A panel of African-American CNN guests broke out in laughter when another guest suggested Beyonce’s song and video for “Formation” is racist.
The mega-star upset some people — particularly conservatives and police officer unions — with a Super Bowl half-time performance of her song which talks about her pride in her black heritage and also uses imagery from black history, including the Black Panthers and references to the Black Lives Matter movement.
Former NYPD detective Harry Houck joined CNN host Don Lemon’s panel on the issue and said he thought the video advocated violence against police officers and was racist, eliciting a chuckle from his fellow panelists, Nischelle Turner, Bakari Sellers, and Kierny Mayo.
“Well, it was also racist,” Houck said when asked by Lemon if he thought the video, which features graffiti that says, “Stop shooting us,” is anti-police.
The other guests had trouble suppressing their laughter.
Houck then said Beyonce is a supporter of the Black Liberation Army, a now-defunct black nationalist group.
Sellers said he considers Houck a friend but responded that his statement about Beyonce’s video being racist was laughable.
“I wish Harry and others were as vocal when we have young African-American men who die at the hands of police officers for committing crimes that they should not be sentenced to death for,” he said. “That being said, I think that Beyonce, like myself, like Nischelle, like Kierny, even like you Harry, we all agree that police officers go out every day and they serve and protect and they do so with such honor. However there is a very, very specific pain that is felt by African-Americans that Beyonce and Kendrick Lamar are speaking to right now.”
Houck then said the “real issue” is “black-on-black crime.”