through Ms. Breedlove when she attends the movies and only sees white women and associates them with beauty. Pecola sees images of Shirley Temple and does the same thing. In the short film A Girl Like Me, we see the same trend appearing as whiteness is linked to beauty through the constant stream of straight haired, white, skinny women in our media. Beyoncé projects her massage through her lyrics ”I like my baby heir with baby hair and afros/I like my negro nose with Jackson five nostrils”. In her video, she dances beside other black women and children. So why is this important? Why is this song and video so ground breaking? Beyoncé is stating that black is beautiful in every way. This truly doesn’t seem like a message that should be so revolutionary but with the invisibility of black women in media, it is. The keywords essays on identity discusses how it can be harmful for children to not see people who look like themselves in media. We often see this in the formation of concepts of beauty. While Beyoncé’s song does not solve the issue of white dominated media in America, I believe it sends a powerful message which is overwhelmingly ignored.