Anti-Beyonce rally planned over 'hate speech'

Beyonce performing on Sunday in the Super Bowl halftime show.
Beyonce performing on Sunday in the Super Bowl halftime show. PHOTO: EUROPEAN PRESSPHOTO AGENCY

The National Football League (NFL) in the United States has been accused of various misdemeanours down the years, from ignoring head trauma to failing to control its players off the field.

People can add another problem to the list: allowing hate speech to be disseminated during the Super Bowl via the medium of song and dance.

That, at least, is the view of a group behind an "Anti-Beyonce Protest Rally", which is to take place next Tuesday outside the NFL headquarters in New York.

"Do you agree that it was a slap in the face to law enforcement? Do you agree that the Black Panthers was/is a hate group which should not be glorified?" reads the group's posting on Event Brite.

"Come and let's stand together. Let's tell the NFL we don't want hate speech & racism at the Superbowl ever again!"

The group did not respond to The Guardian's request for more information.

Beyonce was the star of Sunday's Super Bowl halftime show, appearing alongside Coldplay and Bruno Mars. She performed her new single, Formation, which referenced the Black Panthers and the Black Lives Matter movement.

The proposed rally is not the only dissent that has risen after her performance. Former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani appeared to be particularly incensed by the reference to Black Lives Matter and described the performance as an attack on the police.

He told Fox News: "I thought it was really outrageous that she used it as a platform to attack police officers who are the people who protect her and protect us, and keep us alive.

"And what we should be doing in the African American community, and all communities, is build up respect for police officers."

Mr Giuliani also believed the Super Bowl was the wrong platform for Beyonce. "This is a political position and she's probably going to take advantage of it," he said. "You're talking to middle America when you have the Super Bowl. So if you're going to have entertainment, let's have decent, wholesome entertainment. And not use it as a platform to attack the people who put their lives at risk just to save us."

Beyonce's perfomance has also drawn widespread praise and one group has planned a counter- protest in support of her.

"When Black women affirm Blackness/Black womanhood, they are attacked and silenced," the group said on Event Brite. "Sisters, dress in your Formation video/ Super Bowl performance-inspired gear and make this a moment a joyous one!

"Allies and friends, show up and show your support! We have asked our biggest stars to get political and Bey went there. Don't let anyone make her powerful statement about the value of Black life be overshadowed by those who don't believe that our lives matter."

The Super Bowl attracts a huge audience and the halftime show is one of its highlights. Last year's Super Bowl averaged 114.2 million viewers in the United States.

Beyonce has yet to comment publicly on the halftime show.

THE GUARDIAN

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 12, 2016, with the headline 'Anti-Beyonce rally planned over 'hate speech''. Print Edition | Subscribe