On Friday, Amy Schumer released a video on Tidal of her, Goldie Hawn, Wanda Sykes, and Joan Cusack lip-syncing to Beyoncé’s “Formation” while filming a movie—presumably the untitled comedy about a mother and daughter who get kidnapped while on vacation in Brazil. While not necessarily a parody that pokes fun at Beyoncé or the song, it is all based around having fun with the song in the sense that it involves Schumer and her co-stars goofing around:
The video didn’t make a huge splash on its own at first, but as it spread over the weekend, social media users started accusing Schumer of cultural appropriation and of being disrespectful to the racial politics at the heart of the song. After all, even a cursory glance of the lyrics make it pretty clear that “Formation” is about Beyoncé’s experiences as a black woman and the experiences of black women in general—a point made even clearer in the video—so it is a little surprising that Schumer and her primarily white co-stars chose this particular song to perform in the video. As the backlash started to build, #AmySchumerGottaGoParty even began trending on Twitter (though the hashtag has been partly co-opted by Donald Trump supporters mad at Schumer for something else).
As for Schumer, she has sort of responded to the controversy in a pair of Instagram posts, with one saying “you know you that bitch when you cause all this conversation” and “we had so much fun making this tribute. All love and women inspiring each other. #strongertogether.” Her second post is a video of her saying she’s “grateful for all this shit” and that she’s “grateful to be alive right now during this time.” Perhaps most importantly, though, CNN is reporting that its sources have confirmed that Schumer had Beyoncé’s blessing to use “Formation” in her video, which would make sense considering that it premiered on Tidal—the streaming service that is partly owned by Beyoncé’s husband, Jay Z.
Without a proper response from Beyoncé, though, it’s hard to definitively say which side has the stronger case. Either way, it’s pretty clear that this video didn’t go over the way Schumer probably hoped it would.