What images are highlighted or focused on?

Part One Directions

1) Please read the background readings, for important information about topics that Beyoncé seems to be referring to in this video: Formation background readings.docx

Some images in the video seem to refer to the setting in New Orleans (where the video was filmed), especially during Hurricane Katrina; to the Black Lives Matter movement; to the LGBTQ community (because of the Bounce music references, including some images of dancer and the voices of performers Big Freedia and Messy Mia); and to the lives of Black women from the Southern U.S.

2) Then watch the video for Beyoncé’s “Formation,” thinking about what the images in the video mean. You will need to watch the video several times and probably cause it to focus on things that seem important. If you’re not sure what to look for, look for images that are repeated, that seem dramatic, or that seem designed to provoke an emotional reaction (or ones that you had an emotional reaction to). You may want to watch the video without sound a few times so you can concentrate on the images. Link to video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LrCHz1gwzTo

3) Fill in your answers to the template below, which is a simplified rhetorical analysis of the video. You can refer to the lyrics if you choose to, but you will be required to analyze the visuals.


Here is a copy of the questions below, if you want to save your answers and upload them as a document: Formation as visual argument template.docx

a) What images are highlighted or focused on? (These are probably things the makers of the video want to bring to your attention.)

b) What images are in the background? (These images may be used to set the overall mood of the video, or to reinforce the highlighted images.)

c) What audience is this video aimed at? Please describe what parts of the video/song support your answer.

d) What is the ethos (character/credibility/motives/authority to speak about the issue) of the performer(Beyoncé), both in general and on the issue(s) addressed in the visual argument? In other words, what do you already know about Beyoncé and/ or what do you see about her in the video that tells you about her ethos?

e) How does this video use pathos (emotion)? Give an example of at least one image and the emotion or emotions you think it is supposed to make people feel.

f) Does this video use logos (facts, logic, reference to outside sources making a similar argument)? If so, please describe how you see it using logos.

g) Does Beyoncé (or do the filmmakers of this video) make an argument in this video?

If you said no, please describe your reasons:

If you said yes: what is the thesis? Is this argument responding to another argument/describing a situation?

Explain your opinion – what specifically in the video can you refer to in order to make your point? What other information/resources are you drawing on to help you evaluate the video? For example, are you considering what you know about Beyoncé as a public figure, what do you know about Hurrican Katrina and New Orleans?

h) Do you think the argument made in the video is effective or ineffective, or do you think there isn’t a coherent argument? Please explain your answer in at least 3 sentences.


I) Video of “Formation” by Beyoncé https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LrCHz1gwzTo

II) Lyrics for “Formation” : https://genius.com/Beyonce-formation-lyrics

III) “That B.E.A.T” documentary on New Orleans “bounce” music (approx. 10 minutes) ; several clips are used uncredited in Beyonce’s video : https://vimeo.com/58423297

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What images are highlighted or focused on


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