Amy Schumer is the queen of the non-apology. The message is usually rooted in her never actually acknowledging her wrongdoings. "Sorry if you were offended but:
a) it was just a joke, it's not racist! And people were laughing.
b) even though I never take into consideration intersectional feminism I’m just trying to empower (white) women everywhere!
c) while I do make a living off of calling out sexism and promoting feminism, it’s not my job to police men who say crude things about women even if I employ them.”
In August, Schumer was under fire for defending her former Inside Amy Schumer writer Kurt Metzger for his outrageous Facebook comments defending an accused rapist and stand-up comedian, Aaron Glaser. In her now infamous interview with Lena Dunham for Lenny Letter, Schumer made it a point to say that Metzger was a friend of hers who was just a degenerate and says awful things, as if his comments weren’t a big deal. She said that she agreed that what he said was awful, but “why are these women treating him like he raped someone? He's not Bill Cosby; Kurt has never raped.”
This week, while filming a movie in Hawaii, Schumer felt inspired by Hillary Clinton and Lemonade and shot a “Formation” video with her pals Goldie Hawn, Joan Cusack, and Wanda Sykes (we saw you, girl), which started the Twitter hashtag #AmySchumerGottaGoParty.
In Beyoncé’s “Formation,” Beyoncé is sinking a New Orleans police car, there’s a little black boy in a hoodie dancing in front of a barricade of police officers, there are shots of wigs in the beauty supply store, and a gang of beautiful black women surrounding Queen Bey. In Schumer’s “Formation,” which I could only bring myself to watch once, there’s a gaggle of white women dancing offbeat with “Texas bama” T-shirts singing “I like my Negro nose with Jackson Five nostrils,” and using Hawaiian women as background props.
It was first taken to be a parody, but then Schumer said it was in fact a "tribute." If it was a parody, it wasn’t funny or clever. She's just used the formula of expecting something from black culture to be funny because a white person did it. If it was a tribute, it wasn’t good. It earned her the equivalent of the side-eye Prince gave Trey Songz when he performed "Purple Rain" as a tribute.
Of course, Schumer "apologized." First, she posted an Instagram photo of herself in lingerie.
Then, last night, she published a post on Medium where she went on and on about how much she loved Lemonade and she felt like she had to make something. Her stunt double for the film even got a Lemonade tattoo, she wrote. She was “sickened and horrified” by the events addressed in Beyoncé’s video, but she was sure Beyoncé was telling us to all fight for what we wanted and come together, she explained. She learned all the dance moves to “Formation,” even though there is no proof in her own video. She said she even got permission from both Beyoncé and Jay Z and released her tribute on Tidal.
And then she ended her “apology” in a very Amy Schumer way, where she feels bad if you were offended, but also said that she can do whatever she wants and plans to keep doing that:
If you watched it and it made you feel anything other than good, please know that was not my intention. The movie we made is fun and the women in it are strong and want to help each other. That’s what it was about for me. Of course I had Beyoncé and Jay Z’s approval. They released it on Tidal exclusively for the first 24 hours.
You have every right to feel however you feel about the video and me but I want you to know I’m not going anywhere. Use whatever hashtag you like. My mission is to continue to work as hard as I can to empower women and make them laugh and feel better and I won’t let anything stop me.#strongertogether #alllove
She's right. I do have every right to feel how I do about the video. And this is how I feel: Schumer took something that was obviously a love letter to blackness and black woman and couldn't help but insert her white self into the narrative. A quick PSA to white people: You have every right to admire black culture, but everything isn't for you.
Tahirah Hairston is a style writer from Detroit who likes Susan Miller, Rihanna's friend's Instagram accounts, ramen and ugly-but cute shoes.