SuperBowl 50 has come and gone, leaving many of us searching for truth, meaning, and purpose in life after witnessing some of the most historic performances both on and off the field. Whether you watched every second of the Game and the events leading up to it – and by events I mean Beyoncé’s surprise Formation video release – or you’re just catching up on your timeline after the fact, here are 5 very important life lessons we can all take away from SuperBowl – or SuperBey – weekend 50.
Move in Silence
Ever since social media took over our lives, people like to make announcements about all the cool things they are working on. Entrepreneurs, bloggers, and grad students alike enjoy making big announcements about a campaign we’ll soon be working on, a product that is coming out, or an idea we have. But why? Too often we announce something – myself included – and then feel really silly when a launch date comes by and isn’t ready, an event falls through, or an idea never pans out. I’m not saying that we should never make plans, but be more selective of whom you share your next steps with. Just tell your homies what you’re working on, and then share to the rest of the world when it’s done. SWERVE.
If Beyoncé’s now tried and true surprise y’all marketing strategy still doesn’t make sense, let me quickly rehash. Formation is not the first time she has surprised us with new content or a big announcement and snatched our edges in the process – Blue Ivy’s existence was announced after a magnificent performance at the VMAs in 2011, the Beyoncé album was released in late 2013 without any announcement, and now Formation. Unfortunately the edge snatching might be too literal and problematic, I mean can you just imagine the poor child who happened to be getting a relaxer as Formation dropped – everyone in the salon probably gathered around one phone to watch and left the child’s head burning. And when she yelled everyone confused it for excitement when really her scalp was disintegrating. Poor thing.
Failures Don’t Have to Define You
Even though I wanted the Panthers to win, I have to give credit to Peyton Manning for his resolve and perseverance in the past several years, making him quite deserving of this championship. After devoting nearly 15 years of his life to the Colts, they released him in 2012 after he sat out the entire 2011 season due to back to back surgeries. Even just this year with the Broncos, the Broncos made Manning take a $4 million paycut, and his on-field performance was kind of a mess, which ended up resulting in losing his starting position. I’m sure many people told him to quit after the injuries, retire after the Colts, refuse that paycut, and hang his head in embarrassment.
Well Manning won’t be remembered as the quarterback who got kicked off the Colts, but as the guy who came back from injuries, a paycut, and the bench to win the Super Bowl in his historic and record-breaking 200th career win. What a way to go out with a bang! Manning didn’t let his failures define him, and you shouldn’t either. Just know that when you DO come back from your low points, some people who you thought were your ride or die fam might not be too pleased about your success. Side-eyeing you Eli.
You Can Always Reinvent Yourself
What shocked me the absolute most this past weekend was actually neither the Broncos nor Beyoncé, but Lady Gaga. I mean do you remember the old Gaga? Like crazy, I think you need psychiatric help Ms. Stefani Gaga? Here’s a reminder:
In the last few years Lady Gaga has toned down her image and I think her Super Bowl anthem was her final curtain call in her evolution to an artist that can be respected and taken seriously for her craft. Folks are comparing Gaga’s rendition to that of the incomparable Whitney Houston (not even close, but it’s still an honor). She took some people to church!
By reinvention I don’t mean that you should try to copy someone else. But you can feel free to go in a different direction, explore a new opportunity, heck pick up a new hobby. Your identity doesn’t have to be static, and as long as it remains true to who you are in the moment, it’s completely fantastic.
Collaboration is the Key to Success
Despite what it seemed like, Beyoncé’s performs was intended to be a supplement to that of Coldplay. After all, they performed 3 songs initially while she performed only one. However, without Coldplay’s Super Bowl invitation, you might say Bey wouldn’t have been there (ok a stretch but stay with me, mmmk?). Sharing the stage with other “palatable” artists like Coldplay and Bruno Mars allowed Beyoncé’s unapologetically black song to be performed on the stage of what is one the nation’s most “American” traditions, bringing attention to the cause (more on that later) in a way that many non-melaninated (I’m really trying to make this a word) people may not have understood, but at least it has folks talking.
All this is to say that you can’t get anywhere by your lonesome. Some of the Hive is already scrolling down to comment to say that Beyoncé did get here by her lonesome, but YOU my friend, cannot do it alone. You cannot study alone, you cannot invent the cure for pancreatic cancer alone, you cannot be the next Bill Gates alone. You need a tribe, a squad, an accountability group, some folks to help you get yourself in formation.
I could say also something about how each football team requires the input of various team members to be successful, but I didn’t even really watch the game so moving on to the last lesson…
Your Work Can (and Should) Always Have a Larger Purpose
My biggest critique of Beyoncé over the past years has been that she does not use her platform to practically address and highlight pertinent issues of blackness or womanhood. Singing that you can be independent and sampling feminist writers in your songs doesn’t mean you’re actually DOING anything about female oppression around the world. However, Beyoncé used her Super Bowl performance and the Formation video to tribute the Black Panthers, make a clear statement against police brutality, pay homage to New Orleans, and celebrate blackness at its finest. The best part is it all happened during BLACK HISTORY MONTH!
So if you think your history paper, job, or business is going to be jeopardized by you sharing an article about Sandra Bland, Flint, or even the blackness of the Formation video itself, GET OVER YOURSELF. You might lose a friend, you might lose a follower, maybe you’ll even lose a sale, but at the end of the day you will have a clear conscience knowing you spoke out on a matter that is important to you. And if black issues are important to you – so be it – but find whatever matters to you: endangered animals or the ozone layer or paternity leave, and publicly take a stand.
On the bright side, inserting some larger meaning into your work might actually attract attention from new people – like myself, who for the first time in the history of my life, is stanning (just for this song!) and will promptly get in-Formation.