Trees STARSEED. One thing I learned: black culture's attitude toward sexuality is different from mine. Thank God. A lifetime of prejudices which I wish I did not have, from growing up as a white girl in Cleveland, a perfectly segregated city where black people burned their own neighborhoods my first year in college, as a member of the white middle class, looking at "other" with a mixture of shame for my white cohort's actions and lack of understanding for the different dialects, the different moves, the different hair-- fell away as I watched this video. Yes, the moves. (Of course you could say Beyonce does not represent all...blah blah. That is not the point. It is the energy and I am trying my best to convey this.) I got it. I love it. I know now, I learned from Beyonce what it is to be powerful and black and beautiful . Then I saw it in the faces of all the other people in the video.
Every moment of the video is exquisitely crafted. From the sinking cop car in the bayou where it starts out, through the streets of the partially submerged black section of New Orleans, to the black revelers at Mardi Gras. These are things that are seen from the inside, not through the protective glass window of the usual perspective we see on the news. Beyonce dances in an antebellum mansion where her ancestors served white people. She sits in the parlour, dressed in outrageous southern belle finery, surrounded by some of the most unapologetically beautiful black women I have ever seen. The camera flashes to ornate gold-framed paintings on the mansion wall; one is of a black tribal chieftain surrounded by his advisors; the other is a black noblewoman who looks right at you. Beyonce dances with her backup women in their natural afros. The dancing little girl in the white pinafore is Beyonce's daughter. Same power, same pride, same knowledge of who she is. Then there is the little black boy, looks to be about 5 or 6, dancing like Michael Jackson in front of a line of heavily-armed policeman. He holds up his hands. They hold up their hands. Flash to a red scrawled wall graffitti, "Stop Shooting Us!" Flash to a man holding up a tabloid with a photo of Martin Luther King on the cover. Next to the photo in small print the headline reads, "What was the real legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King and why was a revolutionary recast as an acceptable Negro leader?" The dancers dance. The black congregation dances. The black middle aged woman Mardi Gras marcher dances. Starseed.