Beyoncé Addresses the Backlash She Faced After "Formation"

Beyoncé Knowles gave a rare, much-anticipated interview in April's Elle magazine and opened up about her new activewear line, Ivy Park, as well as the pressure she feels to strive for perfection. In addition to urging women to "take time for self, for the spiritual, without feeling guilty or selfish," Beyoncé also addressed the backlash she faced after releasing her jaw-dropping, headline-making "Formation" music video back in February.

The singer dropped the video exclusively to Tidal on a Saturday afternoon, and it wasn't long before the powerful imagery — a drowning cop car, a police line, a Southern plantation home, and a shot of graffiti on a wall that reads "Stop shooting us" — coupled with Beyoncé's politically charged performance of the song at the Super Bowl the next day drew ire from critics, who called the singer a racist and a cop hater and even put together a (poorly planned) boycott in front NFL headquarters in NYC.

Of the backlash, Beyoncé said, "I mean, I'm an artist and I think the most powerful art is usually misunderstood. But anyone who perceives my message as anti-police is completely mistaken," adding, "I have so much admiration and respect for officers and the families of officers who sacrifice themselves to keep us safe. But let's be clear: I am against police brutality and injustice. Those are two separate things." She went on to recognize the timing of the single's release: "If celebrating my roots and culture during Black History Month made anyone uncomfortable, those feelings were there long before a video and long before me. I'm proud of what we created, and I'm proud to be a part of a conversation that is pushing things forward in a positive way."