Beyonce’s only competition is her own past, and she keeps winning. Music videos for every song? Try a comprehensive short film so packed with symbolism and allusion that a syllabus was written just to keep up. Lengthy pop experimentalism? How about a dense 12 tracks, sprinting from club basement R&B to front porch country and mastering every stop along the way. And no emotional arc could convey utter dominance like broadcasting your husband’s infidelity, choosing to salvage the relationship and then profiting from your turbulence via the streaming service you own.

If that sounds too much like tabloid fodder, remember that this woman rocked Black Panther regalia at the Super Bowl. “Formation,” a mission statement seemingly perfect for an introduction, is placed at the end as a signal that though her personal conflict may have resolved, the struggle for black women at large is never over. Queen B concludes with a beginning, calling everyone to action. After all, her work never stops.

Originally published on NDSMCObserver.


2016Jack Riedy