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Beyoncé Responds To Claims Of Stolen "Formation" Video Footage

"The documentary footage was used with permission and licensed from the owner of the footage," Beyoncé's representatives said. "They were given proper compensation."

Last updated on February 7, 2016, at 11:01 a.m. ET

Posted on February 6, 2016, at 11:05 p.m. ET

Beyoncé's new song "Formation," and the accompanying video, set the world ablaze Saturday, but two directors were upset that Queen Bey's video lifted scenes right out of their documentary.

Beyoncé / Via

Directors Chris Black and Abteen Bagheri sent these tweets shortly after the video dropped.


New Beyonce video used hella clips from the doc I produced and directed by @abteen ...but why?!?!

Luckily Yoncé a.k.a. Sasha Fierce swooped in to assure all involved that the footage was used with permission, and the owners of the footage were paid their due.

"The documentary footage was used with permission and licensed from the owner of the footage. They were given proper compensation," Beyoncé's team told The Fader.

"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."

Columbia Records

"Formation" director Melina Matsoukas responded as well, with a tweet thanking the two directors for making their footage available.

Must give much love to the beautiful NOLA footage shot and directed by @abteen and @lkeber to make #FORMATION whole.

The two making the claims were the directors of That B.E.A.T., a short 2012 documentary about Bounce music in New Orleans.


Why Melina gotta use clips from our doc?!? Was the budget not big enough to spend a week in New Orleans and actually build with the people.

if you're an artist, always protect your work. They don't know what you had to sacrifice to create.

I guess it's flattering that people fuck with the things you've created but also frustrating when they wanna use it like it's theirs.

The directors said they had received emails requesting permission to use their footage, but never reached an agreement. Bagheri and Black do not technically own the footage, they explained, Nokia and Sundance do.


Lol, your 500k budget wasn't enough to make your video "whole".


"I love Beyoncé," Black said. "But at the end of the day we have to respect other filmmakers who are working just as hard."

All we want is respect and credit," Black told The Fader. "They don't know what we sacrificed to make [the film]. They just came along and took it without crediting us."

Both directors said they did not intend to pursue legal action.

"It seems they've given us credit now," Bagheri said, "which is all that was important to me."

Black agreed, adding that though he bares "no ill will or feelings toward" Beyoncé, he's glad they spoke up.

"If I hadn't said anything about this would you have known where it came from?" Black said.

Though no credits appeared in the video, Bagheri and Keber – another director who worked on That B.E.A.T. – were originally credited on VideoStatic before the controversy occurred. Black was not.

Thanks for the credit @melinamatsoukas and @Beyonce

Here's Beyoncé's "Formation."

View this video on YouTube

And here's That B.E.A.T.

BuzzFeed has reached out to Sundance Channel to see if they gave permission to use the footage, but did not immediately hear back.

A BuzzFeed News investigation, in partnership with the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, based on thousands of documents the government didn't want you to see.