With massive press coverage of a rally protesting Beyoncé’s halftime performance at Super Bowl 50, New Yorkers braced themselves for herds of anti-Bey protesters to gather at the NFL headquarters on Park Avenue.
But the hype was just that — hype.
Wearing blue in solidarity with the NYPD, four individuals showed up to the rally location only to find none of the Proud of the Blues supporters. Instead, a crowd of pro-Beyoncé Black Lives Matter activists were ready to represent their cause — and start a dialogue with the opposing side about why they were against Beyoncé in the first place.
The anti-Beyoncé protesters held their ground, despite their paltry numbers.
“I think it’s sparking an outrage,” said April Bedunah, a 25-year-old college student. While she’s a Beyoncé fan, Bedunah didn’t appreciate the singer’s Black Panther-inspired attire during the Super Bowl. “We’re spending so much time focused on this when there’s other matters to worry about,” she said. “We’re all people. We’re all Americans. If your birth certificate says you were born in America, you should act like it.”
Ariel Kohane, a volunteer for the Ted Cruz campaign, came to support the police. He also believed that Beyoncé’s performance was not appropriate for the Super Bowl. “I think it was awful,” he said. “I think it was terrible. I don’t think it even belonged at the Super Bowl. It has nothing to do with football at all. It’s not the way to bridge the gaps between police officers and civilians, whites and blacks, and people of all races and nationalities.”
Although no other anti-Beyoncé ralliers showed up after 10 a.m., Kohane stood in the rain without an umbrella and talked about his views with anyone who would listen.
While those against Beyoncé see this is as a loss, Tajh Sutton, 27, looks at today’s rally (or lack there of) as a victory for the black community.
“The proof is in the pudding,” said Sutton, founder of Brooklyn’s Young People of Color, Inc. “We are here, and they are not. So I consider this a win. It was great to just come out in solidarity and be reminded that we can come together, and we can take a stand on things we don’t agree with are happening.”