R&B diva Beyoncé and her husband, hip-hop mogul Jay-Z, have often supported pro-African causes and spoken out against the exploitation of Africans so the power couple is facing major backlash over blood diamonds after appearing in a new advertising campaign in which Beyoncé dons the massive, controversial Tiffany yellow diamond.
The iconic jewelry company presents Beyoncé and Jay-Z in its new ‘ABOUT LOVE’ campaign. The ad features photos of the husband and wife that were inspired by actress Audrey Hepburn and her legendary film, “Breakfast at Tiffany’s.”
In the photos, Beyoncé pays homage to Hepburn by wearing Hepburn’s iconic hairdo, black dress, and elbow-length gloves, Unilad reported. Beyoncé is also wearing Tiffany’s famed $30 million canary yellow diamond, the same one worn by Hepburn in the film.
Beyoncé is the first Black woman to wear the diamond, CNN reported. Lady Gaga wore it in 2019.
Tiffany has never been clear about the origins of the diamond. Many have claimed the 128-carat stone is a “blood diamond.”
What is known is that it was discovered in 1877 in the Kimberly colonial diamond mine in South Africa, and later purchased by Tiffany founder Charles Tiffany.
“Blood diamonds” are mined in conflict zones and sold (often illegally) to private buyers, funding warlords and supporting unethical mines that often use child labor and slavery, Unilad reported. Mines in South Africa were known for producing blood diamonds.
Some are questioning why Beyoncé and Jay-Z received a backlash when other artists have worn the diamond without facing similar criticism.
“He was on a song called Diamonds that was literally about blood diamonds, she did an entire album as a ‘tribute’ to Africa. They’ve both posed themselves to be pro-Black revolutionaries using the aesthetics and rhetoric. Any and all criticisms are justified and warranted,” tweeted AshleyStevens @The_Acumen.
She added, “No pretext of “I love them but..” is needed. If this can’t be criticized as is, then we are lost. It is ovah, and it’s one of the many reasons why celebrity must be abolished. Celebrity got y’all celebrating colonial violence without any pause and introspection.”
Great House @xspotsdamark tweeted, “Whites steal Tiffany diamond from Black people in Africa, flaunt stolen diamond for 150 years, let Black Person borrow stolen diamond for an evening. Yay we made it.”
The full ad campaign is set to debut globally on Sept. 2. The print campaign was styled by famous Black celebrity stylist June Ambrose and Marni Senofonte. A film version was created by Ghanaian-Dutch film director Emmanuel Adjei and will debut on Sept. 15 on the Tiffany & Co. website featuring Beyonce singing “Moon River”, Daily Dot reported.
In the ads, Jay-Z also wears iconic jewelry — Jean Schlumberger’s “Bird on a Rock” brooch from 1956 repurposed into cufflinks, Yahoo! Finance reported.
Another controversy in the ad campaign involves the use of a never-before-seen-in-public Jean-Michel Basquiat painting titled “Equals Pi.” The 1982 work is from Tiffany’s private collection.
Tiffany said the ad campaign reflects its continued support of underrepresented communities and it has pledged $2 million for scholarships and internships at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), according to a press release.
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