Everyone’s favorite couple, Jay Z and Beyoncé, (just kidding, they’re very polarizing) dropped a promo for the On The Run tour. Jay Z and Beyoncé never half-ass anything so the trailer isn’t your typical trailer. It’s for a star-studded faux-movie with high caliber actors that will never be released. The trailer features Sean Penn, Don Cheadle, Guillermo Diaz, Emmy Rossum, Blake Lively, Jake Gyllenhaal, Rashida Jones and Kidada Jones.
In it Jay and Bey play up their “Bonnie and Clyde” narrative once more. It’s always been funny to me how the two most affluent, most decadent celebrities like to think of themselves as gangster renegades. In a lot of ways they are, given Jay Z’s background (“I sold kilos of coke, I’m guessing I can sell CDs. I’m not a business man. I’m a business, man!”) and Beyoncé’s defiant redefinition of beauty. Yes, in 2014 she seems like the most conventional beauty of our time but just a few years ago her big butt, full thighs and brown skin were written off. There was a point where Beyoncé was only for the Black community and not digestible for the whole world. While, it’s a little um, lame, whack, even bland, that Jay holds onto this narrative of being a king pin when we all know he has dinner with the President, collects the artwork of Jean-Michel Basquiat and is a major investor in more than a handful of products, it’s actually an important story. It’s not only important that Jay doesn’t forget where he came from, it’s important that we never forget. Not just because it may inspire some young buck drug dealer somewhere to become something bigger and better than what was expected of him but it reminds us of the savvy and knowhow it takes to live a life of poverty.
In many ways Jay Z and Beyoncé are a lot like rebels. What they’ve accomplished is not what people expected them to accomplish nor what people wanted any two African Americans to accomplish. Who else is like Jay and Beyoncé? No one. It’s because they’re pioneers. Whether you like them or not, whether you think their schtick is inauthentic or even deceptive, they’ve done it on their own. There was no path to be followed or to recreate. They had to imagine themselves this powerful without a single role model. They forged their own way and I am sure there are piles of bodies Beyoncé and Jay get to step over in very expensive shoes because of it. The “Bonnie and Clyde” narrative is probably the truest of Beyoncé and Jay Z. Any couple this united and this successful has probably had to destroy some lives along the way to world domination. We’ve all seen House of Cards. We know what power does to people and we know what people do to get it.