Beyoncé delivered an instantly memorable performance at the Super Bowl halftime show Sunday night, and that wasn’t only because she performed “Formation,” the song she released the day before. The star appeared on the field with a cadre of backing dancers who dressed in attire that paid tribute to the Black Panthers and, by extension, the Black Lives Matter movement that Beyoncé sings about on the new cut.
— The Dream Defenders (@Dreamdefenders) February 8, 2016
The dancers who appeared with Beyoncé wore berets similar to ones worn by members of the Black Panthers. In a photo captured off field, the dancers raised their fists in a clear homage to Tommie Smith and John Carlos, the American track stars who did the same in a medal ceremony at the 1968 Olympics.
Beyoncé’s crew also made a political statement outside of the performance when some of them held up a sign that read “Justice 4 Mario Woods.” San Francisco police shot and killed the 26-year-old Woods in December, and video footage of the incident has raised questions about the necessity of the use of force. (Super Bowl 50 was held in Santa Clara, California, a suburb of San Francisco.)
— Jamilah King (@jamilahking) February 8, 2016
Beyoncé announced her Formation World Tour after the show and began the #BeyGOOD initiative to ask fans to donate to the United Way of Genesee County to benefit residents of Flint, Michigan.
For more on the Super Bowl 50 halftime show, check out EW’s review.