Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : February 10th 2016 Contents A41
Days after the Super Bowl, people are
still parsing over each frame from Bey-
once s halftime performance, trying to
glean the messages, both subtle and
overt, that made for a stunning display
of unapologetic blackness and political
activism during one of the most-
watched events of the year.
The halftime show---seen by an esti-
mated 112 million people---is drawing
praise from her fans and consternation
While Beyonce hasn t commented on
the specifics of the show, and her rep
declined comment, the imagery speaks
for itself. Beyonce s dancers donned
berets, sported Afros and wore all black,
similar to the style of the Black Panther
party, founded 50 years ago by Huey P.
Newton and Bobby Seale in the Bay area---
the location of this year s Super Bowl.
At one point during their routine, the
dancers formed an "X on the field, which
some people are taking as a tribute to
slain black activist Malcolm X.
In addition, Beyoncé and her dancers
raised a fist to the sky, reminiscent of
the black power salutes of the 1960-70s,
made popular internationally by Tommie
Smith and John Carlos, who raised their
fists to the sky after winning gold and
bronze at the 1968 Summer Olympics.
Several people applauded her embrac-
ing the history of black activism and of
her own identity. Her new song "For-
mation," which she sang during her per-
formance, includes the lyrics "I like my
baby hair, with baby hair and Afros. I
like my negro nose with Jackson Five
"I think that you re hard-pressed to
find that demonstrative an example of
performative blackness on stage, on such
a high profile stage," said Damon Young,
editor in chief of the website www.verys-
martbrothas.com , on Monday. "Between
the dancers coming out dressed as Black
Panthers to the lyrics to the song, again
... I can t recall another time you saw
that unambiguousness with a perform-
ance on a large scale."
Melina Abdullah, a Black Lives Matter
activist and leader in California, said it s
wonderful that artists like Beyonce "are
willing to raise social consciousness and
use their artistry to advance social jus-
But not everyone appreciated Beyoncé s
performance. Republican Congressman
Peter King of New York immediately con-
demned Beyoncé for her performance,
saying on Facebook "her pro-Black Pan-
ther and anti-cop video Formation and
her Super Bowl appearance is just one
more example of how acceptable it has
become to be anti-police."
(While there were no direct references
to police on the Super Bowl field, the
video, released Saturday, features a young
black child in a hoodie dancing in front
of a line of police officers, and graffiti
that reads "Stop Shooting Us.")
And all of this comes during heightened
racial tensions across the country, par-
ticularly in regards to allegations of police
brutality. Hollywood is grappling with
issues of race as well, with Spike Lee,
Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith plan-
ning to skip the Academy Awards after
no actors of color received Oscar nom-
inations for a second year in a row.
Lakeyta Bonnette, a Georgia State Uni-
versity political science professor, said
more and more celebrities like Beyonce
are moving toward public activism. In
2014, basketball superstar LeBron James
and other NBA players wore "I can t
breathe" T-shirts to their basketball
games: "I can t breathe" were the last
words of Eric Garner, a black man who
died after a physical altercation with
police in New York City.
But some people have complained that
Beyonce injected politics into a sports
event. On Monday s Fox & Friends, former
New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani
slammed her tributes to black activism
during the halftime show when perform-
ers are "talking to Middle America."
"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,"
said Giuliani, who said he would have
preferred "decent wholesome entertain-
To be fair, it wasn t just Beyoncé that
the 71-year old Giuliani didn t like. He
called the whole halftime show "ridicu-
"I don t know what the heck it was.
A bunch of people bouncing around and
all strange things. It was terrible," he said.
"Actually don t even know why we have
this. I mean, this is football."
..for Beyonce's Super Bowl show
Beyoncé performs during halftime of the NFL Super Bowl 50 American football match between the
Denver Broncos and the Carolina Panthers, Sunday in Santa Clara, California. AP PHOTO
Nevada sportsbooks are smiling a day after
they took in a record US$132.5 million in
wagers on the Super Bowl.
"It was a very good day," Johnny Avello,
executive director of the sports book at Wynn
Las Vegas, said Monday.
"A defensive battle was something we
were rooting for and fortunately, that's
exactly what it was," added Jay Kornegay, the
odds maker at the Westgate Las Vegas
A 5.5-point underdog at the casinos,
Denver upset Carolina 24-10 --- a total well
below the over-under projection of between
44 and 45. Carolina quarterback Cam Newton
was the overwhelming favourite to win this
year's MVP, but he failed to score and
watched Denver linebacker Von Miller take
the honour at 12-1 odds.
Odds makers said gamblers bet heavily on
the Panthers in the weeks ahead of the game.
The Nevada Gaming Control Board said in
its preliminary estimate Monday that
Nevada's 194 sports books kept about 10.1
percent of the US$132.5 million in Super Bowl
wagers, for a total win of US$13.3 million.
This year marked the first time Nevada
sportsbooks could accept bets on the MVP.
Record US$132.5m bet on Super Bowl in Vegas
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