Since I live in Colorado, it probably won’t surprise you to learn that I’m a Denver Broncos fan. I had been watching Peyton Manning and listening to many of his interviews, and he always came across to me as a class act. So, on Sunday, I was able to watch the entire Super Bowl and cheer for No. 18 and the rest of Coach Gary Kubiak’s chosen few. Yes, I went to bed feeling very happy. Except:
While I applaud the Super Bowl’s decision makers’ choice of Coldplay for the primary halftime act, I was once again shaking my head that Bruno Mars and Beyoncé were asked back. For millions, getting the Super Bowl gig is synonymous with endorsing who they are, the music they perform and the lyrical messages they “preach.”
When Beyoncé and her dancers took the stage with their black leather get-ups and began their sensual dance moves, my wife put her dismay in the form of a question: “Hon, how would you feel if our daughter were one of those dancers?” Of course, she knows how I feel, but I answered her anyway.
In case you missed it, Beyoncé and her crew sang “Formation,” a track that Time magazine describes thusly:
This song is all about the pleasures of having a black female body and owning it. “Cocky fresh” Bey calls her black feminist aesthetic. Cocky, as in enjoying pleasure with a sense of controlling her own sexuality that’s usually reserved for men: “When he f— me good, I take his a– to Red Lobster, ’cause I slay” she sings, letting us know having good sex is all about flexing her power in a relationship. She slays while he has to scramble to earn post-sex rewards.
Note that Beyoncé’s Super Bowl version was somewhat cleaner. But given the praise that her halftime performance earned, it’s clear that many believe that Time thinks Beyoncé’s message to young women (and men) about using sex for leverage is something positive and freeing. I can’t tell you how strongly I disagree. I’m still in the old-school camp that believes sex is a wonderful gift from God to be enjoyed in the marriage bed, not as a way to exert power over someone.
And although Bruno Mars is incredibly talented, and his performance was throttled back from a lot of what he’s known for, he, like Beyoncé, often peddles sleaze, drugs and booze. People who liked his halftime sound wouldn’t need to go too far into his musical output before they’d run headlong into some pretty serious content issues.
It seems to me that there are hundreds if not thousands of talented musicians in the world. And that we’d send a much better message to our fellow citizens (and global audience) if we chose more Chris Martins (Coldplay) and fewer (as in zero) Beyoncés and Brunos. Wouldn’t it make the Super Bowl that much more super?!