It started with the 11 VMA nominations Bey nabbed this year (the most of any artist) and continued on through her wins for Breakthrough Long Form Video for Lemonade and Best Female Video for "Hold Up" — and, oh yeah, her camera-smashing, arena-traversing, literally on fire medley performance of cuts from the Lemonade album. And then the queen was finally crowned with her win for Video of the Year for "Formation."
In a category loaded with the most meme-able, most discussed, most dissected (and, in some cases, most protested) visual art of the year, Bey has come out on top with a fierce political statement in the form of a ubiquitous pop song and video. Bey snatched the shiny Moonman away from Adele's heartbreaking "Hello," Drake's internet-candied "Hotline Bling," Justin Bieber's pristinely choreographed "Sorry," and Kanye West's controversial "Famous" — all mammoth cultural works of the past year. But tonight, Bey's was the one that mattered most.
"First of all, I’d like to thank my beautiful daughter and my incredible husband for all of their support," she said as she accepted the statue, also thanking director Melina Matsoukas "for directing such an incredible video and pushing me." As the "Formation" clip explicitly referenced Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath, Bey also shouted out a special tribute to the Louisiana city that endured it: "I dedicate this award to the people of New Orleans. God bless you guys. Thank you."
Mark it — August 29, 2016, was Beyoncé's night. All the naysayers — especially those who rose up in outrage when "Formation," with its nods to police brutality and racism, first premiered in February — are now firmly on the wrong side of history.