Beyoncé is getting some high-profile support from Minister Louis Farrakhan.
The head of the Nation of Islam backed the superstar during a sermon on Sunday. Calling her “my sweet sister Beyoncé,” Farrakhan spoke out about the controversy surrounding the singer’s Super Bowl halftime show performance this month, in which her backup dancers appeared in Black Panther-esque garb.
Along with the Afro-centric video for her single “Formation,” it has led to harsh criticism and some police urging their fellow officers to avoid providing security for her upcoming tour.
Farrakhan said during his sermon that “She started talking that black stuff … and white folks (said), ‘We don’t know how to deal with that.’ “
“But when one of us shows some independence, look how you treating Beyoncé now,” he said. “You gonna picket. You not going to offer her police protection? But the (Fruit of Islam, the security branch of his organization,) will.”
In the past, the controversial leader has been less supportive of Beyoncé, saying in a 2015 interview that she needed to cover up and be more modest in her dress.
“Today, you strip the woman of her clothes,” he said. “How can a man think straight, looking at the beauty of Beyoncé?” But in his more recent remarks, he hailed both her and rapper Kendrick Lamar, whose politically charged Grammys performance last week was all about black pride.
“We say to the hip-hop community, to our cultural giants, say what you feel,” Farrakhan said to the cheers of his audience. “Put it out there with strength. They allowed you to call your women b**ches and whores, so now put it out there how you love your black selves and you want to see black people free. We’ll back you up.”