CBS Uses Beyonce Super Bowl Performance to Cheer Her Black Lives Matter Activism

Monday’s CBS This Morning applauded Beyonce using the “global stage” of the Super Bowl halftime show “to showcase the political message of her latest single” and hailed the singer’s new album making “a powerful statement on both racism and police brutality.”

Correspondent Michelle Miller offered a rave review: “Beyonce came on, and came on strong. Her song is called Formation. And some say it marks a transformation for Beyonce, from more than just an artist who makes hits, to an activist who makes statements.”

Touting the music video for the song, Miller explained: “Imagery that evokes Hurricane Katrina, with Beyonce being submerged on top of a sinking police cruiser. We see graffiti reading, ‘Stop Shooting Us,’ and an image reminiscent of Trayvon Martin.”

The reporter also promoted Beyonce and her rapper husband funding the Black Lives Matter movement: “A day before the video’s release, the music streaming service Tidal, run by Beyonce’s husband Jay-Z, announced a one and a half million dollar donation to Back Lives Matter and other social justice groups.”

The celebratory segment concluded with a fawning soundbite from Yale African American Studies Professor Daphne Brooks, who dramatically declared: “This is an unprecedented moment in popular music culture. Never before have we seen a pop icon, especially an African-American woman, use her platform as a musician, as a celebrity, in order to make some of the boldest, most ferocious, most inspiring political statements about the black freedom struggle.”

Following Miller’s report, co-host Gayle King gushed: “You know, I think she likes to do unprecedented moments. And you know, when you look at video and see what she’s saying.”

Despite the on-screen headline asserting, “Beyonce’s Stand; Singer Makes a Statement With Halftime Performance,” fellow co-host Charlie Rose pointed out the activism was really in the music video, not the Super Bowl appearance: “But the video is where the political activism is?” King replied: “Yes, very much so. Very much so.”

Even so, CBS went out of it’s way to try to politicize the event.  

Here is a full transcript of the February 8 report:

7:19 AM ET TEASE:

NORAH O’DONNELL: Beyonce's stage-stealing Super Bowl performance carried a powerful political message. Ahead, how her guest appearance in the halftime show became a headlining act.

7:32 AM ET SEGMENT:

NORAH O’DONNELL: The Super Bowl halftime show capped a huge week for Beyonce. Her epic performance dazzled the audience and sparked a lot of buzz.

GAYLE KING: She performed her new single, it’s called Formation. It’s a high-powered song with a strong message. Michelle Miller is at Levi Stadium in Santa Clara with Queen B’s turn toward political activism. Michelle, good morning.

MICHELLE MILLER: Good morning. No question that Coldplay and Bruno Mars rocked the house last night, but you said it, Beyonce, she just simply blew everyone away. Surprising her fans by dropping her latest single and its music video on Saturday. It made a powerful statement on both racism and police brutality.

[ON-SCREEN HEADLINE: Beyonce’s Stand; Singer Makes a Statement With Halftime Performance]

Coldplay headlined, with a little help from Bruno Mars. ET's Kevin Frazier caught up with Coldplay's Chris Martin after his performance.

KEVIN FRAZIER [ENTERTAINMENT TONIGHT]: How do you top this feeling?

CHRIS MARTIN [COLDPLAY]: I don't think it's possible.

MILLER: But then, Beyonce came on, and came on strong. Her song is called Formation. And some say it marks a transformation for Beyonce, from more than just an artist who makes hits, to an activist who makes statements.

[At Super Bowl] Beyonce didn't officially headline this year's halftime, but as a guest performer, she used this global stage to showcase the political message of her latest single. That message unmistakable, especially in Formation's music video. Imagery that evokes Hurricane Katrina, with Beyonce being submerged on top of a sinking police cruiser. We see graffiti reading, "Stop Shooting Us," and an image reminiscent of Trayvon Martin.

A day before the video’s release, the music streaming service Tidal, run by Beyonce’s husband Jay-Z, announced a one and a half million dollar donation to Back Lives Matter and other social justice groups.

DAPHNE BROOKS [YALE AFRICAN AMERICAN STUDIES PROFESSOR]: This is an unprecedented moment in popular music culture. Never before have we seen a pop icon, especially an African-American woman, use her platform as a musician, as a celebrity, in order to make some of the boldest, most ferocious, most inspiring political statements about the black freedom struggle.

MILLER: Now Formation tops the Twitter – Billboard Twitter trending charts. It is the most shared song in the past 24 hours. We should also note that Beyonce just announced that she has taken her song on the road, her message on the road. She is getting ready for this world tour that begins in April. Now, of course, you can see more of Kevin's interview tonight on Entertainment Tonight.

KING: I can't wait for the tour. You know, I think she likes to do unprecedented moments. And you know, when you look at video and see what she’s saying. And the people at Red Lobster, you gotta see the video, they’re doing a hula about that. There’s a little line in there, too. It’s a great video.

CHARLIE ROSE: But the video is where the political activism is?

KING: Yes, very much so. Very much so. We thank you, Michelle.

Kyle Drennen
Kyle Drennen
Kyle Drennen is a News Analyst for MRC