Beyoncé Speaks out Against ‘Formation’ Criticism, Says the Record Label Underestimated Destiny’s Child

Y’all haters corny if you think that you can put words in Beyoncé‘s mouth.

Beyoncé is speaking out against critics who claim that the music video for her latest single, “Formation”, is a movement against the brave men and women that serve and protect our country. Though the video addresses unjust police brutality, the singer tells ELLE magazine that her grievances are pointed — not universal.

“I mean, I’m an artist and I think the most powerful art is usually misunderstood. But anyone who perceives my message as anti-police is completely mistaken,” says Knowles. “I have so much admiration and respect for officers and the families of officers who sacrifice themselves to keep us safe. But let’s be clear: I am against police brutality and injustice. Those are two separate things.”

Beyonce-elle-magazine-4516-1
CREDIT: Paola Kudacki for ELLE Magazine

She isn’t, however, backing down from the pride for her culture exhibited by the song. “If celebrating my roots and culture during Black History Month made anyone uncomfortable, those feelings were there long before a video and long before me,” she says.

“I’m proud of what we created and I’m proud to be part of a conversation that is pushing things forward in a positive way.”

Though proud of her activism through art, Knowles refuses to be labeled by a cause. “I don’t want calling myself a feminist to make it feel like that’s my one priority, over racism or sexism or anything else. I’m just exhausted by labels and tired of being boxed in,” she continues. “If you believe in equal rights, the same way society allows a man to express his darkness, to express his pain, to express his sexuality, to express his opinion—I feel that women have the same rights.”

Knowles also reflects on the first time she realized the breadth of her power, which she notes as the period right after Destiny’s Child released their debut album.

“The label didn’t really believe we were pop stars. They underestimated us, and because of that, they allowed us to write our own songs and write our own video treatments,” she says. “It wasn’t a conscious thing. It was because we had a vision for ourselves and nobody really cared to ask us what our vision was. So we created it on our own, and once it was successful, I realized that we had the power to create whatever vision we wanted for ourselves.”

Read Beyoncé’s cover story in its entirety over on ELLE.com before it hits newsstands on Apr. 6, and launch the gallery at the top of the page to view photos from the spread.

rs_634x903-160404090806-634.beyonce-elle-uk-cover.4416
CREDIT: Paola Kudacki for 'ELLE' Magazine