What does a “power couple” look like? Pop-wise, this year’s Grammys gave us an answer. It is a husband wearing $10,000 bespoke black tie, and a skirtless wife in a thonged, sheer bodysuit having it off with a chair. Ladies and gentleman, breadwinners and beatches – it’s Jay-Z and Beyoncé!
Confusingly, the power couple’s eye-catching duet came barely hours after the publication of Beyoncé‘s much vaunted essay on sexual equality. “We have to teach our boys the rules of equality and respect,” she had explained, “so that as they grow up, gender equality becomes a natural way of life. And we have to teach our girls that they can reach as high as humanly possible.”
Thus the Grammys performance felt like an intriguing feminist text for their impressionable audiences to get their teeth into – and it seems there is to be a sequel. Specifically, there is news that Jay-Z and Beyoncé are to embark on a joint, 20-stadium US tour this summer. The name of this extravaganza, according to the Sun? “Me and Mrs Carter.”
Now, Lost in Showbiz loves Beyoncé, and was even prepared to regard her own Mrs Carter tour as a slightly flat-falling joke … but honestly. Think it through, my love! There is still time to change the branding before the formal announcement. Short of “Me and Mrs Me”, this is possibly the least self-respecting thing an Independent Woman could call a double act. Whether Me bothered reading her essay I couldn’t say – but on this evidence few will think Beyoncé did, let alone actually bothered writing it. If Jay-Z feels too grand to even bother using his name, deploying his wife’s married formulation as a kind of knowing hint to the real megastar on the billing, he starts to feel less like her other half, and more like her other three-quarters.
Obviously, we have yet to see any tour artwork for Me and Mrs Carter, but under the circs, it is rather hard to rid the mind of those words of Spinal Tap’s Bobbi Flekman, which were uttered a hugely encouraging 30 whole years ago. “You put a greased naked woman, on all fours, with a dog collar around her neck, and a man’s hand extended out up to here, holding on to the leash, and pushing a black glove in her face to sniff it …”
Indeed, should Me and Mrs Carter proceed as is mooted, Lost in Showbiz won’t have felt this personally – personally! – let down by the couple since they took a reported $2m to perform at the New Year’s Eve party of Colonel Gaddafi’s sons, and in doing so provided yet another dispiriting celebrity answer to the perennial inquiry: how much money is enough?
But back to Beyoncé’s essay. “We need to stop buying into the myth of gender equality,” this insisted. “It isn’t a reality yet … But unless women and men both say this is unacceptable, things will not change … Equality will be achieved when men and women are granted equal pay and equal respect.”
So the way this column sees it, our benighted megastars have two options to even out previous imbalances. Either they switch the tour name to Me and Mr Knowles. Or they stick with it as it is, but the gig opens with a tuxedoed Beyoncé leading a bethonged Jay-Z on to the stage on a leash. Frankly, I’m not that fussy which one they go for. But it’s your move, power couple