Who wants that perfect love story anyway (anyway)? If you ever wondered what “Love on the Run” might look like after over a decade of marriage, three children, millions more dollars, and some very public personal reckonings, Jay-Z and Beyoncé are giving us an updated glimpse at their version of marital bliss in the latest installment of their ongoing and highly controversial campaign for Tiffany & Co, titled “Date Night.”
Granted, given its Breakfast at Tiffany’s inspiration, the imagery might be slightly more “cliché, cliché, cliché, cliché” than their former “‘03 Bonnie and Clyde” personas, the couple trading in their whip on the West Side Highway for a chauffeured Rolls Royce (sans “Partition”) on New York City’s Fifth Avenue. (Aye, it’s been 18 years. You know what we call that? Growth.) Though we’re sure the spot has been in the can for a minute (and are blessed with some behind-the-scenes footage), the campaign, the first installment of which garnering understandable controversy in August for featuring Jay, a Tiffany Yellow Diamond-clad Bey, and a rare Basquiat, has also subtly dialed back the ostentation this round.
Mimicking the taxicab scenes from the iconic 1961 film, there are far less opulent displays of rocks along for the ride (though a 10-carat diamond ring, 6-carat diamond earrings and famed “Bird on a Rock” brooch are all present, as noted by People magazine). Instead, the focus is on romance as the Carters enjoy a signature New York slice (folded, of course), glasses of the Jay-Z-owned “real champagne” Armand de Brignac, and play a flirty game of “he loves me, he loves me not” with daisies.
And it’s...dare we say it? Cute.
But while there may be a billion dollars in the
elevator back of the aforementioned Rolls, the real star of the spot (and arguably, the Carter clan) is nine-year-old daughter Blue Ivy (now in braces!), who makes a surprise cameo about halfway through the two-minute film.
As previously reported by The Root, the Carters’ partnership with Tiffany & Co. includes a $2 million About Love Scholarship program through BeyGOOD and the Shawn Carter Foundation for five smaller HBCUs: Lincoln University in Pennsylvania, Norfolk State University in Virginia, Bennett College in North Carolina, University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff and Central State University in Ohio. However, the philanthropy, while no doubt much appreciated by the schools in question, did little to stem the controversy sparked by a Black couple promoting diamonds. Specifically at issue was the 144-year-old, 128.54-carat Yellow Diamond, which is presumably not conflict-free (though it has escaped technical status as a “blood diamond”), garnering outrage over its obvious origins in colonialism.
As noted by Susanne Ramírez de Arellano for NBC’s Think:
I find it hard to believe that Beyoncé was completely unaware of this ugly historical context. Following the backlash, an unnamed source said to be close to Beyoncé (so take that for what it’s worth) claimed the singer “is disappointed and angry that she wasn’t made aware of questions about its history.” ... This is a history the Carters should have known because they are one of the world’s most powerful couples of color. Beyoncé actively addresses race and African issues (“Black is King”) and both artists occupy a privileged place on the world stage from which they have spoken out about the exploitation of Africans.
Clearly, the show—and contract—must go on. However, another conflict of note? Jay has been named co-defendant in a breach of contract lawsuit for allegedly failing to fulfill the terms of a 2012 agreement for a fragrance line named “Gold.” The rapper, who filed a $2.7 million countersuit, is expected to be compelled to testify in a civil case which began jury selection Monday, according to the New York Post, which reports:
The 51-year-old artist, whose real name is Shawn Carter, is named in a breach of contract lawsuit filed by Parlux Fragrances accusing him of failing to peddle the Gold Jay-Z fragrance line under a 2012 agreement...Parlux filed the lawsuit in Manhattan Supreme Court in 2016, claiming the “Empire State of Mind” rapper declined to push the perfume, including on Good Morning America and in Women’s Wear Daily. He’s also accused of refusing to do a promotional appearance at Macy’s.
The lawsuit claims it even pitched a contest involving a $20,000 perfume bottle with an 18-karat gold cap as the prize — only to have Carter reject the promotion and keep the prototype.
The company claims it lost $18 million in all because Carter allegedly didn’t live up to his end of the bargain — and names Carter and his company, S. Carter Enterprises, as defendants...Carter countersued, claiming he is still owed $2.7 million by Parlux in the deal.
Despite the submission of a video deposition, during an October 1 hearing New York County Supreme Court Judge Andrew Borrok advised Parlux attorney Anthony Viola to “do this the old-fashioned way,” and call the rapper as a live witness. (Maybe he just wants to meet Jay-Z?) Viola stated he plans for Carter to take the stand first, though that has not been confirmed.
“This should be sorted out pretty quickly now given the fact that Mr. Viola knows that I’m encouraging him to call the artist and the artist’s business manager,” said Judge Borrok (h/t NY Post). “So, the artist might be our first witness in the case if that’s what Mr. Viola chooses.”
So, there you have it: diamonds may be forever, but all that glitters isn’t “Gold.”