Beyonce made a political statement onstage again when she performed a show-stopping set at the 2016 MTV VMAs.
Beyonce looked angelic as she opened with “Pray You Catch Me.” Her dancers ascended in all white and fell to the ground one by one as their spotlights turned red, undoubtedly a reference to gun violence and police shootings. A man in a black hoodie -- which became a famous image after Trayvon Martin was shot wearing a hoodie -- stood behind Beyonce, holding her shoulders.
The performance became more apolitical as the singer continued her performance. Beyonce transitioned into “Hold Up” as a voiceover by her breathlessly asked, “Are you cheating on me? Are you cheating on me?” She changed outfits into a black bodysuit and boots for the song.
Beyonce danced down a runway through the show as she briefly switched over into the song “Countdown” before coming back to “Hold Up” as she stalked the stage with a bat.
The singer then sang breakup anthem “Sorry” and amped up the rage with “Don’t Hurt Yourself.” She ended the set lying on the stage, engulfed in flames before she began to sing “Formation,” flanked by dancers in all black and black top hats, similar to the one the singer wore in the music video for the same song.
She finished the performance with all of her dancers lying on the stage as the audience went wild, with masters of ceremony Key and Peele pretending to cry, as Key said, “I’d give you a eulogy but I’m also dead.”