Have we reached Peak Beyoncé?
The singer's newest bid to break the Internet hints at someone who has bought into their own legend
Another day, another Beyoncé story. Within 8 minutes of posting her latest image, Beyoncé was trending in eight different ways worldwide, which is impressive if you’re into that sort of thing.
The bar set by Kim Kardashian’s champagne-toting bum and even Beyoncé’s bump has been set even higher by a new image that you’ll almost certainly have seen by now. Part ethereal Venus of the Waves, part “women in a brawl with a curtain factory”, Beyoncé – holding her month-old twins Sir and Rumi – looks like absolutely no-one’s idea of a new mother of newborn twins.
Granted, Beyoncé is not in the business of doing the regular mum thing (read: under-eye circles, breast milk in hair, general air of being under siege). But this vision of sun-kissed bombast? Reader, my eyes rolled like slot machines.
In a way, Beyoncé’s Instagram image is to be admired. It’s an empowering, celebratory image of femininity, if nothing else. Maybe the woman is just having fun. Maybe she’s a proud mum eager to show off her children, like all others. And I will defend any mother’s right to call their child anything they please. But there’s something about calling a newborn son “Sir”, and doffing a cap to religious iconography to boot, that hints that you’ve bought a little too hard into your own legend. Lest you’re wondering, Rumi is a Japanese girls’ name and likely a nod to a Persian poet Jelaluddin Rumi, in case you thought it might be because she was, well, someone else’s roomie for nine months.
When it comes to music legends – and I mean the icons that transcend the ages – this excessive celebrity machine stuff is relatively new. The big celebrity baby reveal was once the preserve of D-listers and try-hards on the hunt for a magazine deal, not stone cold music icons.
This is over the top. This is a deliberate, cynical grab for attention on a weapons-grade scale. This is try-hard, Kardashian carry on. Ironically, today is the day that Beyoncé, with her all-too knowing bid to break the Internet, crossed the rubicon from icon to mere celebrity. Icons don’t play to the fame machine like this. They don’t have to.
When Beyoncé revealed her pregnancy on Instagram months ago, there was the similar nod to religious iconography; the nearly sheer veil, the halo of bulbous, lush flowers. Perhaps this is the forming of a new incarnation. We’ve had Beyoncé the down-home Texan, we’ve had Sasha Fierce, we’ve had Beyoncé the New Political Goddess, and now we have Beyoncé the Rococo Goddess Mother. The Bey-hive – the singer’s legion of fans - probably can’t wait to see what overblown statement she pulls off next. I certainly can.