Diamonds, I’m sorry to say, aren’t Beyoncé’s best friend — even if the Grammy Award-winning artist and her new corporate partner, Tiffany and Co., would like to make it so.
Last week, Tiffany released a new campaign featuring Beyoncé, husband Jay-Z — and the famed 128.54 carat yellow Tiffany diamond, discovered in South Africa in 1877 at the Kimberley Mine by Charles Lewis Tiffany. His iconic company gleefully lauded the fact that Beyoncé is only the fourth woman — and first Black woman — to wear the glamorous necklace; her predecessors include Audrey Hepburn, who wore the stone in publicity photos for her 1961 movie, Breakfast at Tiffany’s.
Tiffany may be trying to rebrand, but it has badly misjudged the ethos of the moment. Its campaign does not celebrate Black liberation — it elevates a painful symbol of colonialism.
It presents an ostentatious display of wealth as a sign of progress in an age when Black Americans possess just 4 percent of the United States’ total household wealth. If Black success is defined by being paid to wear white people’s large colonial diamonds, then we are truly still in the sunken place.