Is Beyoncé and Jay-Z’s Tiffany Diamond Commercial Really About Love?
When I saw the Tiffany & Co. ad featuring BeyoncÃ©, draped in the brand’s iconic 128.54-carat Tiffany Yellow Diamond, I thought: Oh, that can’t be real.
The 90-second commercial, “About Love”, features the pop star dressed as Audrey Hepburn in the classic 1961 film “Breakfast at Tiffany’s”. Bey is only the fourth woman, and the first black woman, to wear the Tiffany Diamond and advertising is central to the 184-year-old luxury brand‘s strategy to attract a younger clientele. I’m not sure that’s realistic, given that the aesthetic of “About Love” dates back to a time when the parents of its target audience weren’t even born.
I like a comeback in fashion. Show me a time when a little black dress and a messy bun is not chic. What I find problematic is where “About Love” puts modern women. It opens with BeyoncÃ© playing a shiny white piano and breathlessly singing “Moon River” to Jay-Z, who, with a head full of elastic locs, cosplaying Jean -Michel Basquiat. He’s rich, and as the private jet sits in the background, BeyoncÃ© is reduced to an arm candy.
The mood is insulting in his suggestion that a happy, content, and loved woman is an adornment, embodying the outdated adage that women are to be seen, not heard. How can this message be good for the culture?
When you add this understated, calm and submissive version of BeyoncÃ© to the mix, Lewis-Giggetts said, “It fuels the engine of patriarchy that silences women – especially black women.”
I’ve always found BeyoncÃ© distant, but I’ve never confused her reluctance to engage with a lack of intelligence. I think his choice to keep quiet is intriguing. She sells a picture without using words. Clever.
So I guess she is aware that women are fighting for our lives. Our reproductive rights are under siege. We are struggling to care for our families in the midst of a pandemic. We try to keep our jobs, our health care and our mental health. And we hold men responsible who think it’s okay to take liberties with our bodies.
We cannot afford to be silent.
Diamonds do not solve these problems.
âOne thing’s for sure,â Lewis-Giggets said of Beyonce, âher timing was just plain bad.â
Tiffany announced this latest campaign in August. The first commercial, directed by Black is director of King Emmanuel Adjei, was released last week. Other films by Dikayl Rimmasch and Derek Milton, both of whom have previously worked with the celebrity couple, will be released this year.
Tiffany & Co. has pledged $ 2 million in scholarships and internship programs for black colleges and universities. And while this needs to be recognized, it does not compensate for the centuries of exploitation and abuse of Africans – especially South Africans – at the hands of Europeans who enslaved generations of South Africans, forced them to recover rough diamonds. Today, diamonds represent an $ 80 billion trade, but most miners live in poverty.
The Tiffany Diamond was discovered by De Beers South Africa in 1877, while the country was still under British rule. Charles Lewis Tiffany bought the diamond for $ 18,000 the following year. Today, the diamond is valued at $ 30 million. New York socialite Mary Crocker Alexander Whitehouse was the first woman to wear the diamond in public when she wore it to the Tiffany Ball in 1957. Since then, only Hepburn and Lady Gaga have worn it.
The first black woman to wear the Tiffany Diamond, BeyoncÃ© makes history as the company says, yes black people can sell glamor and our lifestyles are what consumers should covet. But there is a caveat: you must be ridiculously rich. “About Love” was filmed at the Orum Residence, a 9-bedroom, $ 56 million Los Angeles mansion that overlooks Bel Air.
The Tiffany Diamond is not the only diamond on display. BeyoncÃ© also wears a matching 22k yellow diamond ring as well as a 15.02 carat emerald cut diamond ring. An Apollo brooch is pinned to Jay-Z’s tuxedo and his cufflinks are reused as a Bird on a Rock brooch, his ring finger shimmers with one of Tiffany’s new men’s engagement rings.
Not only does Jay look like Basquiat, one of the artist’s rarely seen works, but âEquals Piâ is featured in the background. Jay types love letters to Bey on an old-fashioned typewriter and watches videos of his beloved. It’s sweet to see this couple so in love.
But, said Lewis-Giggets, it would be so much better to see them in love, but on an equal footing. “What would it have been like for them to do the same commercial with a BeyoncÃ© ‘Lemonade’ or ‘Black is King’? What if she brought all this energy to the brand? It would have told me that they were doing something different with Tiffany’sâ¦ presenting a new narrative that is about change and true empowerment.
It would certainly have more impact. When it comes to BeyoncÃ©, I’m in conflict. While I criticize this advertisement for the disturbing images of a powerful woman who is too submissive. But isn’t feminism the right of a woman to choose her destiny?
With âLemonade,â BeyoncÃ© made it clear that she wouldn’t let her husband turn on her. Her 2017 performance at Coachella was hailed as a tribute to historically black colleges. Doesn’t she have the opportunity to explore the facets of her life that allow her to be a little more submissive and to take advantage of her wealth? Just because we’re pampered in one aspect of our life doesn’t mean we’re a push in another.
âWomen are nuanced,â Lewis-Giggettts said. “We do not all fit in the same box and we have to make room in our society for women to be complex? Some days she can feel like Audrey Hepburn. Other days, she may feel like Megan Thee Stallion.
Yet, she added, it’s shocking to see Beyonce and Jay-Z as the glamorous faces of a company with roots so deeply rooted in colonialism. These ideals are the foundation of systemic racism and have kept blacks and browns from accumulating generational wealth for centuries.
And it is not at all a question of love.
Beyonce Knowles-Carter and Jay-Z attend the European premiere of Disney’s ‘The Lion King’ at Odeon Luxe Leicester Square on July 14, 2019 in London, England.