Keeping Up with the Carters

Bey and Jay

These days it seems rare to find magazine covers that aren’t discussing the marriage of Beyoncé and Jay-Z.  In a certain light it makes sense because they are major celebrities, so why wouldn’t they be on the covers?  This part is not so surprising.  What I have found interesting is not so much the fascination with them but more so what seems to be the collective rooting for their failure, more specifically, the failure of their marriage. 

It seems like each time I go to the grocery store, which is quite often these days, I am confronted with a headline speculating about the demise of Jay-Z & Beyoncé’s marriage.  From the fight between Jay-Z and Solange, which was rumored to be over Jay-Z’s inappropriate behavior with Rachel Roy, to Beyoncé changing the lyrics of her song (about a breakup) on tour to reflect the number of years that she and Jay have been in a relationship, everything is interpreted as the end of their marriage.  While I understand our fascination with all things celebrity, I have noticed that the coverage of these two seems to lean towards a hope for the end of their marriage.

I don’t know why.  Perhaps it could be because the story of a divorce is more interesting than one of a happy and unpublicized marriage.  Evidence of this can be found on the ratings of reality television and day time talk shows each week.  People clearly love to tune in to other people’s drama.  On the contrary, this could also point to changing views on marriage in society.

In conversations with colleagues, family, and friends, I have begun to notice a shift in society regarding marriage.  People don’t seem to be as into it or as supportive of the institution as they once were.  In fact, many millennials are putting off marriage and opting for the single life.  It is, however, one thing to choose to be single and another thing all together to be anti-marriage, which seems to be where society is headed.  This shift could explain why people seem so desperate for news of the Carter’s divorce. 

Just think about it.  For most of their relationship, the Carters have kept a relatively low profile.  Everyone knew that they were married, but the details of their marriage were mostly private.  It wasn’t until the elevator incident with Solange that the rumors hit like a tidal wave.  Suddenly, every magazine and news outlet was reporting news of trouble in the Carter household and predicting a divorce.  Pictures of family outings of the two celebs, along with baby Blue, found themselves on Beyoncé’s tumblr and other social media sites.  This has also been interpreted as a desperate attempt to portray themselves in hip-hop, Cosby-esque fashion in order to dispel the breakup rumors. 

I get how people could read it that way, and I understand why people would be fascinated with the Carters.  My question is why the prospect of their divorce has gained so much public interest, even with solid fan bases that seem super supportive of all things Carter.  Are we drawn to the news that suggests an oncoming divorce because of our addiction to drama, specifically other people’s drama?  Or are we, conversely, interested because of a new societal norm that has less of a regard for marriage?  Are we just drama fiends, or are we anti-marriage enthusiasts looking to say, “I told you so.”  Who knows?

  • People like flaws. And since celebs give indications of being “flawless” (conveniently placed) we, the public, publically root for the good guy, but secretly wish the villain would win. In this case the villain is failure. I think the Solange fiasco shed light and proved to them personally, as well as, the world why keeping your private life private is the best choice. The world is not your friend and when they get one hint of blood they immediately look for the wounded.

    I also think its a fascination with relatability. We want to know they are just like us. We want to know they hurt just like us. We want to know that Jay treats Bet like shit sometimes and we want to know that she is a fool behind it. We want to know that she loses her cool and jumps on his ass because she’s tired of the bull!! Its not enough to hear her sing about it. We want to see it! We don’t want to believe its true love because although it exists….it has and will never happen for some. We want to think this is a business deal and that two people can’t decide to be great together! We want the drama….not the perfection. We want flawed. Not flawless.

  • @FULLofWHIT, I can see your point about people loving flaws. I think that the whole “misery loves company” thing is real. Thanks so much for your comment.

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