Beyoncé’s and Jay Z’s Apesh*t is Black Defiance in the time of Trump
This weekend, The Carters dropped their long promised collaborative album, Everything is Love. They announced this drop with the visuals for their song, Apes**t, seen above.
The epitome of the power couple literally shut down the Louvre, populated it with dancers of color and filled its halls with trap beats. The visual feast that is this video is a very black defiance and triumph in a traditionally white space.
I live. I am not the only one who thinks so. Rolling Stone also highlights these elements:
“Some of their mission involves the strategic highlighting of non-white images already in the Louvre. Beyoncé and Jay-Z rap in front of an Egyptian sphinx, and in galleries filled mostly with neo-classical French paintings — white artists, white subjects — the camera singles out black faces…Beyoncé and Jay-Z set about interjecting blackness into a space that has never placed much value on it, claiming one of the centerpieces of European culture with gleeful defiance.”
Again, I live.
The strategic choice of these specific paintings and placements are also not lost on us. A chain of Black dancers joined at the hands, arms raised in victory dancing in front of the painting of the “Crowning of Josephine”. This painting shows Napoleon crowing his wife Josephine in an opulent ceremony. Why this moment stands out throughout the video is that Napoleon was a known White Supremacist, even accused of shooting the nose off of the giant Sphinx in Egypt. By dancing with this painting in the background, Beyoncé is in essence asserting victory, if not triumph over this conquerer, and ultimately triumph of Black vibrancy over white supremacy.
There is also lyrical defiance during the song. The fact that there has been a lot of press surround Rosanne recently calling Valerie Jarrett an ape (which led to her show that I have affectionately been calling “Klan-nish” being cancelled) and the Carters releasing a song only weeks later called “Apeshit” where they fill the whitest of spaces with Blackness isn’t lost on me.
Jay Z raps “I said no to the Superbowl: you need me, I don’t need you. Every night we in the end zone, tell the NFL we in stadiums too.”at the same time the camera pans to a line of young black men taking a knee, alluding to the peaceful protests made popular by Colin Kaepernick and other brave NFL players.
Let it be known that The Carters are not here for the crazy and troll on a completely different level.
One Twitter user broke the video completely down by significance to the art pieces featured:
It is also not lost on most of us the timing of The Carters’ release. They released their long awaited project in a very Beyoncé way with no press or hype, and the world literally stopped. However they also dropped their project during the same weekend another popular rapper, Nas, dropped his album, produced mostly by none other than MAGA man, Kanye West.
Most of us aren’t feeling Nas’ since his ex-wife, Kelis, released an uncontested interview alleging years of violence and abuse. Add that The fact that this couple, who have just overcome their own bout of difficulties, emerge together with an entire project of brutally honest and affirming songs is definitely a jab.
But the couple also drops some serious bombs on Mr. West as well in several songs, but the most obvious of these can be seen in the song LOVEHAPPY “Y’all could make up with a bag, I had to change the weather / Move the whole family West, but it’s whatever /In a glass house still throwing stones /Hova, Beysus, watch the thrones.” If Watch the Throne sounds familiar, it is the title of Jay and Kanye’s own collaborative album. In LOVEHAPPY, Bey refers to herself as “Beyzus,” similar to Kanye’s Yeezus nickname, ultimately illuminating that she and Sean are the newer, stronger collaboration.
This album proves that Beyoncé and Jay Z troll on a completely different level. Or as one Twitter user said more succinctly:
Enough to make us all go apeshit.
This post was originally share on The Reclaimed Blog.