Over the weekend, the entire world stopped when Beyoncé and Jay-Z dropped a surprise album, Everything Is Love. The couple, who are currently on the road for their On The Run II tour, also released a video for “Apeshit” and the title of the song described our (and the Internet’s) overall reaction to it. (It already has over 10 million views in YouTube!) Beyoncé and Jay-Z shot the video at the Louvre in Paris, which also happens to be the largest and most visited museum in the entire world, and quite naturally Beyoncé slayed in every single look she wore throughout the video.
The video was directed by Ricky Saiz, who also directed Beyoncé’s “Yonce” video. Her longtime stylist Zerina Akers was the mastermind behind each of the singer’s looks, and June Ambrose styled Jay-Z. On Instagram, Akers shared, “The Louvre will NEVER be the same. Thank you @Beyonce & @RickySaiz.#APESHIT So wonderful to work alongside @juneambrose constantly slaying Jay’s looks.”
And beyond the music, lyrics and fashion, what makes each scene even more powerful is the white European art displayed throughout the Louvre and how Beyoncé and Jay-Z interject images of Blackness throughout the video. Although the famous museum mainly showcases white art, Beyoncé and Jay-Z highlight images of Black subjects and even upstage the Western art by singing, rapping, dancing and showing off their wealth in front of art that ironically depicts European conquerors and our oppressed African ancestors. They even reduce several of the world’s most famous pieces of art, particularly the album cover where they show a Black woman picking a Black man’s afro in front of the Mona Lisa, to simply background imagery.
In the opening scene in front of the Mona Lisa, Beyoncé is spotted wearing a power suit while standing next to Jay-Z in a similar mint green suit, proving that they both wear the pants in their relationship. Beyoncé’s lavender-pink pantsuit is designed by Peter Pilotto, and symbolizes femininity and power.
In the following scene, the Carters are standing in front of the Winged Victory of Samothrace atop the broad Daru staircase. The statue honors the Greek goddess Nike who represents victory and strength. Beyoncé is wearing a white haute couture gown by French designer Stéphane Rolland that quite honestly could pass for a wedding dress, while holding hands with Jay-Z and proving how victorious and strong the couple is after renewing their vows.
In the next scene, Bey is sitting next to Jay-Z while wearing a Versace headwrap, bralette, robe and pumps. The robe was custom designed by Michaela Stark. On Instagram, the designer and seamstress said, “@beyonce wearing a custom made robe by Michaela Stark for her most recent video ‘Apeshit’ with Jay-Z. I created the robe by revisiting garments from the @Versace home range. Thank you, everyone, who was involved!! It was such a pleasure to be a part of this project.”
Beyoncé and Jay-Z then appear standing in front of the Great Sphinx of Tanis, an Egyptian statue that has the body of a lion and head of a king. (All hail King Jay and Queen Bey!) Beyoncé is wearing an MCM hat, bodysuit and trench coat over her shoulders with Y/PROJECT’s spiral patent leather boots. The bodysuit is also part of the MCM x Misa Hylton collaboration. Jay-Z wears a tailored three-piece suit with a long coat over his shoulders as well.
Beyoncé first appears with her female dancers in tow in front of The Consecration of Emperor Napoleon, which depicts the coronation where Empress Joséphine was crowned. Beyoncé wears a Burberry bralette and pants while her dancers wear nude crop tops and leggings, but the most significant part of this scene is Beyoncé and her eight female performers dancing in front of a symbol of white monarchy and overpowering it with the synchrony of their Black bodies.
In another scene, Beyoncé and Jay-Z are standing hand in hand in front of the Venus de Milo. While Jay-Z is seen wearing another suit with a gold chain and huge medallion, Beyoncé is simply wearing a nude bodysuit and head wrap. Could Beyoncé be comparing herself to the Greek goddess Aphrodite who the Venus de Milo depicts and who symbolizes love, beauty and procreation? Yes, without a doubt.
Beyoncé also wears a bedazzled bodysuit and mask in one scene that reminds us of one of her On The Run II tour looks. The couple also appear outside, in front of the Louvre Pyramid, where Mr. Carter is wearing yet another suit while Mrs. Carter is sporting a black bodysuit and coat.
As the video comes to an end, there’s a two-second shot of Marie-Guillemine Benoist’s painting “Portrait of a Negress.” Painted in 1800, it’s one of the only pre-20th century images of a Black woman who wasn’t a slave. Fast forward over two hundred years later, and Beyoncé and Jay-Z are challenging white art and authority and celebrating Black beauty and culture in the most stylish way ever. “Apeshit” is a true masterpiece indeed.
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