A Black religious group, the Nation of Islam is willing to protect Beyonce and her fans during her Formation World tour. Minister Louis Farrakhan, leader of the Nation of Islam (NOI), announced that his organization’s security force, the Fruit of Islam (FOI), is prepared to provide security services at Beyonce’s Formation concerts, according to ABC News on Feb. 23.
The Fruit of Islam is the Nation of Islam’s male-only paramilitary wing, and has units at NOI temples nationwide. The all male FOI security force has provided security for Black celebrities in the past. According to Contact Music on Feb. 23, the FOI provided protection for Jay Z during the Brooklyn Hip-Hop Festival in July 2015.
Farrakhan’s offer comes in the wake of reports that police unions all across the country are urging their members to boycott Beyonce’s 39-city Formation World Tour. If police fail to provide adequate security, the Fruit of Islam will step in and provide additional security to pick up the slack. Most law enforcement organizations are highly offended by what they perceive as an “anti-police message” in Beyonce’s Super Bowl halftime show and Formation video, and are refusing to work the Formation shows.
Beyonce and her backup dancers paid homage to the militant Black Panther Party which was founded 50 years ago. Sporting afros and wearing all-black clothing and black berets similar what was worn by members of that revolutionary Black nationalist movement, the dancers raised their fists in the air in what was once known as the “Black Power salute.” At one point in the dance routine, the dancers formed an “X” on the field, which was viewed by many as a tribute to slain Black activist Malcolm X.
Among other things, police were upset by a scene in Beyonce’s Formation video featuring the words “stop shooting us” spray-painted on a wall, which indicated her support for the Black Lives Matter movement. Another scene in which an African-American boy in a hoodie dances in front of a line of police wearing riot gear who later raise their hands, is reminiscent of the Trayvon Martin and Michael Brown incidents.
Addressing the controversy surrounding Beyonce’s racially and politically charged halftime show, Farrakhan commented that other ethnicities and religions “taught us everywhere we went about the Holocaust. According to Breitbart.com on Feb. 22, Farrakhan went on to defend Beyonce and praise rappers Kendrick Lamar and Kanye West for speaking up about social issues. Farrakhan encouraged the entire Hip Hop community to follow suit telling them “Say what You feel. Put it out there.” He assured them “We’ll back you up.”
Beyonce has not responded to Farrakhan’s offer of protection thus far.