Beyonce drops surprise new song and video ahead of Super Bowl 50 performance
Beyonce has unveiled her first single since 2014 in advance of her performance at Sunday night's Super Bowl 50 halftime show.
The singer offered a free download of her new song Formation on Tidal, the subscription-based music streaming service owned by her husband Jay-Z, on Saturday afternoon.
The video is also available on YouTube and is one of her most politically-charged films yet, one that packs a powerful punch of cultural and personal commentary.
Filmed in New Orleans, it features a heady mix of 19th and 20th century aesthetics, with nods to the Black Lives Matter movement, police brutality in the US, Hurricane Katrina and her husband's music empire.
The video shows a police cruiser submerged in flooded streets, frills and fans in an old city mansion, take-out Southern crawfish and riot police, a southern gothic funeral, and an 80s-style dance routine in a gymnasium.
Beyonce even makes the video a family affair by including her daughter, Blue Ivy, in the video, teaching her to "slay" at an early age.
Jenna Wortham, a staff writer for the New York Times Magazine, said: "As always, a Beyoncé surprise drop operates across multiple vectors, and “Formation” isn’t just about police brutality — it’s about the entirety of the black experience in America in 2016, which includes standards of beauty, (dis)empowerment, culture and the shared parts of our history."
Beyonce’s Super Bowl appearance on Sunday will be her second on the main stage. She and Destiny’s Child performed Crazy in Love, Single Ladies as well as Bootylicious and Independent Women in 2013.