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Elizabeth Wellington: Is Beyoncé and Jay-Z's Tiffany diamond ad really about love?

Elizabeth Wellington, The Philadelphia Inquirer on

Published in Fashion Daily News

When I caught a glimpse of Tiffany & Co. commercial starring Beyoncé, draped in the brand's iconic 128.54-carat Tiffany Yellow Diamond, I thought: Oy, this can't be real.

The 90-second commercial, "About Love," features the pop star dressed like Audrey Hepburn in the 1961 classic film "Breakfast at Tiffany's." Bey is only the fourth woman, and the first Black woman, to wear the Tiffany Diamond and the commercial is at the center of the 184-year-old luxury brand's strategy to attract younger customers. I'm not sure it's realistic, considering "About Love's" aesthetic hearkens back to a time when the parents of its target audience weren't even born.

I love a fashion throwback. Show me a time when a little black dress and a messy updo isn't chic. What I find problematic is the place "About Love" puts modern women in. It opens with Beyoncé playing a gleaming white piano and breathlessly singing "Moon River" to Jay-Z, who, with a head full of springy locs, is cosplaying Jean-Michel Basquiat. He's rich, and as the private jet sits in the background, Beyoncé is reduced to arm candy.

The vibe is insulting in its suggestion that a happy, content and loved woman is an ornament, embodying the outdated adage that women are to be seen, not heard. How can this messaging be good for the culture?

When you add this demure, quiet, submissive version of Beyoncé to the mix, Lewis-Giggetts said, "it feeds into the engine of patriarchy that silences women — especially Black women."

I've always found Beyoncé aloof, but I've never confused her reluctance to engage with a lack of intelligence. I think her choice to be silent is intriguing. She sells an image without using any words. That's smart.

 

So I assume she's aware that women are fighting for our lives. Our reproductive rights are under siege. We are struggling to care for our families in the midst of a pandemic. We're trying to hold on to jobs, health care and our sanity. And we are holding men accountable who think it's OK to take liberties with our bodies.

We can't afford to be quiet.

Diamonds don't fix these problems.

"One thing is for sure," Lewis-Giggetts said of Beyonce, "her timing was just bad."

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