March 28, 2016
Beyonce Black Lives Matter Protesters
Was Beyonce's now controversial Super Bowl 50 Halftime performance "hijacked" by protesters? According to two Black Lives Matter protesters, the superstar was not aware of the political activism taking place after Halftime. With that said, not sure if critics will change their views on Beyonce's performance.
Full report from Daily Mail's EXCLUSIVE Interview:
It was a grainy cellphone video and a picture that were seen by millions around the world.
But the full story of how Beyoncé was unwittingly dragged into a political row after having her Super Bowl
performance hijacked by her dancers and activists can be revealed.
The star knew nothing about the decision by members of her dance troupe to join a protest by members of the Black Lives Matters organization on the pitch of the Levi's Stadium about the death of Mario Jones until the video went viral the next morning.
Two determined political activists, angered over the shooting of the man by police, smuggled a dozen posters into the arena in their underwear and bags.
Only one was handed, however, to several of the dancers who raised it and shouted slogans demanding 'Justice for Mario Woods'.
Beyoncé's dancers backed calls for murder charges to be brought against five officers who gunned down former jail bird Woods,26, at exactly the moment that the star was ushered off by her security guards.
She had performed in front of 167 million people, America's biggest sports event television audience ever, when the militants struck.
BEYONCE BLACK LIVES MATTER PROTESTERS
Daily Mail Online has traced the two women who were behind the political storm and can disclose they seized their moment after winning tickets to Beyoncé's half time show through a local radio station competition.
Rheema Calloway and Ronnishia Johnson, both 25,sneaked in their posters supporting calls for murder charges against five police officers by hiding them in their bras and panties to evade security guards at the sports complex in Santa Clara.
They had made several copies of the poster hoping that at least once would make it into the stadium and they might be able to be seen on television.
After being bused to the stadium, they were patted down by security guards at the gates and were surprised when officials did not confiscate the 12 posters from their bags and clothing.
Rheema said: 'We were led onto the pitch at half time through a tunnel and it was crazy and breathtaking. The noise from the crowd made me feel like I was Beyoncé.
'We had never been inside the stadium even though we are local women. But we are both Beyoncé fans.
'We were behind Beyoncé's dancers and we were walked around them and to the sideline to watch the show.
'We did not know Beyoncé was going to have a Black Panther theme to her performance even though she had dropped the Formation video the day before which has a lot of black culture references.'
Ronnishia added: 'When we saw the dancers in their outfits and black berets we were like 'Yes Yes!'
'That was confirmation that we needed to do what we came to do there.
'After the half time show we were rushed off and our group was headed in another direction. I said to Rheema we had to go and we started running after the dancers.
'There were a couple of dancers walking out with their fists up so I tapped one of them and asked her initially if she would be willing to take a photo and she said yes.
'As we were taking a photo I asked he if she had heard about the case of Mario Woods. Other dancers came around us and from the expressions on their faces it seemed as if they had already heard about Mario's case and were empathetic.
BEYONCE BLACK LIVES MATTER PROTESTERS
'They agreed to hold the sign and say "Justice for Mario Woods" and we filmed it on my iPhone.
'We thanked them and then we got rushed off. The whole thing was over in a minute-and-a-half and after we uploaded the video to Instagram and Facebook and it has gone viral.
'We don't know who the dancers were, but we hope that Beyoncé doesn't have a backlash against them for what they did.
'Beyoncé was rushed off the stage immediately and she knew nothing about we did. '
Ronnishia, who had managed to persuade Alicia Keys to support the Justice for Mario Woods campaign before her concert in the same stadium on Friday after contacting her, said she hoped the dancers would not get into trouble with their super star boss.
'We know there is going to be a lot of backlash, but at the same time we don't care. We didn't think it was going to be this big.
'We thought that people in this community would get it, but never thought the whole world would be trying to find out how we managed it.
'We do feel it has raised international attention and hope Beyoncé will take a stance in making a statement in relation to Mario Woods.'
The dancers supporting the Mario Woods justice group was not broadcast on TV, but has been shared around the world on the internet.
Beyoncé was criticized by former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani who said it was 'outrageous' that she would use her platform to 'attack police officers'.
But the politician made his remarks without knowing that the 35-year-old singer had been unaware of the protest as she left the field.
She had performed her new song 'Formation'
in a video released the day before Super Bowl includes scenes of a young black boy dancing in front of a line of riot police and of a wall that carries the graffiti message 'stop shooting us'.
Protesters say Woods, 26, was hit 21 times by bullets fired by five officers who were investigating an alleged stabbing in the Bayview neighborhood.
The alleged victim, who was apparently knifed in the arm as he sat in a car a few blocks away, has never been identified by police and scant details have emerged about the incident.
He is said to have asked for his name not to be disclosed as he fears for his safety.
Police say Woods was shot and killed after he appeared to raise a kitchen knife and approach one of them on December 2nd last year after being apprehended nearby.
Videos of the incidents captured on cellphones have been posted online and handed to senior police officers investigating the shooting.
They show the officers circling the suspect who has his back to a wall and is walking adjacent to it.
Officers say they shot beanbag rounds and used pepper spray to try and arrest Woods, but he failed to drop the knife.
The officers opened fire with their guns after he ignored calls to drop the knife and he was killed on the spot.
The officers, who were named by the department, are Winson Seto, Antonio Santos, Charles August, Nicholas Cuevas and Scott Phillips and none have been reprimanded and have returned to work.
Woods' family argue he was not 'aggressively fighting' the officers, who should have kept their distance and they have filed a law suit against the police department.
Black Lives Matter claim Suhr's officers 'executed' Woods and that the officers involved should be charged with his murder.
Police chief Greg Suhr has faced repeated calls for his sacking or resignation and he had already been under pressure when Woods was gunned down.
Fourteen officers were implicated in a race scandal last year when they were found to have exchanged racist and homophobic text message and an inquiry is ongoing.
Woods' mother Gwen's lawyer told TMZ she was pleased her son's death was on the global stage. She appeared to believe that Beyoncé knew about the protest.
Her son, who suffered from mental health issues, was known to police as a gang member and had carried out an armed robbery and had pleaded guilty to possession of a firearm.
He was sentenced to seven years in 2012 and had no regular job when he was released.
His friends say he was gunned down in an area where he used to live and he would hang out on the street corner asking people to buy him a beer because the area was familiar to him.
'He didn't threaten anybody. He was a nice young man and he got cut down for nothing,' said one.