Boycott Beyonce - police unions in call for action after Super Bowl show
Published 20/02/2016 | 03:41
Police unions in the US are calling on officers to boycott Beyonce and refuse to volunteer to provide security at her gigs.
Their action follows her Super Bowl half-time show and new video, and they are claiming her work contains "anti-police" messages.
Unions in Miami and Tampa in Florida, and Nashville, Tennessee, are either calling for officers to boycott her music or urging them not volunteer to work at her shows.
Javier Ortiz, president of the Miami union, said: "Beyonce used this year's Super Bowl to divide Americans by promoting the Black Panthers and her anti-police message shows how she does not support law enforcement."
The Super Bowl half-time show - seen by an estimated 112 million people - drew praise from her fans and consternation from critics.
It was a display of unapologetic blackness and political activism.
Beyonce's dancers donned berets, sported Afros and wore all black, similar to the style of the Black Panther party that was founded 50 years ago in the Bay area - the location of the Super Bowl.
At one point during their routine, the dancers formed an "X'' on the field, which some people took as a tribute to black activist Malcolm X, who was murdered in 1965.
Tampa Police Benevolent Association President Vincent Gericitano posted a statement on the group's website saying it was "disgusted" with the Super Bowl show and "equally disgusted" with her new music video.
The video for Formation invokes the Hurricane Katrina tragedy in New Orleans and includes a shot of the singer lying on top of a police cruiser overtaken by flood waters.
It also references the Black Lives Matter movement with police standing in riot gear and the words "stop shooting us" spray-painted on a wall.
The tour kicks off with a sold-out show in Miami on April 27, and Beyonce plays Tampa two days later.
Tampa Police spokeswoman Andrea Davis said there is no indication that officers are not taking the extra-duty, voluntary shifts to provide security for the concert.
"This has been blown way out of proportion," she said.
Tampa Police even tweeted a GIF of Beyonce with the statement: "What?! @TampaPD officers have been in #formation for days signing up to keep the #Beehive safe! #Truth #Fact".
Miami Police spokesman Lieutenant Freddie Cruz said the extra-duty shifts for the concert will be "open for officers to sign up. Whether they sign up, it's up to them".
In Nashville, the chapter of the Fraternal Order of Police asked members to not volunteer for Beyonce's concert there in May.