Rolling Stone voted Beyoncé’s ‘Formation’ the best music video of all time

The video was directed by Melina Matsoukas.

Rolling Stone has ranked the 100 greatest music videos of all time in honor of MTV’s 40th anniversary, and Beyoncé’s music video for ‘Formation’ is at the top of the list.

Photo: Instagram

The Melina Matsoukas-directed video, which debuted during Black History Month in 2016, was described by the magazine as “a striking commentary on significant moments in Black American history.” According to Rolling Stone:

If Beyoncé’s self-titled visual album established her as one of the greatest artists of all time, her surprise-released ‘Formation’ video (and ensuing album Lemonade) marked her as one of the most important. She partnered with directer Melina Matsoukas, who culled inspiration from the likes of Maya Angelou, Octavia Butler, and Toni Morrison in a striking commentary on significant moments in black American history. In under five minutes, Beyoncé moves from a plantation-style house where the black denizens are the masters not the slaves to the top of a sinking police car. Notably, she released the video in the first week of Black History Month 2016, the day in between what would’ve been Trayvon Martin’s and Sandra Bland’s birthdays. Days later, she would perform the song at the Super Bowl, surrounded by dancers in outfits inspired by the Black Panthers.

The top 20 list includes Madonna’s ‘Vogue’ at number three, Childish Gambino’s ‘This is America’ at number four, Michael Jackson’s ‘Billie Jean’ at number ten, Beyoncé appears again at number twelve with ‘Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)’, and female rapper Missy Elliot’s ‘The Rain (Supa Dupa Fly)’ appears at number sixteen.


See Rolling Stone’s top 20 music videos of all time below:
1. Beyoncé – Formation
2. Johnny Cash – Hurt
3. Madonna – Vogue
4. Childish Gambino – This Is America
5. New Order – The Perfect Kiss
6. Beastie Boys – Sabotage
7. D’Angelo – Untitled (How Does It Feel?)
8. Peter Gabriel – Sledgehammer
9. Guns N’ Roses – November Rain
10. Michael Jackson – Billie Jean
11. George Michael – Freedom ’90
12. Beyoncé – Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)
13. Nirvana – Smells Like Teen Spirit
14. A-ha – Take on Me
15. The White Stripes – Fell in Love With a Girl
16. Missy Elliott – The Rain (Supa Dupa Fly)
17. Duran Duran – Hungry Like the Wolf
18. Prince – Kiss
19. Radiohead – Paranoid Android
20. DJ Shadow featuring Run the Jewels – Nobody Speak


Written by Ralph Okobz

I'm GRUNGECAKE’s Global Music Editor. Connect with me on Instagram and Twitter.