To be fair, Coldplay gave it their eager best. Lead singer Chris Martin started the proceedings on the field, surrounded by fans, and then performed songs like “Viva La Vida” and “Adventure of a Lifetime” with a giant grin on his face and a hyperactive spring in his step.
Then, 2014 Super Bowl headliner Bruno Mars slid out to perform songwriter Mark Ronson’s “Uptown Funk” with a slick line of dancers. It looked great; unfortunately the audio was so mangled that viewers at home could barely hear anything above the screaming crowds. Still, both Martin and Mars seemed to be having a hell of a time.
And then the drumline parted, and there was Beyoncé. But there was far more behind Beyoncé’s performance of her brand new single “Formation” than her shutting down the dance floor
Beyoncé was widely tipped to be preparing to make a deeply political statement with her Super Bowl show after releasing a surprise single and video, Formation, on Saturday, which referenced both Hurricane Katrina and the recent mass protests across the US over police killings of unarmed young black men.
The video shows Beyoncé sitting on top of a police car and includes scenes showing a young black boy dancing in front of lines of riot police, who put their hands up, before cutting to a wall of graffiti that reads: “Stop shooting us.”
And Bey’s Super Bowl performance followed right in the video’s footsteps. Beyoncé emerged, flanked by black women back-up dancers with fros and Black Panther-adjacent uniforms, and clad in a jacket that echoed another iconic black performer: Michael Jackson, circa 1993.
With references to the Black Lives Matter movement, Malcolm X and the Black Panthers, Beyoncé’s half-time show at the Super Bowl on Sunday might be the most radical political statement from the superstar in her 20-year career.
Backing dancers wearing Black Panther-style berets and clad in black leather were photographed after the performance posing with raised fists evocative of the black power salute by Tommie Smith and John Carlos at the 1968 Olympic Games in Mexico City.
The visual homage, 50 years after the formation of the radical civil rights group, came just days after Beyonce’s husband Jay-Z announced that he would donate $1.5m (£1m) raised at a charity concert run by his streaming service Tidal last year to the Black Lives Matter movement and other social justice organisations.
The Denver Bronchos defeated the favorited Carolina Panthers at the highly entertaining match which was watched by millions around the globe.
Watch Beyonce’s video for Formation: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LrCHz1gwzTo&feature=youtu.be