As you may have guessed, that group of Black Panther beret-clad backup dancers at the Super Bowl halftime show didn't plan to create their own viral video in support of justice for Mario Woods getting the protest sign into the dancers' hands was actually the work of two local Black Lives Matter activists, as the Guardian reports, who happened to be students in a school band that was performing on the field on Sunday.
Rheema Emy Calloway and Ronnisha Johnson, both organizers in the Black Lives Matter movement, said they "chased the dancers down" right after the performance and when they handed them the sign and asked if they'd be will to shoot the brief video, which quickly went viral. Says Calloway, "From the look on the faces of the dancers, they'd already heard about the case."
It was fitting, too, that Beyoncé's new song, "Formation," the video for which was shot in New Orleans, speaks to black pride and black power, and the costume choice quickly conjured images of the Panthers over which the conservative news media and politicians went a little nuts in the ensuing 24 hours.
Calloway also told the Guardian she was thrilled that Beyoncé made such a powerful statement in support of the movement at the Super Bowl, saying, "She’s rekindling the spirit of Nina Simone. I hope it can shift the conversation about what it means to be black and proud."
Also, the video from the dancers served to lift the spirit of Gwendolyn Woods, Mario's still grieving mother, who told the Guardian, "I was really depressed, and that gave me a jolt. To see them with the sign in the stands, it jolted me back into reality. It uplifted me."
She added that the entire day was bittersweet because of how much Mario loved football, and how he had been having a great time at Levi's Stadium just last August, when he got to attend the 49ers' pre-season game against the Dallas Cowboys.