Beyoncé dropped a new video today, and we all took a collective gasp. How could Queen Bey do this to us on a Saturday afternoon no less? Some of us were driving and had to pull over (screech!) to watch. “Formation” is everything we need at this moment; an unapologetically Black visual celebration of Black culture, #BlackGirlMagic, Black cuisine (shout out to collard greens and cornbread), and so much more. Curious to know how this gorgeous video came about, we did a little digging. Here’s everything we know about “Formation.”
1. Melina Matsoukas directed it.
Matsoukas is already an honorary Knowles sister (Tina Knowles calls her “adopted daughter”) who has previously directed Beyonce’s “Pretty Hurts” and “Move Your Body” videos. Her music video directing credits include Rihanna’s “We Found Love,” Solange’s “Losing You,” and Ciara’s “Work” (feat. Missy Elliot). Next up for the Grammy-winning director—when she’s not being fabulous and hanging tough with Solange in Cuba—Matsoukas will make her TV directing debut with Issa Rae’s upcoming HBO comedy series, Insecure.
2. Producer Mill Will Made It created the beat.
The producer behind inedible hits like Rihanna’s “Pour It Up” Ciara’s ”Body Party,” and more, couldn’t be more thrilled to finally work with Beyoncé.
Always wanted to work with Beyoncé and after working with her I respect her on even more levels than I knew she was on… Real ARTist Fr— Cam Newton (@MikeWiLLMadeIt) February 6, 2016
3. Rapper Swae Lee of Rae Srummerd co-wrote the song.
A protégé of producer Mill Will Made It, Khalif “Swae Lee” Brown is one half of the chart topping rap duo Rae Sremmurd.
Yonce’ Yonce Yonce— Swae Lee (@iHipsterLee) February 6, 2016
4. Marni Senofonte Styled It
Marni Senofonte was the lead stylist on “Formation.” Senofonte, a constant collaborator of Beyoncé’s, created all the looks and styled every dancer in the video. She worked closely with Gucci to dress Beyoncé and her dancers in a number of pieces from the fashion house—from the red dress in the car scene to customized outfits for the pool scene. Senofonte enlisted fashion editor Shiona Turini for assistance with the fabulous looks. Beyoncé also released a new collection on her website to go with the video.
5. Interludes from Bounce music artists.
“Formation” features interludes by New Orleans bounce artists Big Freedia and the late Messy Mya, a YouTube personality who was murdered in 2010. What is Bounce music? “Bounce music is up-tempo, heavy bass, call and response,” explains Big Freedia. “It definitely has a lot to do with the ass-shaking. It’s New Orleans bass music.” Here’s the Messy Mya video Beyoncé samples:
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