The Heartbreaking True Story Behind Beyoncé's "Formation"

If you, like us, have seen the “Formation” video about a million times, eventually you start to wonder about its source. For example: Who provides that perfect vocal sample that says, “What happened at the New Wildins” and “Bitch I’m back…by popular demand.” Though Beyoncé seems all-powerful enough to conjure amazing spoken word samples out of the ether, the voice belongs to an actual human being.

Messy Mya, birth name Anthony M. Barre, was a member of the New Orleans bounce rap scene along with Big Freedia, who also featured prominently in the video. Mya posted regularly on YouTube, producing short comic videos commenting on life, dissing those that offended, and dropping a series of catchphrases. Mya, with purple hair and a ten-packs-a-day voice, is a magnetic presence.

But Mya isn’t around to collect any accolades. Mya was murdered in a still-unsolved crime that took place in 2010. Afterwards, the Mya persona went viral and eventually found its way into the Beyoncé video. Mya’s story is a heartbreaking example of the terrible living conditions still prevalent years after Katrina.

For the full details, including the story of a man who was tried for Mya's murder, released from suspicion, and then retried, check out this story on Fusion.

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