I’m thinking back to a conversation I had with an old friend at an event late last week. “Bey’s pregnant,” he whispered. I replied, “I knew it,” recalling a recent picture I had seen of her performing in a shiny, red, typical Beyonce get-up. Her face was fat, her tatas were bigger, and the fringes on her outfit were covering an obviously swollen belly. Just as I prepared to ask my friend if I could run with the rumor, he read my face and said, “They’ll know soon enough.”
Finally. Jay-Z had been allegedly calling for it like a crack fiend for a few years now – a child. And, as if his life couldn’t get any better, he had finally impregnated the biggest pop star on the planet. He and Beyonce revealed their joy live on the 2011 MTV Video Music Awards, arguably the biggest global pop awards show, for all to see. (Remember the days when Jay-Z wouldn’t even attend the VMAs???) Everyone cheered – whites, Blacks, women, men, and in-betweens – at Jay-Z and Beyonce’s shining moment. Mrs. Carter, performing in heels and gyrating just enough to still be sexy but not worry us all, had thrown down the mic and rubbed her growing belly. The camera panned to Jay-Z as he basked in the moment and the woman. The whole world went wild, but mostly we did.
And who are we? Young Black adults who are striving to hold fast to some of the values of our parents and grandparents – things like career, hard work, ambition, marriage, children, and legacy. We don’t have of a lot of these images to draw from among today’s Black pop icons. But, we were the Cosby Show generation. Perhaps that’s why we clung so tight to the beautiful Obama family in 2008, or why we collectively cringed last week at rumors of a Will and Jada breakup. We don’t have many, but we do have some.
Now, before I get all Disney movie-ish, I’m reminded that Jay-Z and Beyonce are not saints with perfect lives. In fact, the tabloids have rumored trouble in the Knowles/Carter union and business dealings several times during their nearly decade long relationship. But wait. Did you catch that? Decade long. In that time, they’ve weathered storms and catapulted themselves into the King and Queen of the Pop Culture Universe. Their work ethic and talents are unquestionable, and intelligently, they surround themselves with only a trusted few.
Jay-Z and Beyonce have been relatively successful at keeping their private moments private. Just think back years ago to the look on Jay-Z’s face when Ron Isley, from a podium in front of thousands, encouraged Jay to marry Bey. That was back when they were still playing coy about being together. But, against the odds and perhaps the prevailing industry cool of staying single, they got married. They traveled the world on yachts, dined with world leaders, and accomplished it all – except for fulfilling Jay’s longing to have a family. But, at the 2011 VMAs, they changed the game, and I would argue, some of the world’s perceptions about Black men and the Black family.
What they may represent is a lofty, last ditch effort by the Carters to remind others that Black love still exists. The statistics may say otherwise, but there are many holding true to their pursuit of the American Dream, with a good spouse/teammate at their side. In that respect, the mega-couple is just like the rest of us. For one shining moment, the TV cameras caught a glimpse of a very private Jay-Z and Beyonce being very public about their love and what they’ve created together. It was the world’s biggest and best publicity stunt ever, outshining Lil Wayne, Lady Gaga, and all others combined. I loved that they proclaimed it at the VMAs. At that moment, I believed it, and I wanted it, too.
Jay and Bey are finally having a baby and that’s a wonderful thing.