Filmmaker Accuses Beyoncé of Stealing Footage for "Formation" Video — Here's What Bey Says
A group of filmmakers who had their footage used in Beyoncé's music video for her new song "Formation" definitely weren't celebrating Bey's release of the pro-black trap anthem, which features nods to the musician's southern roots, racial equality and Red Lobster.
"New Beyonce video used hella clips from the doc I produced and directed by @Abteen ...but why?!?!" filmmaker Chris Black wrote on Saturday, the eve of Beyoncé's highly anticipated 2016 Super Bowl halftime performance, where she's expected to perform the new single. "I guess it's flattering that people fuck with the things you've created but also frustrating when they wanna use it like it's theirs."
What's interesting, however, is that "Formation" music video director Melina Matsoukas credited the directors of the documentary, which explores the New Orleans music and dance scene, on Twitter Saturday, writing "Must give much love to the beautiful NOLA footage shot and directed by @abteen and @Ikeber to make #FORMATION whole."
Moreover, Beyoncé's camp released a statement expressing their gratitude for the footage used in "Formation" and denying any wrongdoing:
"The documentary footage was used with permission and licensed from the owner of the footage. They were given proper compensation. The footage was provided to us by the filmmaker's production company. The filmmaker is listed in the credits for additional photography direction. We are thankful that they granted us permission."
Beyoncé's new surprise single is an ode to her Southern background and mother's heritage as a Louisiana creole. While the one filmmaker Black was not impressed, writing, "Why Melina ["Formation" Director] gotta use clips from our doc?!? Was the budget not big enough to spend a week in New Orleans and actually build with the people," his fellow director Abteen Bagheri took a much more professional approach, thanking Beyoncé and Matsoukas for crediting the documentary.
The reason Black is complaining? According to reports, the filmmakers sold their documentary to Sundance Channel, which partnered with the directors to produce the film. So, while the film was properly credited in the music video's official credits, there isn't a specific nod to Black.
Bagheri, however, is credited specifically with "additional photography direction."
While Black has since deleted several of the tweets he fired off Saturday night, some remain. "If you're an artist, always protect your work," he wrote, concluding his very public knee-jerk reaction to the video. "They don't know what you had to sacrifice to create."
Meanwhile, both works are pretty fantastic and free to watch. Check out That B.E.A.T. and "Formation" below: