Saturday Night Live once again provides on-the-nose commentary, with their sketch called “The Day Beyoncé Turned Black.”
Working off of the coverage of the singer’s newest song and music video “Formation,” actors in the comedy sketch look aghast when they realize the song is about black culture and issues.
The sketch aired on the Feb. 13 episode of SNL. Styled as a horror film trailer, the video opens with cliché background music and a shot of a happy couple in their kitchen, a woman jogging outside, and three coworkers laughing in an office, all white. The music grows ominous and the scene changes to a montage of news channels reporting on Beyoncé’s latest work, calling it an homage to “her black heritage” and “unapologetically black.” The tension grows as a woman watching these headlines roll across her TV rises from her chair and frantically calls her husband.
“Honey, get in here.”
Her husband walks in. “What’s wrong?”
“Beyoncé is black.”
The rest of the video shows white Beyoncé fans rioting and falling apart as they all realize what race their beloved artist is. The black actors on SNL all watch the panic escalate with disgust.
This SNL sketch illustrates how Beyoncé’s race and career don’t always connect in listeners’ heads. Former New York mayor Rudy Giulani expressed his anger over her new single on Fox & Friends Feb. 8, saying “This is football, not Hollywood, and I thought it was really outrageous that she used it as a platform to attack police officers who are the people who protect her and protect us, and keep us alive. And what we should be doing in the African-American community, and all communities, is build up respect for police officers. And focus on the fact that when something does go wrong, okay. We’ll work on that. But the vast majority of police officers risk their lives to keep us safe.”
His comments are not unique; after she released her single, the hashtag #BoycottBeyonce sprang up on Twitter, from outraged people who said her song was “anti-police.”
Her fans were quick to respond:
As Kate McKinnon says in the video, “Beyoncé is black? But what about ‘Single Ladies?'”
Kenan Thompson: “She was black in that.”