The leader of the Nation of Islam has pledged to protect Beyonce if police do not offer the pop star security ahead of her Formation world tour. Louis Farrakhan's comments come as the singer was heavily criticised for her performance during the Super Bowl half-time show.
Delivering a sermon in Detroit on Sunday (21 February), Farrakhan accused "white folks" of not knowing how to deal with Beyonce's performance, which paid tribute to the Black Lives Matter campaign. The Black Panthers also featured in the singer's performance, prompting police unions in the US to call for boycotts against the star on grounds of her "anti-police message".
Javier Ortiz of the Miami Fraternal Order of Police said called on members to refuse work patrolling Beyonce's concerts during her Formation world tour, saying: "Beyonce used this year's Super Bowl to divide Americans by promoting the Black Panthers and her anti-police message shows how she does not support law enforcement."
However, Farrakhan hit back at the police unions and those who attempted to stage protests against Beyonce. He said: "She started talking all that black stuff and white folks were like, 'We don't know how to deal with that'." He also hit out at former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani, who branded the star's Super Bowl performance as "outrageous".
The Nation of Islam leader responded: "Look at how you treat Beyonce now. You gonna pick. You not gonna offer her police protection. But the FOI (Fruit of Islam) will."
Farrkhan also offered support for rap star Kenrick Lamar, whose 'Alright' hit has been dubbed as the anthem for the Black Lives Matter movement. Farrakhan urged Lamar and the rest of the hip-hop community to "say what you feel" and "put it out there".
The sermon also delivered a message to the Mayor of Detroit, Mike Duggan, calling on him to give black people in the city more contracts. Speaking at the Joe Louis Arena, Farrkhan said: "Mr Mayor, you got black people in Detroit that are wise and intelligent. You would become a favourite of the black people if you gave us some of the contracts that you're giving to people less qualified. Let some of us become millionaires."