Nine years ago Tuesday, when he managed to get Beyoncé to stop twirling her hand long enough for him to put a ring on it, Jay Z became Mr. Knowles. The two have been through a lot since then: limo sex, the birth of their child and future protector of the world Blue Ivy, a fracas in a Meatpacking District elevator, a tour that convinced us they weren’t breaking up, an album that convinced us they were breaking up, twins (still on the way), Jay jumping into a pool for the first time. These two are the pinnacle of celebrity couples: so famous, wealthy, and otherworldly, yet relatable enough that entire articles are written about their apparent normalcy. They — and I guess when I say “they,” I actually mean “Bey” — have an unparalleled ability to turn rote blips of celebrity gossip into events. They make the release of information and the slightest pulling back of the curtain feel like the ultimate privilege.
And maybe it is! Tuesday, in celebration of her anniversary, Beyoncé released a music video for a song we’ve already heard (“Die With You”), of home video footage that we’ve maybe already seen — as well as a 63-track playlist on Tidal (the gift isn’t the playlist, it’s the promotion for Jay’s streaming company) — and all I want to do is talk about it.
In particular, here are some things I’m curious about:
What kind of camera does Beyoncé own?
I’m 99 percent sure it’s the one my dad had when I was born in the late ’80s. Follow-up: Does Beyoncé know better cameras now exist? Has she figured out that if you swipe right in the iPhone’s photo app, it turns into a video recorder? Or does she know that filming exorbitantly lavish shit — drinking rosé on a boat, having a private playdate in the end zone of the Superdome, receiving diamond rings that cost more than my life — in the lowest quality possible makes it an act of populism, therefore eliminating the likelihood of envious backlash?
Is this going to be in ‘Bad Boys 3’?
Michael Bay, don’t overthink this.
How many times in my life will I see Beyoncé and Jay Z getting their ring fingers tattooed?
The limit does not exist. The footage was definitely used in the “All Night” section of Lemonade, and I’m convinced it was floating around the public domain before that. When the divorce rumors were peaking, several reports suggested that Beyoncé had her ring-finger tattoo removed. I imagine that she continues to return to this footage now that she and Jay are not splitting up as the ultimate statement of their love (also, she’s probably just so proud of the triple entendre that is getting an “IV” tattoo on your ring finger when your anniversary is 4/4 and your daughter is named Ivy). It’s funny, though, that while showing this footage confirms her love for Jay, it does not confirm whether or not that tattoo remains on her finger. Beyoncé stays cryptic, even when making you feel like she’s being forthright.
Does Jay Z play backgammon?
You see that, right? That’s a backgammon board. (Are they called “backgammon boards”?) If this belongs to Jay Z, it’s extremely on-brand. Even more so if that glass of white wine is also his. After all, he is the guy who seems endlessly interested in Frank Sinatra and who looks about as comfortable dabbing as my Aunt Judy.
Does this video make you more or less of a Bey-Conspiracy Theorist?
Because Bey and Jay have such a tight grasp on their public personae — and because, you know, neither of them ever shies away from an Illuminati reference — they’re disproportionately prone to being the subject of conspiracy theories. The big one that emerged in the wake of Lemonade, a Beyoncé album about, among other things, experiencing and coming to terms with your spouse’s infidelity, was that all of the marital discord was for show. For art’s (and album sales’) sake. Does this video and wifely dedication add to the theory? I’d like to believe that it’s possible to still find love in a relationship after a cataclysmic event. Even after your spouse cheats, you might one day find forgiveness and allow him or her to film you singing a sickly sweet love song on an expensive piano with an assuredly even more expensive painting in the background.
If this is how Beyoncé celebrates a ninth anniversary, what can Jay expect for the 10th?
Do you think she’ll convert all of their video tapes into DVDs? I bet Jay would like that.