Former ESPN VP Rips 'Out of Touch' Critics of Beyonce's Halftime Show

Roxanne Jones sang the praises of Beyonce in a Tuesday op-ed on CNN.com for her "perfectly timed, bold, Black Panther-inspired halftime tribute." Jones touted how the "pop icon used her star power to shine a light on the problem of race in America," and how the Super Bowl halftime show forwarded "a vision of an America that I aspire to live in one day." She later attacked the singer's critics for not only being "out of touch with a lot more than sports," but also being "out of touch with America. They act as if....systematic racism doesn't exist in America."

Jones led her piece, "Beyonce: Right voice, right time," by likening the headliner to one of the NFL stars at the Super Bowl: "Unapologetically black, that is the attitude that Beyonce -- and to a large degree Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton -- brought to Super Bowl 50...Bey and her perfectly timed, bold, Black Panther-inspired halftime tribute was a beautiful thing to behold. It was everything."

The former ESPN vice president toted how "without asking for permission, Beyonce redefined what it means for a celebrity to command the stage while the whole world is watching...the 34-year-old pop icon used her star power to shine a light on the problem of race in America....Beyonce dared to use the nation's most-viewed event as a platform to shout #blacklivesmatter. "

Jones channeled an infamous remark by First Lady Michelle Obama as she continued her tribute to Beyonce:

...For a minute, watching Beyonce and those strong black women sporting black berets and big afros march out onto the field, I forgot I was watching a Super Bowl performance. For the first time I felt like I wasn't just a spectator of the game but that the game had become a part of my black experience in America....

Add in the pro-LGBTQ messaging of Coldplay's performance and the soulful rendition of Lady Gaga, who has long stood with the gay community, belting out the national anthem, and you have a vision of an America that I aspire to live in one day. A nation where equality and justice aren't just reflected in the words we recite, but in our everyday interactions with one another....

The writer continueed that "it is a vision of America that still scares some people," and then launched her attack on the singer's detractors:

So predictably, the Beyonce bashers were out in force, calling the halftime performance politically charged, an assault on police officers, scandalous. "This is football, not Hollywood," former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani complained later, showing just how out of touch he is with sports culture. The truth is the star-studded, billion-dollar industry that is the NFL merged with Hollywood long ago.

The problem is that Giuliani and those critics are out of touch with a lot more than sports. They are out of touch with America. They act as if the devastation of Hurricane Katrina, which disproportionately affected poor blacks, didn't happen on American soil. As if, far too many unarmed black men and boys haven't been shot and killed by police officers on American soil. As if, systematic racism doesn't exist in America. And, as if we don't have a right to protest this brutality and demand law enforcement reforms by proclaiming #blacklivesmatter. Like it or not, Giuliani, Beyonce's message was right on time.

Near the end of her op-ed, Jones underlined that "in our pop culture-crazed, message-driven world, there's no denying celebrity voices can influence the lives of many. Celebrities such as Beyonce, Lady Gaga and Bruno Mars are part of a refreshing generation of famous voices who are showing that fame can and should be used to push for social justice. " She added one more line of praise for Beyonce: "So I say, thank you Queen Bey, for having the creative courage to join the fight for justice. You slayed."

Matthew Balan
Matthew Balan
Matthew Balan is a news analyst at Media Research Center