clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Melina Matsoukas gives behind-the-scenes details of Beyoncé's "Formation" video

Words from its director.

Talent // Instagram

Melina Matsoukas, the director behind Issa Rae's Insecure, this Stella McCartney video campaign we love and, of course, Beyoncé's music video for "Formation," has just revealed to The New Yorker all the unknown details that went into creating the now Grammy-winning visual.

Matsoukas had just returned home from a trip to Cuba when she got the call from Bey who wanted to release the song the day before she performed it at the Super Bowl. This meant Matsoukas would have to submit a video within a few weeks.

ON THE QUICK TURN-AROUND: “It was the fastest delivery I had ever done in my life.”

ON THE CONCEPT OF LEMONADE: “[Beyoncé] wanted to show the historical impact of slavery on black love, and what it has done to the black family and black men and women—how we’re almost socialized not to be together. It’s an unfair struggle that only black women can understand and relate to.”

ON THE CONCEPT OF THE VIDEO: “We spoke about the South, New Orleans, her mother’s history as well as her father’s. I treat each video like a thesis project. I wanted to show—this is black people. We triumph, we suffer, we’re drowning, we’re being beaten, we’re dancing, we’re eating, and we’re still here.”

ON FILMING ITS ICONIC SCENE: “I wanted it to be a police car to show that they hadn’t really shown up for us. And that we were still here on top, and that she was one with the people who had suffered. Everyone was scared, because the water was cold. And Miss Tina is calling me, like, ‘You’re going to give her pneumonia, and she has to perform at the Super Bowl.’”

ON THE REACTIONS RECEIVED: “I didn’t know the video was going to incite all those conversations, but I was very pleased it did.”

Sign up for the newsletter Join the revolution.

Get REVOLT updates weekly so you don’t miss a thing.