Last week, just hours after the Super Bowl, a number of Eventbrite pages flew up calling for a protest of the NFL’s decision to air Beyoncé’s performance of her new song “Formation.”
“We encourage any and everyone who supports the police to show up and march around the block of the NFL headquarters on this day,” one organizer explained. “Let’s show the world that it’s not necessary to be disruptive to America while conveying an effective message to the masses.”
Anti-Beyoncé protestors were told to avoid wearing black Tuesday morning (“because The BeyHive counter-protesters will be dressed in all black attire”) to gather outside of the NFL headquarters in Midtown Manhattan.
While the events’ organizers predicted “masses” to turn out, at first there only seemed to be people there who were firmly on team “Formation.”
Soon, though, a lone-protestor showed up and the BeyHive quickly swarmed.
The first protestor, a man named Jimmy Halten, said that he hadn’t actually seen any of the Eventbrites organizing the protest, but that he saw the crowd of BeyHive members dressed on his way to work and wanted to see what all the fuss was about.
“I believe that all lives matter,” Halten explained to the crowd of anti-anti Beyoncé protestors that surrounded him. “It’s not just that black lives matter, it’s not just that white lives matter, it’s not just that Asian lives matter. All lives matter and that’s the problem.”
Halten was also quick to admit that he hadn’t seen Beyoncé’s Half Time Show performance, something the protestors took him to task for.
“We need an informed hater,” Andrea Gould announced to the laughing crowd. “He’s the only one that showed up and he didn’t even watch the Superbowl.”
Not long after Halten made his exit, another protestor, Ariel Kohane, arrived on the other side of the block with a different reason for showing up.
Kohane, who was decidedly quieter than Halten, said that his decision to protest Beyoncé was driven by his perception that Beyoncé’s invoked Black Panther imagery during her performance. Instead of “engaging in constructive criticism,” he said, Beyoncé’s video was calling for violence against police officers.
When Kohane said that he’d never seen the video for or heard “Formation,” Gould asked him why he even chose to show up.
“Because I saw the Eventbrite,” he replied.
Cherno Biko, a pro-Beyoncé demonstrator who shouted down both Kohane and Halten when she got a chance, insisted that the only words she had for anyone who wasn’t down with Beyoncé or formation was that “Black lives mattered. That’s all.”