Beyoncé surprised her fans on Saturday with the release of a new song “Formation” and accompanying music video. But two people are less than thrilled with the debut of new material. That same night, two filmmakers claimed Beyoncé had used their documentary footage without consent and voiced their discontent on Twitter.
“New Beyoncé video used hella clips from the doc I produced and directed by @abteen,” filmmaker Chris Black tweeted, referring to a nine-minute 2012 documentary, titled That B.E.A.T., which was directed by Black and produced by Abteen Bagheri. “I guess it’s flattering that people f— with the things you’ve created but also frustrating when they wanna use it like it’s theirs.”
In a series of tweets, some of which have since been deleted, Black and Bagheri claimed they did not give permission to Beyoncé or “Formation” director Melina Matsoukas for using their documentary footage. But in a statement to EW, Beyoncé’s rep says, “The documentary footage was used with permission and licensed from the owner of the footage. They were given proper compensation. The footage was provided to us by the filmmaker’s production company. The filmmaker is listed in the credits for additional photography direction. We are thankful that they granted us permission .”
Matsoukas also tweeted, “Must give much love to the beautiful NOLA footage shot and directed by @abteen and @lkeber to make #FORMATION whole..”
Later on Saturday night, Bagheri tweeted, “Thanks for the credit.”
According to credits for the music video as published on Videostatic, Bagheri is cited with additional photography direction. The footage that was used includes scenes of a young man dancing in front of a mirror and a New Orleans house that’s underwater. Those images were featured in the pair’s 2012 documentary, which chronicles sissy bounce culture in hip-hop. (The genre’s pioneer, Big Freedia, is featured on “Formation”—and also appears in the documentary.)
See both of the videos and all of their tweets below.
Additional reporting by Kevin O’Donnell.