Queen Bey is no stranger to accolades, especially where her music videos are concerned. However, her latest recognition might just top all of the others.
Rolling Stone has just released its list of the 100 greatest music videos of all time and Beyoncé took the number one slot with her video for “Formation.”
A surprise release that debuted in the first week of Black History Month in 2016, “Formation” dropped the day before her Super Bowl 50 Halftime Show performance.
“If Beyoncé’s self-titled visual album established her as one of the greatest artists of all time, her surprise-released ‘Formation’ video (and ensuing album Lemonade) marked her as one of the most important,” Rolling Stone declared.
Directed by Melina Matsoukas, the video drew inspiration from seminal Black figures in history and also addressed the “historical impact of slavery on black love, and what it has done to the black family,” as Matsoukas described it to The New Yorker in 2017.
“I wanted to show — this is black people,” Matsoukas added. “We triumph, we suffer, we’re drowning, we’re being beaten, we’re dancing, we’re eating, and we’re still here.”
The video was replete with striking visuals that had unambiguous social messages — Beyoncé atop a sinking police car in New Orleans; a wall spray-painted with the words, “stop shooting us” — and also became a pop culture touchstone (“I got hot sauce in my bag, swag” et al.).
So in a way, 2009 Kanye West was both right and a prophet. Beyoncé really did create the greatest music video of all time.