Beyonce and her husband Jay Z rented out the Louvre, the palace of art. It’s only fitting that a queen and her king walk these halls in their latest music video, “Apes**t.” The Louvre is the largest museum in the world, containing some of the most famous pieces of art ever made. The couple made their own art right in front of these pieces.
The Carters released the video on June 16 of this year as the lead single from their collaborative album,” Everything Is Love”. The album is co-written and co-produced by Pharrell Williams who assisted their growth creatively and personally.
The video is filled with some of the most lavish paintings and sculptures that profoundly express Beyonce’s personal growth in understanding her role in the world.
Take, for example, “The Coronation of the Emperor Napoleon I and the Crowning of the Empress Josephine in Notre-Dame Cathedral on December 2, 1804.” Napoleon, who was extremely wealthy due to the exploitation of black and indigenous people, is shown crowning his lavishly dressed wife, Josephine, who came from a wealthy white Creole family, as his Empress.
Beyonce’s ancestors on her mother’s side are also Creole. We see her dressed in Burberry, flanked by lines of black women dressed in nude leggings and bras, dancing and holding hands demonstrating their raw strength and power. Beyonce is placed right in the middle as if she were the one being crowned, rather than Josephine. This image is consistent with her well-established message that cautions against underestimating a woman’s power.
The main focus of the video is obviously the couple and their dancers, but there are a few shots that focus completely on the art, as well as some that do not even include the Carters.
One of the most notable is the “Portrait of a Negress” shown towards the end of the video. It profoundly depicts a black woman that is in a state of freedom rather than subjugation.
The most well-known piece included may be da Vinci’s Mona Lisa. “Cosmopolitan” reported that the Carters visited this piece specifically following the birth of their first born, Blue Ivy. The pair are shown standing hand-in-hand directly in front of the portrait many times during the video, including the first time we see them and again at the conclusion.
These shots imply that they are as elite as the Mona Lisa itself. Jay Z previously referenced Da Vinci, Pablo Picasso, and other distinguished artists in his song “Picasso Baby” where he talks about wanting to freely live a lavish life.
Mrs. Carter uses her platform as a celebrity to promote feminism. This is made evident through her shows, such as the controversial Grammy performance featuring her pregnancy while sporting an Egyptian goddess costume.
Additionally, her lyrics often show her support of the feminist movement, such as those found in “Run the World” and “Flawless.” The lyrics to “Apes**t” open with Beyonce saying, “Gimme my check, put some respeck on my check / Or pay me in equity, pay me in equity / Watch me reverse out a deck.” Continuing with her support of equality, she immediately opens this song by drawing attention to wage inequality for women.
Consistently throughout the song, she continues to sing “I can’t believe we made it / This is what we’re thankful for.” The estimated $18,000 paid to rent the Louvre (Zogbi), the exquisite costumes, and cinematography shown in this video are evidence that they have indeed “made it.”
In fact, only the most successful artists get invited to perform at the Super Bowl. Both Beyonce and Jay Z received invitations, however, according to the “Los Angeles Times” Jay Z turned down his invitation in support of Colin Kaepernick’s silent protest drawing attention to police brutality.
In just a few lines of verse, Jay’s rap in “Apes**t” includes a bash at the Super Bowl. He explains that they need him, but he has no need for them because every night he and his wife have their own ‘end zone’ while performing in NFL stadiums. He ends it with the burning question of the whole song: “Have you ever seen a crowd going apesh**t?”
The big picture take away of the lyrics and the video are the concepts of freedom and success, as well as an appreciation for arts and culture. The coordinated clothing of Beyonce and Jay Z, the dancers and the finesse with which they move, the magnificent art in the Louvre, and the architecture of the building all contribute to the video’s success.