“Beyoncé and Jay Z welcome twins” was Monday’s rare glimpse of good news, relayed in headlines around the world. The babies’ names and genders are still secret. We only know they’ve been “welcomed”.
Modern celeb pregno-parlance requires all parents “welcome” babies, as if the newborns are arriving through Heathrow Terminal 1, greeted by banners hastily bought from Clinton’s Cards. We accepted without quibble the term “flaunted a baby bump” to mean “left the house while knocked up” but I’m not sure about this “baby-welcoming” business, even if it’s Beyoncé and Jay-Z. “Welcome” is a verb which evokes an idea of distance or reunification. This is quite the opposite of pregnancy, where a bundle of cells squat mercilessly in one’s lower torso, with their head against your bladder, aggravating one’s piles for nine long months.
However, if anyone is deserving of the flowery language of 21st-century fecundity it is Beyoncé Knowles. The star’s pregnancies take the form of a sort of global quasi-religious celebration of having a bun – or in this case two – in the oven.
Beyoncé with child is, essentially, part Eighties Leigh Bowery performance art project, part-Star Trek Borg Queen regulating the transwarp hubs. When Beyoncé is pregnant, we are all pregnant.
Giant pandas get up the duff more inconspicuously than Queen Bey. In your friendship group, Beyoncé is that mate who wees on Clearblue One Step at midday and by quarter past one is tormenting Pizza Express servers with demands for pasteurised burrata, except instead of Pizza Express it’s the Grammy Awards and instead of burrata it’s a 24-strong dance troupe of diaphanous-frocked all-female worshippers beholding her tip-top fallopian tubes.
Of course, none of these sparingly humoured jokes about Beyoncé’s womb will land smoothly with “the Beyhive” – the collective name for Beyoncé’s internet fan base – because, well, nothing lands smoothly with the Beyhive.
Beyoncé and the Pope have a self-perpetuated problem in common, in that they have swanned around publicly in swishy robes, insinuating they are in some sort of unique communion with God, the Spirit and Oneness for so long that now many addled sorts believe them. But while the Pope has the Pontifical Swiss Guard to protect him from detractors and overexcited admirers, Beyoncé has a battalion of excitable teenagers on steaming smartphones, with names like Lemonade234. The Beyhive is willing to “drag bitches” to their death for insinuating Beyoncé mimed at the Superbowl.
Over in the Beyhive, being dragged today, is poor Mathew Knowles, Beyoncé’s 65-year-old father, who had the temerity to confirm late on Sunday that his daughter’s babies had been born. “They’re here! #beyonce #twins #jayz #happybirthday,” he wrote on Twitter and Instagram.
“But I don’t understand?” I hear some of you say. “Isn’t the sight of Beyoncé’s dad being helpful, sweet and refreshingly non-starry about this life event a feelgood thing?”
No, it is not, fools! It’s quite the opposite. It is, according to the Beyhive, thoughtless and churlish and mean-spirited. It was not, it seems, his place to comment on his own daughter.
“I really hope you had Beyoncé’s permission to announce this because otherwise you are so far out of line,” one Instagram commenter wrote. “It’s Beyoncé’s news and if she felt ready to announce the birth she would have done it by now.”
The modern internet thrives with self-appointed moral arbiters het up on matters they know little about. I’m as guilty of this as anyone else. Who is to say Beyoncé didn’t approve her father’s announcement? Or schedule it herself?
For what it’s worth, I loved that Mathew Knowles fired up a crappy Word Document template and typed ‘Happy Birthday to the twins! Love, Granddad’ into the balloon-covered box. It’s adorable. Nothing says proud, overexcited dad more than a slightly rubbish pre-made template littered in exclamation marks. And if Knowles was supposed to remain silent, then there is nothing more human than your family messing up.
However, Beyoncé fans, like most ardent pop fans, are not much interested in plain old human reactions. They want fanfare and pomp and official photocalls from their pop hero. They want a surprise eight-part concept album dropped overnight on Tidal and a video montage with Beyoncé dressed as St Francis of Assisi or perhaps Boudicca, newborn baby under each arm.
Personally, I care not how I heard of Beyoncé’s twins; I just can’t wait for Halloween as now Beyoncé’s family has swollen there is even more scope for amazing costumes. Finding out what brilliant costume Beyoncé and her children are forcing Jay-Z to wear every late October – Jean Michel Basquiat, Ken from Ken and Barbie – has become somewhat of a public holiday in my house.
The ironic thing about Beyoncé and family is that they really don’t take themselves that seriously. It’s a shame that her fan base, especially at a happy time like this, can’t relax a little too.Reuse content