Currently in the middle of their ‘On The Run II’ world tour, the couple performed in London on Saturday night, casually mentioning at the end of the show that once fans left the stadium, they’d be able to log onto TIDAL and hear nine brand new tracks (a censored version has been made available to stream to Premium Spotify members).
Along with the album, Beyoncé and Jay-Z also released a stunning new music video for brand new track, ‘APESHIT’. Directed by Ricky Saiz, the clip was filmed at the Louvre and features some of the art museum’s most famous oeuvres.
The video is a veritable feast for the eyes jam-packed with hidden details, and here are just seven things that might have passed you by...
1. The significance of the location
The fact that the ‘APESHIT’ video was filmed at the Louvre is, of course, incredible (seeing the Mona Lisa room completely empty, without a camera phone-wielding tourist in sight makes the video worth a watch in itself).
But the choice of location becomes even more impressive when you consider the significance of two powerful black figures standing in such an iconic space, which many have pointed out often disregards both art made by and portraying people of colour…
2. The Mona Lisa
One of the most memorable shots of the ‘APESHIT’ video sees Beyoncé and Jay-Z standing in front of the Mona Lisa.
However, what you might have forgotten is that the pair previously sparked a meme way back in 2014 when they shared their photos from a trip to the Louvre, the most famous of which saw them posing in front of, you guessed it, the Mona Lisa (Buzzfeed at the time said it might be the “best picture of our generation… or any generation”, which seems ever so slightly dramatic in hindsight).
3. Beyoncé’s position in front of ‘The Coronation Of Napoleon’
In another of the video’s most iconic moments, Beyoncé and her dancers perform choreography in front of a huge painting of the crowning of Josephine by Napoleon.
Given Napoleon’s prominence in French colonialism, fans of the singer have once again applauded her decision to celebrate both her own racial identity and that of her dancers with his painting in the background, particularly when you consider that her position in front of the artwork makes it look as though it’s actually Beyoncé being crowned.
The fact each of the dancers are all wearing shades of “nude” that correspond to their specific skin tone has also been lauded.
More of an obvious one, maybe, but this shot that will interest anyone who cares about astrology, when you consider that Beyoncé was born on 4 September, making her a Virgo.
This isn’t the first time she’s referenced her astrological sign in her art, co-writing the song ‘Gift From Virgo’ on her debut solo album, ‘Dangerously In Love’.
5. The Venus de Milo
Much has been written in the past two years about Beyoncé and Jay-Z’s relationship, and whether or not the accusations of infidelity she made in her album ‘Lemonade’ would lead the two to split.
While the overall message of ‘EVERYTHING IS LOVE’ would suggest that they’re fully ready to leave all of that in the past, particularly as they stand hand-in-hand in front of the goddess of love herself.
6. Young men taking a knee
As we’ve mentioned, the ‘APESHIT’ video is full of subtle political and social messages, but one of the more explicit images comes towards the end of the video, when a group of young black men are seen “taking a knee”. It’s a move football players began doing during the National Anthem in 2016, as a protest against the oppression of black people in the US, particularly police brutality.
This shot airs as Jay-Z raps about having turned down the Super Bowl, saying: “Tell the NFL we’re playing stadiums too.”
The NFL (National Football League) announced last year that any teams whose members took a knee during the national anthem would face fines, a move which drew negative criticism on social media.
7. The Mona Lisa’s second appearance
Da Vinci’s most famous work returns later in the video, in a scene which sees Beyoncé’s dancer, Jasmine Harper, using an afro pick to comb the hair of Nicholas $lick Stewart.
The contradiction of this regular scene in front of the Mona Lisa has proved particularly poignant among viewers of the ‘APESHIT’ video, with many highlighting it as their stand-out moment:
The couple clearly intended for this shot to stand out, as they also used it as the album artwork for ‘EVERYTHING IS LOVE’, and in still form, it’s easier to make out that the handle of the comb is a small Black Power salute.
The Carters’ new album, ‘EVERYTHING IS LOVE’ is available to stream now.