SANTA CLARA - Coldplay was the headline act at Sunday's Super Bowl halftime show, but it was Beyonce who rocked the stadium and millions of viewers around the world with a powerful political performance.
She performed her latest single, Formation, a power anthem to race and feminism that had debuted just the day before, pumping her fist in the air.
The berets, leather costumes and hairstyles of the backup dancers were a visual homage to the Black Panthers, the revolutionary black political group of the 1960s and 1970s. This year marks the 50th anniversary of their formation.
They look like Black Panthers & I might cry. Beyonce is about to Blackout one of white america's favorite pastimes. Happy BHM— Luna Lovehood (@_asiahmae) February 8, 2016
Beyonce's own costume paid tribute to pop singer Michael Jackson.
The Vox website said that the performance of Formation was especially poignant in the context of the constant criticism of the black quarterback for the Carolina Panthers, Cam Newton, for so-called excessive arrogance; and a $1.5-million donation from Tidal, Jay Z's ever-halting streaming service, to non-profit social justice organisations like Black Lives Matter.
"More crucially, she transformed one of the biggest events in sports, corporate synergy and entertainment into a distinctly political act," Vox said.
The Super Bowl halftime show draws more than 100 million viewers to the live event.