Amy Schumer apologized for her 'Formation' tribute, but her defense is problematic
It's time for us to talk about why Amy Schumer's brand of feminism isn't doing women any favors.
Schumer's failed attempt at a "tribute" to Beyoncé is a perfect example, as is her response to the controversy. Schumer penned an open letter in the wake of the backlash she's received over her parody video of Bey's "Formation," sort of apologizing to those who were offended and defending her own actions.
"While we were shooting our movie in Hawaii this summer we were all crazy for the album and also for Hillary Clinton," Schumer explained. "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."
Of course, it's a little difficult to understand exactly how Schumer wasn't meaning to detract from the meaning of a video celebrating blackness and putting America's deep racial divides on blast... by remaking it with a bunch of her white friends. Bey's video is a rallying cry for black women in the face of police brutality, but don't worry — Schumer wasn't trying to make light of that by shimmying around in the jungle in her "tribute."
"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," she wrote. "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."
Schumer ends her letter by insisting that she wants to empower women through her work. But in Schumer's particular brand of feminism, white women are empowered, while black women are used and appropriated for laughs. Remember Schumer's disastrous attempt to claim hip-hop and booty culture as her own in her "Milk Milk Lemonade" video?
If Schumer were learning from these mistakes, it would be one thing. But her apology just shows that she's unwilling to engage in any conversation about her poor understanding of intersectionality, and Schumer's dismissal of concerns from the women of color whose culture she is appropriating is actually contributing to the systematic oppression of all women.
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