New York's former mayor is not pleased with the Queen B.

Rudy Giuliani, a onetime Republican presidential nominee, yesterday criticised Beyonce for what he described as an "attack" on police officers during her Super Bowl halftime show performance.

"This is football, not Hollywood, and I thought it was really outrageous that she used it as a platform to attack police officers who are the people who protect her and protect us, and keep us alive," he said during a morning appearance on Fox News Channel. "And what we should be doing in the African-American community, and all communities, is build up respect for police officers. And focus on the fact that when something does go wrong, OK. We'll work on that. But the vast majority of police officers risk their lives to keep us safe."

Giuliani and other conservatives took issue with Beyonce's halftime performance, which carried a strong theme of black empowerment. It featured her flanked by women sporting afros, black leather jackets and black pantsuits - a clear nod to the Black Panther Party of the 1960s and 1970s. At one point, her backup dancers formed an X, a possible reference to civil rights leader Malcolm X.

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Marni Senofonte, who styled Beyonce for the show, explained the move in an interview with Essence magazine.

"It was important to her to honour the beauty of strong Black women and celebrate the unity that fuels their power. One of the best examples of that is the image of the female Black Panther," she said. "The women of the Black Panther Party created a sisterhood and worked right alongside their men fighting police brutality and creating community social programmes."

Giuliani said the move political and called for "decent, wholesome entertainment".

Others praised the performance for sending an empowering message to a long-aggrieved group.

Beyonce and her dancers also raised a fist to the sky, reminiscent of the black power salutes of the 1960-70s, made popular internationally by Tommie Smith and John Carlos, who raised their fists after winning gold and bronze at the 1968 Olympics.

Melina Abdullah, a Black Lives Matter activist and leader in California, said it was wonderful that artists like Beyonce "are willing to raise social consciousness and use their artistry to advance social justice".

Lakeyta Bonnette, a Georgia State University political science professor, said more and more celebrities like Beyonce were moving toward public activism.

In 2014, basketball superstar LeBron James and other NBA players wore "I can't breathe" Tshirts to their basketball games. "I can't breathe" were the last words of Eric Garner, a black man who died after a physical altercation with police in New York.

- Washington Post, Bloomberg, AP