TV One invited Sho Baraka on its show NewsOne Now this week to share his perspective on Beyoncé and Kendrick Lamar taking advantage of their enormous platforms at the Super Bowl and Grammy Awards “to speak to black issues.”
Beyoncé performed her new song “Formation,” the music video of which references police brutality, at the halftime show of Super Bowl 50 and used backup dancers dressed like Black Panther Party members in the 1960s. Kendrick Lamar walked on stage at the 2016 Grammy Awards to perform his To Pimp A Butterfly track “The Blacker the Berry” dressed like a prisoner in chains.
“I think it’s a huge commentary on where popular artists are going right now,” Sho Baraka said. “It shows that they’re willing to take the risk and not necessarily pander to a majority white audience, but that there’s rewards socially from their fan bases. There’s also a reward emotionally, I’m sure, but that also it could also be a financial reward in being able to communicate this black conscious thought in music.