By Nitsuh Abebe. It’s not as if I made some principled choice not to listen to it. It’s just that Beyoncé released “Formation”, and then performed it at the Super Bowl, and I hadn’t gotten around to it, for reasons that are incredibly uninteresting: I happened to have been doing other stuff, which seems as if it’s probably among my rights as an American.
By then, though, the song had become such an intense focus of discussion at the digital water cooler — to the point where it felt difficult to turn on a computer without someone’s views about “Formation” and its various sociopolitical valences reaching out and grasping for your throat — that my not having heard it acquired some kind of political dimension.
A decision had to be made. Either I needed to dutifully consume this object of conversation and develop an opinion about it or I needed to develop a defense of why I hadn’t yet done so. The point being: Here, for a moment, was music that actively dragooned me into paying attention to it, based not primarily on sound, performance or composition, but on the rolling snowball of perspectives, close readings and ideological disputes accreting around it, click HERE to read the rest of the Interview