After numerous police unions threatened to not provide security for her upcoming concerts, the head of the Nation of Islam said Sunday that his group was willing to provide security to their “sister Beyoncé.”
In video of his speech published by the Washington Post, Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan mocked the “white people” watching Beyoncé’s Super Bowl halftime performance, which nodded to the Black Panthers.
“White folks like, ‘We don’t know how to deal with that.’ Well, you taught us everywhere we went about the Holocaust. But we have sympathy for you,” Farrakhan said. “But when one of us shows some independence look at how you’re treating Beyoncé now. You’re going to picket. You’re not going to offer her police protection, but the F.O.I. will.”
Farrakhan was referring to the Nation of Islam’s security force, Fruit of Islam.
The song Beyoncé performed, titled “Formation,” makes no mention of the police in its lyrics, although its music video has strong imagery referencing police violence and the Black Lives Matter protests.
The day after Beyoncé’s Super Bowl performance, former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani suggested her performance (and outfits) were an “attack” on police.
“Let’s have, you know, decent wholesome entertainment, and not use it as a platform to attack the people who, you know, put their lives at risk to save us,” Giuliani said on Fox News’ “Fox & Friends.”
Farrakhan specifically called out Giuliani’s criticism.
“People are terrified,” Farrakhan said. “Beyoncé? Giuliani said, ‘One of the greatest platforms! The Super Bowl!’ She started talking that ‘black stuff.'”
Watch part of Farrakhan’s speech below:
Some local police unions have suggested their officers would not provide security on the Grammy winner’s upcoming tour.
The Raleigh Police Protective Association is scheduled to vote Tuesday night on whether to provide security for Beyoncé. A union spokesman told local TV station WTVD that he’s “optimistic” they won’t boycott the superstar’s tour.
The Nashville Fraternal Order of Police also suggested that its officers “not voluntarily work” a May concert, according to The Tennessean. Union president Sgt. Danny Hale told the newspaper that while it’s not a proper boycott, there is a “pretty obvious” anti-police message in Beyoncé’s work.
“All lives matter, including law enforcement officers and citizens, no matter their race,” Hale told the newspaper.
New York Sergeants Benevolent Association is not calling for a boycott of the singer, but said Beyoncé should “take greater responsibility in her divisive actions that further complicate relationships between communities of color and the members of law enforcement,” according to CBS News.
For its part, the Tampa, Florida Police Department distanced itself from their brothers in blue in a tweet Thursday:
— TampaPD (@TampaPD) February 18, 2016