The director also shared a look into what it's like directing for Issa Rae and other popstars like Rihanna.

Sydney Scott
Feb, 28, 2017

You've probably seen Melina Matsoukas' work, well, we're sure you have. She's the director behind Beyoncé's "Formation," Rihanna's "We Found Love," and Ludacris and Pharrell's "Money Maker."

In a recent profile for The New Yorker, Matsoukas sheds light on Beyoncé's Lemonade, creating videos for some of the biggest names in pop, and directing for television. 

Here are five things we learned.

1. Lemonade's deeper meaning was about black love and slavery. Matsoukas met with Beyoncé at her Los Angeles home, where she explained the concept of the new album to the director. "She 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."

2. Mama Tina was a bit hestiant about that sinking cop car shot. Beyoncé wore a wetsuit underneath her Gucci outfit and seemed unbothered during shooting, but Mama Tina was a bit worried about her daughter's health. "And Miss Tina is calling me, like, ‘You’re going to give her pneumonia, and she has to perform at the Super Bowl.’"

3. Matsoukas has a geniune friendship with the Knowles family. She spoke at Solange's 2014 wedding, even dedicating a poignant Instagram post to the singer on her 30th birthday. 

4. She's successfully transitioned into directing for television with HBO hit Insecure. The show, starring creator Issa Rae, is Matsoukas' television debut and sometimes Rae and the director butt heads over what the world of Insecure looks like.  Rae told the publication, "Her taste is more elevated than mine. A lot of our biggest battles come from me wanting this to be grounded, and we end up meeting halfway. She comes from a more heightened world, and I’m self-proclaimed basic."


5. Rihanna's ''We Found Love'' was controversial, but the pop star was willing to go there. For Rihanna's hit song "We Found Love," Matsoukas created a story inspired by Romeo and Juilet and Requiem for a Dream. The video, about a couple's violent relationship, drew tons of controversy, since for many, it reminded them too much of the singer's volatile relationship with ex Chris Brown. Matsoukas says, "She [Rihanna] was open to taking it there and with being honest and showing what life really is.” The set, however, was much more light-hearted. During the scene where Rihanna and video costar Dudley O’Shaughnessy argue in a car, Matsoukas reveals, "They were saying the most nonsensical things, like ‘Your pants are too tight!’"


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