Beyoncé Is Not Going to Apologize for Criticizing Police Brutality

April 5th 2016

Taylor Bell

Beyoncé is not anti-police, but she's not sorry for criticizing police brutality.

That's the simple message that she sent in a newly released interview with ELLE magazine, in response to criticisms of her "Formation" music video and subsequent Super Bowl performance.

The video addressed head-on the killing of unarmed Black youth by police officers, and the halftime performance offered an unabashed tribute to the Black Panther Party.


A photo posted by Beyoncé (@beyonce) on

In response, critics called the pop star "anti-police," while others planned to boycott her world tour.

In the interview Bey addressed her critics and clarified that her work was never meant to be an attack on police officers.

"I mean, I'm an artist and I think the most powerful art is usually misunderstood. But anyone who perceives my message as anti-police is completely mistaken. I have so much admiration and respect for officers and the families of officers who sacrifice themselves to keep us safe."

At the same time, Bey didn't necessarily apologize. The singer expressed her gratitude at being able to highlight social issues that affect the Black community.

"But let's be clear: I am against police brutality and injustice. Those are two separate things. If celebrating my roots and culture during Black History Month made anyone uncomfortable, those feelings were there long before a video and long before me. I'm proud of what we created and I'm proud to be a part of a conversation that is pushing things forward in a positive way."

According to a 2015 Gallup poll, just 30 percent of Blacks have confidence in police officers. That percentage might be lower given the highly publicized police shootings of unarmed Black teenagers Michael Brown and Trayvon Martin and the many others that have followed in recent years.

Beyoncé alluded to these issues in her "Formation" video. In one scene, the camera pans across a line of policemen in riot gear raising their hands in response to a Black child dancing in front of them. The scene is a nod to the popular Black Lives Matter rallying cry "hands up, don't shoot." The phrase originated after Brown was shot to death by Ferguson Police Department officer Darren Wilson, who was not charged with any crime for the killing.

This issue of ELLE magazine featuring Beyoncé hits newsstands in select cities April 6 but will be available nationwide April 19.

You can watch Beyoncé "Formation" video here: