Wading In The Water: Watch Beyoncé + Kendrick Lamar Perform 'Freedom' At BET Awards
2016 has seen a much more politicized Beyoncé and I think we are all, outside of certain police unions, down with the wave. Tonight at the BET Awards in Los Angeles we witnessed political Beyoncé on full display. As dancers filed through the walkways towards the stage, the voice of Martin Luther King Jr. speaking in 1963 on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, the famed I Have A Dream speech began playing loud on the speakers.
“When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence they were signing a promissory note…This note was a promise that all men, yes, black men as well as white men, would be guaranteed the unalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness…we refuse to believe that the bank of justice is bankrupt…So we have come to cash this check — a check that will give us upon demand the riches of freedom and the security of justice.”
The camera pans to the stage, which is filled with water, where Beyoncé stands barefoot, dead in the middle of a line of dancers. They’re ready. The beat to the song Freedom off of Beyoncé’s newest offering Lemonade begins playing and the unforgettable performance begins. Towards the end, Kendrick Lamar arises, the bars he spits, about reparations for black people through the short hand of 40 acres and a mule, mingle with the water he walks through to great effect. The performance was the perfect way to open up an awards show that would go on to offer multiple Prince tributes and a powerful speech about racism and police brutality by actor Jesse Williams. Beyoncé and Kendrick’s performance was a surprise as it was not made public as others were. Nonetheless it was definitely memorable.
Watch the incredible and very political performance below.