"On The Run...From?"

Thursday, August 7, 2014

I waited a long time to publish this, mainly because it is a personal response written on my phone, in the wake of an immense adrenaline rush after the “On The Run Concert.” I also do not like to meddle in celebrity gossip here, but before deleting it off my “notes” section I thought, why not? (This was written on my phone and to maintain its authenticity I did not do any hardcore editing, so please excuse this piece :/ )

Beyoncé and Jay-Z are a celebrity power couple, pulling in millions of dollars and "made respect" every year. Perhaps one of the most impressive aspects of their marriage is their ability to keep their relationship private. They have done so for the entire twelve years of their relationship, even after a high profile marriage, birth and the everyday rumors. Their reasoning for such privacy has been that they both would like to be known for their music and not their persona, which is incredibly respectful given that the majority of modern celebrities gained popularity based off their relationships with the media. But, I must say that their "On The Run Tour" is a moment where their music and their personal lives intertwined into something beautiful: real life marriage.

I arrived at the MetLife Stadium with one of my best friends, armed with hot dogs and a beer, and the overwhelming excitement to see Queen B and her Hubby-J. The premise for the show was "Bonny and Clyde," which they have used in the past (2001). The screen on the stage had a tagline: THIS IS NOT REAL LIFE.

Throughout the show the screen showed clips of the Bonny and Clyde J and B, as they robbed, made-out, and drove wildly around the western desert regions of the U.S. The show was full of entertainment, but I kept in mind the opening tagline: THIS IS NOT REAL LIFE.

Then the show took an emotional turn. Prior to the tour, rumors leaked about Jay-Z being unfaithful to Beyoncé. While it was unlike either party to acknowledge the rumors with a response, Beyoncé appeared on screen with a gun under her wedding dress, which she uses to shoot an unrevealed victim. Considering the prior clips has shown Jay-Z being all lovey-dovey and teaching her how to shoot, the audience was left to assume he was the victim. The unrevealed Jay-Z also shot Beyoncé several times, as she continued to try and shoot him. And then, Beyoncé appeared on stage in a wedding dress and sang one of her less popular songs: Resentment.

Here is a snippet of very telling lyrics:

  • I know she was attractive, but I was here first
  • Been ridin' with you for six years why did I deserve
  • To be treated this way by you, you
  • I know your probably thinking what's up with Bee
  • I been crying for too long what did you do to me
  • I used to be so strong but now you took my soul
  • I'm crying can't stop crying can't stop crying
  • You could've told me that you wasn't happy
  • I know you didn't wanna hurt me
  • But look what you've done-done to me now
  • I gotta look at her in her eyes and see she's had half
  • of me
  • How could you lie?

While the song came out as a track on her B’Day album, B decided to change a couple of the lyrics during the concert. “6 years” turned into “12 years (hint hint)” and she sang “I know she was attractive, but…” and proceeded to point to her perfect figure.

The song went on for longer than the track does, and there was this realization that fell over the crowd: this was personal. After she finished, Beyoncé got up and moved to another part of the stage and began to sing one of the most heartbreaking dilemma songs of all time: "Ex-Factor" by Lauryn Hill.

When the song finished, we were left with a voice-over of Beyoncé discussing forgiveness:

"Forgiveness is me giving up the right to hurt you through hurting me…. Forgiveness is the final act of love."

As Beyoncé walked offstage with the love and attention of hundreds behind her, Jay-Z braved the stage, and performed "Song Cry,” one of his early singles about regretting the bad choices he made that destroyed a loving relationship he once had. While both Beyoncé and Jay-Z performed (back to back-again hint hint) two very old songs, the lyrics seemed to be all too relevant in their current lives.

This was a powerful moment in the whole show. Had they just revealed a very personal detail of their lives to us? Considering their avoidance to divulge their personal life and to be all about their music, it's almost no surprise that if they were to ever reveal anything personal, it would be through music. Nothing was explicitly explained, but the audience had enough to put the pieces of the puzzle together.

The two then were on stage for the remainder of the show, basked in light and both looked deeply in love. The screen behind them stopped flashing images of Bonnie and Clyde, and instead had clips from their wedding and home videos. It was quite touching to see the normal aspect of their lives.

The real home videos of their lives had the tagline: THIS IS REAL LIFE, a clear response to the dramatic and pop culture driven images we were previously shown.

We were then left with the quote "Die in love and live forever."

So what does this all mean? As a young woman, standing there, in the wake of love, life, and career, I could not help but feel they were showing us the true side of one of the most romanticized concepts: marriage.

Often young people aspire to marriage, or we see it as a natural progression in life. It is the ultimate way to "grow up." But what no one tells us is that you're not an adult at 27. You don't stop growing as an individual once you get married. Your identity as “you” does not just dissipate once you get hitched.

Jay-Z and Beyoncé showed us all that marriage is STILL about growth, and part of growing up is screwing up, and learning from it. Marriage is not meant to be perfect, and it is what you can get over as a couple that makes you stronger. After all, if you're in love, is there anything else worth more to fight for? After all, I believe in: Die in love and live forever.

In the end, though, Beyoncé did say, “The greatest act of love is forgiveness.” Only time will tell how this quote fits into her life.

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