Beyoncé fans rejoiced when she announced her Formation World Tour on Super Bowl Sunday — or at least, most of them did. Not included in the fanfare? New Orleans-based Beyoncé fans, who were not impressed by the fact that the singer would be skipping their town, despite using shots of the city and its landmarks in several of her most recent videos. Beyoncé's music video for "Formation" included clips of a Hurricane Katrina-devastated New Orleans, and her visual album Lemonade was mostly shot in New Orleans as well. Needless to say, the overlooked fans were more than a little displeased.
The closest Beyoncé will get to New Orleans on the Formation tour is Houston, her hometown, according to The Times‑Picayune. After buying a house in the city, using strong images of Mardi Gras and Creole homes in her videos, and featuring local voices on her tracks, it seems odd that Beyoncé would pass over the city on her Formation tour. There have been plenty of criticisms against Beyoncé's use of New Orleans in her videos already, and to rely so heavily on NOLA references without actually stopping by in person to give fans a nod of thanks was, according to some, exploitative.
"Blackness, here more than anywhere, is complicated, and Beyoncé's experience of it may be unapologetic, but New Orleanians at Mardi Gras time didn't exactly agree that it was theirs," wrote NPR contributor Elena Bergeron in February. "Footage from [marching band] That B.E.A.T. is the only part of Formation that was shot in New Orleans, with the rest filmed in California. That here-but-not-here trickery has given credence to criticism that Beyoncé has once again swagger jacked a New Orleans culture she does not truly belong to."
Not everyone thinks Beyoncé is using New Orleans for personal gain, however. Most of her fans seem to appreciate the fact that she's been giving their city a hat tip lately — and they seem certain that there's something more to the fact that there's no tour date scheduled for New Orleans. Maybe Beyoncé will play a surprise concert? Maybe the stop hasn't been added yet?
Beyoncé has, after all, played in New Orleans before. She headlined Essence Festival in 2013, bringing her Mrs. Carter tour to town, and in 2014, she and Jay-Z brought their On The Run tour to New Orleans.
Others, however, are feeling less generous, and calling her out fairly directly for skipping their city.
It sounds to me like Beyoncé owes the city a good show — whether that happens as part of the Formation tour, as a set at this year's Essence Festival, or, as some of her fans hope, a city-wide free concert. So far, she's proven herself to be a mastermind at surprising her fans — so why stop now?