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Former Black Panther thanks Beyoncé 'for her courage'

BLACK POWER: Beyonce paid homage to the Black Planthers during her Super Bowl performance

BEYONCE'S BLACK Panther-themed performance at the Super Bowl 50 on Sunday (Feb 7) was met with both praise and criticism.

The politically-charged, pro-black song, Formation, and accompanying performance over the weekend has led to some harsh reactions from many, including former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani.

The singer has also been accused of race-baiting and inciting police hatred by a group of anonymous critics, who are threatening to protest outside the National Football League (NFL) headquarters.

But Queen Bey is receiving some important support - from the Black Panthers themselves.

The Facebook page of the National Alumni Association of the Black Panther Party has posted several items about the performance.

William Johnson, who joined the Black Panthers when he was 19, posted the following message on the group’s page: "As an original member of the Black Panther Party I thank Beyonce for her courage to make a statement on National TV. I am sure she understood the backlash that would follow her performance @ the 50th anniversary of the Super Bowl, so on behalf of The National Alumni Association of the Black Panther Party we thank you & salute you."

Johnson told The Grio the singer’s performance provides exposure for generations who may not be aware of the organisation’s impact.

“It opens the door for us to tell our true history,” he said. “Because most of the youngsters, even a lot of the young activists, by the time, they were born, the Black Panther Party didn’t even exist but a lot of them had free breakfast in their schools. And a lot of them don’t know why. So it’s a chance for us to give them our true history and our legacy.”

The Black Panther Party was first formed in 1966 in Oakland, California.

Nile Rodgers, producer and co-founder of 70s disco band Chic, tweeted out his appreciation of Bey's new track. Rodgers posted a photo himself in his younger days supporting the Panther 21.

"I love @Beyonce song #formation. That's me standing in #formation outside the NYC courthouse. I was 16 yrs old," he tweeted.

Beyoncé's performance of Formation over the weekend also paid homage to civil rights leader Malcolm X with dance choreography.

According to the Mail Online, Malcolm X's family praised Beyoncé and said they "absolutely loved" her tribute to their father.

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