The song and corresponding video address themes of black pride and culture, as well as honor the Black Lives Matter movement. But some people believe the song has an anti-police message, especially following her Super Bowl halftime performance during which her dancers paid respects to the Black Panthers, a black nationalist organization formed in 1966.
In an interview with Elle – her first in-depth interview in years – the Grammy-winning artist addressed the controversy surrounding her latest single and the real meaning behind it.
“I mean, I’m an artist and I think the most powerful art is usually misunderstood,” Beyoncé said. “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 the officers who sacrifice themselves to keeps us safe. But let’s be clear: I am against police brutality and injustice. Those are two separate things.”
She added that if anyone was bothered by the message, it was due to racism.
“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,” she said. “I’m proud of what we created and I’m proud to be part of a conversation that is pushing things forward in a positive way.”
In the interview, Beyoncé also opened up about partnering with Topshop for her athleisure line, Ivy Park, and the meaning of feminism.
Elle’s May 2016 issue is currently available on digital services, will be sold in select cities starting April 6, and will be released nationwide April 19.