Originally published on madamenoire.com
Meet Patrick D. Hampton.
He is a married father of four from Chattanooga, Tennessee who is none too pleased with Beyoncé’s new song, Formation. Hampton was so incensed by the singer’s controversial Superbowl performance that he decided to start the official Boycott Beyoncé Facebook page.
Why does he want to Boycott Beyoncé?
Well, according to the page’s “about” section, Hampton writes that he is tired of the racial division in the country and that he was particularly upset at the multi-platinum singer ”for disrespecting Law Enforcement Officers in blue…”
As no surprise, the page is filled with pro-law enforcement and anti-Beyoncé memes and articles including this conservative blog post entitled, “After Beyoncé’s Performance 8 Police Deaths in 8 Days, Maryland Sheriff Delivers a Sobering Message to Obama.” In addition to his feelings on Beyoncé and his support for the boys in blue, Hampton also uses the page to call out the Black Lives Matter movement, which in one particular post he likens to “The New Klan With A Tan.”
Thus far, the page has over 25,000 likes and counting. It has also been the subject of online harassment and even death threats. Yesterday, I got a chance to speak with Hampton about his motivation for starting the page, the reaction he is receiving and his alleged involvement with the failed anti-Beyoncé rally, which was supposed to happen earlier this week in New York City.
Read what he had to say below:
Charing Ball: So I take it you’re not a fan of Beyoncé, huh?
Patrick Hampton: “No, I’m not a fan of Beyoncé or pop culture. However I do go around explaining how toxic Hip Hop culture has become. And I do this mostly in churches, some schools, but mostly in churches. I talk about how Hip Hop culture is changing the culture of our youth.”
CB: You say that Beyoncé and Hip-Hop are “changing the culture” how so?
Hampton: From my perspective, it is changing how a lot of our young men treat women. How misogynist it has become. How all of the symbols and subliminal messages that are sent through the music is changing the ways they react to the police. And that is the reason why I started the Boycott Beyoncé page because as I am studying what she is releasing for this new album, I am also seeing a lot of the imagery that is being released in the video and then the connection with the Black Panthers and Black Lives Matter. That is what prompted me. Because it seems like every time I get a lot of the young men I mentor five-steps forward, it seems like these artists push us ten-steps back. And so it is a constant struggle to explain to them that there is a certain way to approach the police without being angry or thinking the police have these ulterior motives.
CB: So can you speak in more detail about how you feel Beyoncé, and Hip Hop artists in general, are working to push the young men you mentor five steps backwards?
Hampton: Okay, so I also teach media literacy. And one of the main things I teach them is that all media messages are constructed by a team of people. So, I teach them to watch videos from the perspective of a producer. So, when I watch the “Formation” video, the very first image is of Beyoncé standing on top of a police car submerged in water. So when I see her standing on a police car, I think to myself, why a police car? Why not a box Chevy with 26′ inch rims? So towards the end of the video, I see the image of young men standing in front of a line of police officers dancing with hands up. And at the same time I hear the lyric says: “or you can be eliminated.” So when I hear that lyric and those images together, I am seeing the subliminal messages she is sending to her fans. Also, studying the Black Panthers and understanding why the FBI had to shut down the Panthers because they had become so violent, I’m hearing Beyoncé call a generation into formation against the police. This is what I got from it and this is what a lot of young people got from it.
CB: The rapper Kendrick Lamar recently had a similar style performance at the Grammys, do you see the same subliminal messaging in his music? What are your thoughts on that?
Hampton: Kendrick Lamar and Hip-Hop has always used their platform to promote the narrative Blacks are eternal victims. I expected a performance like that from Kendrick Lamar. Beyoncé has a more diverse fan base and has been successful with crossing over to pop culture. I didn’t expect her to be so divisive. Hip-Hip culture is inherently rebellious. It was founded as a rebellious response to capitalism and government. Kendrick Lamar would not be Hip-Hop if he didn’t convey such messages of eternal victimhood and rebellion.
CB: Okay, on your Boycott Beyoncé page, you talk about Black Lives Matter a lot and you consider them pretty divisive. Are you concerned about unarmed young Black people specifically being killed by the police?
Hampton: I am not denying that there are bad police officers out there that may target young Black men. I believe police brutality is a real thing, but I know because of data that those incidents are few and far in between. When you compare the contact that young Black men have with police, over 99 percent of them do not end in a Black man being killed. But the problem I am having with Black Lives Matter is the same problem I have with the Black Panthers. I see a direct correlation. The Black Panthers started with a great plan to help inner-city Black America. But what happened, because of the anger, that radical element entered into the Party and they became very violent. And their response to the police was very wrong. And that is what I started seeing with the Black Lives Matter movement. Yes, it started to bring light to the issue of police brutality but now what I am seeing is a lot of hatred and vitriol directed at the police. I think the movement is wrong. Martin Luther King had a nonviolent approach that changed legislation. I see nothing of that in the Black Lives Matter movement. I don’t want to see the movement get to where the Black Panther movement got to. So now the new Black Panthers are so radical that they are calling for the death of all White people. And I don’t want for my children, for the children I mentor and for the African American community at all.
CB: So going back to the page, you say you have never been a Beyoncé fan. Why start the boycott now?
Hampton: Well it goes back to the Superbowl. I decided to let my children watch the half-time show with the idea that we would have a discussion afterwards. After the performance, I asked them what did they think and my eldest son said, ‘well why didn’t she have on any pants?’ So I began to address that. So then my other son asked, ‘why they had their fist up like that?’ And I had to explain that. Then they asked who are the Black Panthers and of course, I had to address that. So this was not something I had intended to do while watching the Superbowl. It is a day where we are supposed to put all of the political stuff aside and just focus on the Superbowl. So when I went to bed that night, I was kind of upset. And that is what prompted me to start the page. And it just kind of blew up from there.
CB: There are reports, which you even shared on your page, linking you to the anti-Beyoncé protest in New York. Are you one of the organizers?
Hampton: No, I’m not affiliated at all. Yes, I did make a joke on the page because a BLM activist on Twitter was asking me where I was, so I told them that I was at work and they had been punked. But I had nothing to do with that. And I believe that Black Lives Matter started the rally just to create a standoff between anti-Beyoncé people and Black Lives Matter people.
CB: Tell me about the response to your page
Hampton: Oh yeah, I have a lot of detractors, especially locally. And especially the group that calls themselves the BeyHive or the Church of Bey. So I got a lot of people who come to the page to attack the message because they are Beyoncé fans. And they have their constitutional rights to do that. But the thing that is getting serious is the death threats that I get nationally and locally. I am having police officers ride by my house. And this is what I’m talking about that this Black Lives Matter movement is becoming so violent that they are willing to threaten someone who speaks against them.
CB: With all of the threats against you, have you thought about taking the page down?
Hampton: Yes, actually the police suggested that I take the page down. And I thought about it but I decided that, no, I’m not going to do it because this is something that I really believe in. Beyoncé has the ability to unify or come up with actual solutions to our racial division. But instead she is polarizing us. So I’m not taking it down.