arts

COLUMN: Amy Schumer’s 'Formation' video solidifies her racism



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Amy Schumer at the 21st Annual Critics' Choice Awards on Jan. 17, 2016 in Los Angeles. (Buckner/Rex Shutterstock/Zuma Press/TNS) Buckner/Rex Shutterstock and Buckner/Rex Shutterstock

Six months after its release, Beyoncé’s “Lemonade” still reigns as one of the greatest masterpieces and most important pop musical artworks of the last 20 years. Without a doubt, it is the best produced album of 2016.

It was exactly what an album should be — not a bland playlist with a random mix of tracks, but an artistic and cultural experience, each song flowing in and out of each other like a kaleidoscopic view of our society.

While I myself am not a member of the black community, I do recognize as much as I can the gravity and devotion many of its members hold for both Beyoncé and this record.

It was an album that in a lot of ways spoke exclusively to them and helped empower them.

Apparently, Amy Schumer didn’t get the memo.

On Oct. 21, Schumer posted a video to Tidal featuring her, Goldie Hawn, Joan Cusack and Wanda Sykes recreating the popular music video to Beyoncé’s “Formation,” a track on “Lemonade.”

While the video did have women of color participating, it was very clear this anthem for black women was whitewashed and almost seemed mocking of their culture.

Of course, women of color and the Twitter community at large backlashed hard, starting the hashtag “#AmySchumerGottaGoParty.”

“#FormationParody is a garbage piece of ‘comedy’ done by a garbage comedienne, ‘sometimes feminist’ Amy Schumer #AmySchumerGottaGoParty,” one tweeter said.

“Amy Schumer is a talentless joke thief. She’s made her career off of stealing from other people. #amyschumergottagoparty,” another tweeter said.

Last Friday, Schumer posted an essay on Medium defending her video and emphasizing her love for both Beyoncé and 
“Lemonade.”

“I love how in the lyrics of ‘Formation’ Beyoncé is telling us to get in formation,” Schumer said in the essay. “And also I like to think she is telling us ladies to get information.”

How could she possibly watch a nearly five-minute video full of black women with lyrics like “My daddy Alabama, momma Louisiana / You mix that negro with that Creole, make a Texas bama” and think it was about her?

The worst part about the whole essay is Schumer never once apologizes for how her video affected others. She didn’t seem to 
even care.

But this is nothing new. In Schumerland, everything is about her, and all jokes on race are fair play. In her stand-up act, she has made fun of black names and how “crazy” Latina women are.

“Nothing works 100 percent of the time, except Mexicans,” Schumer said during one of her routines.

She also insisted that she “understands” racism simply because she saw the movie “Jungle Fever.”

You know, because white privilege.

It’s female comics like her that give a bad name to all of them and really pushes back women’s rights a couple of movements.

To be fair, I do personally enjoy some of Schumer’s comedy. But I do agree Schumer’s stand-up depends way too heavily on the detriment of others, especially women of color.

If the video isn’t bad enough, remember that Jay-Z owns a portion of Tidal, and Schumer wrote in the essay both he and Beyoncé approved of the video before it was released.

They didn’t just green-light Schumer’s racism, but probably capitalized on it.

Because of this, I’m actually more upset with how Beyoncé fans are allowing their “Queen Bey” off the hook for this and instead deciding to attack Schumer with all their force.

Also, despite the numerous hashtags telling her otherwise, Schumer made clear in her essay she has no plans on leaving the comedy world anytime soon.

“My mission is to continue to work as hard as I can to empower women and make them laugh and feel better and I won’t let anything stop me,” Schumer said.

Not even your own stupidity, I guess.

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