The way Beyoncé and Jay Z have managed to straddle the line between not letting the public completely starve from lack of details about their private lives, while keeping us as far away from their bedroom as possible, is impressive. It’s a level of control even the biggest celebrities of the day don’t typically get to exercise anymore.
However, more recently, the media vultures and those that soil so many conversations on Twitter have collectively swarmed around the Carters—pressed to find out if the pretty picture they’ve portrayed all these years is real. And while the rumor mill continues to grind out imaginary Jay and Bey topics to feed itself, the Carters are perfecting their poses and laughing at us all.
Leading the charge is the New York Post’s Page Six column, which swears, on a thousand copies of Dangerously in Love, that the end is nigh for Beyoncé and Jay Z’s marriage. That prediction has since spilled over to daytime on programs like The Wendy Williams Show and other media outlets looking to cash in on the click bait.
Yet as rumors and speculation began to swirl, the Beyoncé information balloon began to contract.
Having learned the lessons from previous unwanted depictions, Beyoncé has learned to control the narrative and react to unwanted attention on her own terms. This was especially evident in Beyoncé’s HBO documentary (not really) Life Is but a Dream, in which she told the story of her life through a glorified Instagram filter.
Or in other words, she and her husband have learned that if you’re going to be trolled, you might as well troll back.
Case in point, Beyoncé quipped in the newly released remix to “Flawless”: “We escalate, up in this bitch like elevators. Of course sometimes s—t go down when there’s a billion dollars on an elevator.”
This recalls other reactions to rumors circling all things Beyoncé and Jay Z. For example, whether or not their daughter, Blue Ivy Carter, was truly carried by Beyoncé, or if her conception and subsequent delivery mirror the storyline on Halle Berry’s new show, Extant.
Even if we saw video of the birth, I imagine some people would still argue that because those two are so rich, they probably tapped someone from the Avatar production team to put a clip together. Oh, wait, the public has since moved on to Blue Ivy’s hair and whether or not Child Protective Services ought to be called in to bring a comb.
Which led to Jay rhyming, “They even talk about your baby crazy,” on “Picasso Baby.”
Meanwhile, when it came to the rumors about the state of her marriage, Beyoncé didn’t give an interview or pen some blog post; she took to Instagram to upload pictures with captions like, “My favorite hue is Jay Z Blue.” There are clips as recent as this past weekend of them dancing together onstage and gleefully smiling at each other.
Even this didn’t stop the speculative articles from discussing Beyoncé the divorcee. In one story, a crisis coach was quoted: “She is going to be the most powerful woman in the world, hanging out with Michelle Obama and Oprah Winfrey and Blue Ivy and talking about being a single mom. The goddess suddenly becomes even more relatable to women everywhere.”
To be fair, when you see Beyoncé’s sister re-enacting “Street Fighter” in an elevator with an unwilling participant in Jay Z, there is reason to pause and wonder if there’s a problem in the relationship. Even so, they collectively released a statement back in May that spoke of accountability and reconciliation.
Naturally, this was not enough to appease folks because it didn’t include details about where Solange learned to roundhouse kick, whether or not she made Jay Z bleed, and if so, what might his blood type be?
No matter, given that the aforementioned proves that even when you are largely loved, you are still susceptible to the ugliness of celebrity culture and the people who actively engage in it. Beyoncé probably understood this far sooner than most may give her credit for.
Yet none of this has outweighed the speculation.
It has to be draining to be the sort of celebrities who believe that their business is just that, in an era in which dogma now dictates that the second you attain even a fraction of fame, your right to privacy is immediately outweighed by the public’s insatiable need for celebrity intel. Still, these two deal with it as best they can. It may mostly be tongue in cheek, but they both understand that the truth wouldn’t be enough anyway.
Michael Arceneaux hails from Houston, lives in Harlem and praises Beyoncé’s name wherever he goes. Follow him on Twitter.