Story by Stereo Williams
Photos by Joi Pearson and Robin Lori
Jay Z has had better days. In the same week that Dr. Dre made nearly a billion dollars from the sale of his Beats By Dre headphone empire; and Sean “Diddy” Combs spoke at the commencement for Howard University and was awarded an honorary doctorate, “Young Hov” was videotaped getting beaten up by his wife’s little sister.
When TMZ published grainy footage of Solange Knowles pummeling the hip-hop superstar in an elevator shortly after the 2014 Met Gala, the Web went into a frenzy. And can anyone be surprised? The solidarity that Jay and his megastar wife Beyoncé have always projected hasn’t shown any chinks in the proverbial armor until now, and the ferocity and intensity of Solange’s attack suggests that Jay Z said or did something that went way over the line — at least, in her mind. And it’s not every day that you get to see a hip-hop icon taking a beatdown from his sister-in-law. We never got to see Rebbie Jackson punch Jermaine Dupri in the face. Who knows if Khloe Kardashian will ever give Kanye West the body-slam he so richly deserves? This is a groundbreaking moment in hip-hop dirty laundry.
There is no real precedent for this.
The unified front and impenetrable PR fortress that is the marriage of Jay Z and Beyoncé has become something that transcends them both as individual celebrities. The Jay-Bey union occupies that same strange place that Barack and Michelle and Will and Jada (at one point) have occupied in the collective black consciousness. They are A-listers in the American black pop culture hierarchy and the biggest power couple on the planet. This is the first time the public saw friction, tension and anger that may be bubbling behind the scenes, at least as it pertains to Bey’s feisty lil sis. Has there always been bad blood?
The same day that the video surfaced, Jay Z and Beyoncé appeared at Barclays Center together to watch the Brooklyn Nets take on the Miami Heat in Game 4 of the NBA’s Eastern Conference Semifinals. If there is turbulence in their world, they aren’t letting anyone see it as of yet. But there are little signs that something may be amiss in the Carter-Knowles circle.
Just days before ElevatorGate, Beyoncé posted on Instagram:
“Lord, l lift up every one of my relationships to you and ask You to bless them … Help me to choose friends wisely so I won’t be led astray … Give me discernment and strength to separate myself from anyone who is not a good influence. I release my relationships to you and pray that your will be done with each and every one of them.”
The bond between Beyoncé and Solange seemed fine just a few weeks ago, when the two shared the stage in a moment of sisterly unity at the Coachella Music Festival. But there are reports and rumors that things have been strained between them and these little flare-ups happen more often than fans know.