Here’s Why A Painting In An Ad Featuring Beyonce Has Sparked Controversy

beyonce Basquiat controversy
Beyonce Basquiat controversy: American music power couple Beyonce and Jay-Z are in hot water over the use of a legendary artist’s work featured alongside them in a brand campaign advertisement for a luxury jewellery brand.

The art in question was created by Jean-Michel Basquiat, widely considered one of the most influential artists of the last century. A champion for the downtrodden Black community in the US, Basquiat’s work held massive socio-cultural relevance, representative of class struggles, poverty, racism and identity.

One such painting, long-unseen in public, from Basquiat’s Equals Pi collection, has made its way to a campaign by Tiffany & Co. that features Beyonce and her husband. 

Though to celebrate the way eternal art symbolises the couple’s relationship, which fans hold up as the epitome of equal love, the brand campaign titled ‘ABOUT LOVE’ has invoked a rather antithetical response.

Criticism for Tiffany & Co. as well as the Carters floods the internet, where social media users are voicing a wide range of concerns. 

Beyonce Basquiat Controversy: Why People Are Angry

Among the first complaints is: Should celebrities and luxury brands be allowed to stake claims to invaluable art pieces in a personal capacity?

Many are also begrudging the way the painting changed hands. According to reports, the featured painting had been in the possession of a private owner in Milan, Italy since the 1980s. LVMH, the parent company of Tiffany and other luxury brands, made a hefty purchase earlier this year.

Netizens claim the allegedly covert manner a Basquiat painting is being passed around has an unethical ring to it – especially given the late artist’s staunch anti-capitalist stance. Some are accusing the brand of “hiding” the painting until its grand campaign release, while others are drawing attention to the use of priceless work as a mere “prop” in the backdrop.

Some more reactions from social media: 

Meanwhile, a different line of reasoning argues that there couldn’t have been a better choice than Beyonce and Jay-Z, both Black artists and two of America’s most prominent cultural symbols, to exhibit Basquiat’s work.

Notably, this campaign also makes Beyonce the first-ever Black woman and only the fourth person to wear the iconic Tiffany Yellow Diamond.

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