Amy Schumer Shares Essay Defending Her Beyoncé “Formation” Video

Last week, the comedian Amy Schumer shared a video of herself and Goldie Hawn, her costar in a forthcoming movie, lip-syncing and dancing to Beyoncé’s “Formation.” Now: We are talking about two white ladies having fun with a moment-defining anthem that’s associated with a certain unapologetic blackness. And you will probably not be surprised to learn that the internet was pissed off about this. Schumer commented on the online furor on Instagram shortly after, sharing a photo of herself with a caption that read, in part, “You know you that bitch when you cause all this conversation.” Apparently, that wasn’t enough. And now, on Medium, Schumer has written a personal screed claiming that she was inspired by the song, that she wasn’t making fun of it in any way. She also says that “it was NEVER a parody,” even though the Tidal tweet that premiered the song definitely did call it a parody. But Schumer never pointedly never apologizes. Here’s what she wrote:

Saying I love Beyoncé’s album Lemonade is a huge understatement. I believe it is one of the greatest pieces of art of our time.

While we were shooting our movie in Hawaii this summer we were all crazy for the album and also for Hillary Clinton. We would rush back to our televisions or phones to watch a stream of CNN to see the convention and watch Hillary and Michelle and so many extraordinary women speak. All of the women on set were bonded together from this music and from the election simultaneously. It was such a powerful time.

I love how in the lyrics of “Formation” Beyoncé is telling us to get in formation. And also I like to think she is telling us ladies to get information. I did not mean to detract any of the meaning from the video. I am of course horrified and sickened by the events that are addressed throughout that video and didn’t see this as minimizing that and still don’t. It was a way to celebrate bringing us all together. To fight for what we all want. And to do it together.

Lemonade brought us all together. We listened to the album and danced every day, always making everyone feel better no matter what we were going through. We were so into it that we learned the dance to “Formation.” It got us through this summer. Meredith, my stunt double even got a Lemonade tattoo because of how real and meaningful it was to her, to us. We would use each location we shot at and do a part of the song. To have Goldie Hawn dancing with Wanda Sykes and Joan Cusack and Raven Goodwin and all the female writers and producers and crew from all over the world doing this together felt very powerful and right.

It was NEVER a parody. It was just us women celebrating each other. The video Beyoncé made was so moving and I wouldn’t ever make fun of that. There is absolutely no way to. I make fun of myself a few times in the video as I do in everything I am a part of. I loved every second of working with those women to make this thing that lifted us up.

If you watched it and it made you feel anything other than good, please know that was not my intention. The movie we made is fun and the women in it are strong and want to help each other. That’s what it was about for me. Of course I had Beyoncé and Jay Z’s approval. They released it on Tidal exclusively for the first 24 hours.

You have every right to feel however you feel about the video and me but I want you to know I’m not going anywhere. Use whatever hashtag you like. My mission is to continue to work as hard as I can to empower women and make them laugh and feel better and I won’t let anything stop me. #strongertogether #alllove

Watching the video today, it seems pretty clear that Schumer is right; it isn’t a parody, despite a couple of shots that mirror shots from the “Formation” video. It’s just some people goofing around and having fun on a movie set. I’m not entirely sure why it ever needed to exist as anything other than a souvenir for everyone who was working on this movie, but there’s no mockery here.