When it comes to the Super Bowl halftime show, everyone's a critic. But the annual chorus of complaints about the choice of artist took on a different tune at Super Bowl 50, when both Beyoncé and Coldplay delivered performances with political messages.
Following Coldplay's performance, Beyoncé took the field with an army of dancers to perform "Formation," a new single she released Saturday. The song immediately got attention for its celebration of black culture and critique of race relations in America. It echoed the powerful statement made on Friday when Tidal, the music streaming service Beyoncé's husband, Jay Z, founded, announced it would donate $1.5 million to #BlackLivesMatter and other social justice groups.
The singer backed up that statement with another when her dancers marched out onto the field in costumes reminiscent of the Black Panthers, a group also celebrating its 50th anniversary. Bey herself was outfitted in a leather jumper, referencing one of Michael Jackson's iconic getups, and her crew even gave a shoutout to Malcom X.
While many bowed down to Queen Bey, others took issue with the Black Panthers tribute:
These Twitter users interpreted Beyoncé's celebration and value of black lives as a knock to white people.
Another user also took issue with Beyoncé's support of the movement against police brutality:
After Bruno Mars and Coldplay's Chris Martin joined Beyoncé on stage for an epic finale, the stadium exploded into a rainbow as people in the stands held up placards that read "Believe in Love." Suddenly, the conversation immediately shifted from the halftime show being "too black" to how it was "too gay."
One user seemed to miss the LGBTQ message entirely, while others wondered why the halftime show "promoted homosexuality."
Viewers continued to whine about how this isn't what they tuned in for. Twitter users lamented the simpler times when Super Bowl halftime shows didn't confront them with broader messages:
But if you don't use the media's biggest stage as an opportunity to send a message, there's no more wasted an opportunity.
Correction: Feb. 8, 2016
A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that Beyoncé and her husband Jay Z had announced this week that they would donate $1.5 million to the Black Lives Matter movement. Tidal, the music platform Jay Z founded, announced on Friday that it would make the $1.5 million donation to #BlackLivesMatter and other social justice organizations picked by Tidal's artist owners, a group that includes Beyoncé.
Get the five stories that will challenge you to rethink the world by signing up for MicCheck Daily.