Before I was even born, I was well versed in JAY-Z's discography, so I'm used to thinking long and hard about the music he puts out. Every step he makes is intentional and a metaphor. That's why when I saw Beyonce's looks in "Family Feud," I couldn't help but pick up major Corleone Family and religious elements. Beyoncé and JAY-Z lead the pack when it comes to subliminal messages, and consistently prove that "no one wins when the family feuds."
While the world is patiently waiting for the start of a new year, JAY-Z decided to remind us that when it comes to innovation, The Carters will not be outdone. Before the release of the "Family Feud" video, a song featured on his album 4:44, Roc Nation took to social media to tease a 30 second teaser. Before I dive into "The Godfather" elements and breakdown who the Corleone family is, let's get into Beyoncé's look.
In an age of women running the world, her whole demeanor showcased that the ladies run this. Whether that means society, our households, the boardroom, or the classrooms, the limit does not exist and the glass ceiling is no longer a deterrent. With Tidal's tagline "We let the music speak for itself," JAY-Z lets the whole world know that he may be the block, but Beyoncé is still the light that keeps the streets on.
According to the @stylebeyonce Instagram, this look was styled by Marni Senofonte's (one of Beyoncé's stylists) assistant, Sébastien Hohl. The costume designer for the video was Ayanna James. In one of the looks Beyoncé wore a navy dress, with a deep V style neckline. Although her dress has a deep V, the XIV Karats jewelry and a hat keep the focus above her neck. Over top of the dress she is wearing a large JGerard Couture black leather corset, which was orginally released by the @stylebeyonce Instagram.
If you notice her hat, it kind of looks like a mitre. The mitre or miter, is a type of headgear that is known as a traditional, ceremonial head-dress of bishops and certain abbots in traditional Christianity. It's also worn in the Orthodox Church, Roman Catholic Church, Anglican Communion, Lutheran churches and in the Eastern Catholic Churches.
The second look, where Beyoncé is seated in the confessional with JAY-Z, is my favorite. Although you can't see a full look of the black dress, she is wearing a Stephane Rolland Fall/Winter 2017 Couture Ensemble. The sleeves on this look make her so ethereal. Her side profile, and squared off expression, make her stance confident and strong. She completes the look with long black gloves and a super sleek bun to compliment her gold earrings. She also isn't holding some wand of doom, that gold piece is actually part of the dress.
I'm not sure where Bey and Jay's religious views fall, but both JAY-Z and Beyoncé have consistently brought up religion in their music. God and religion is something listeners have seen many artists grapple with in their music. What's interesting to note is that the first time we see Beyoncé, it looks like she is standing in the pulpit.
In the Christian church, the pulpit is where preachers stand. It's built well above the surrounding floor for audibility and visibility purposes. Wherever you're seated in the church, everyone has a direct view to the pulpit. In the Roman Catholic Church, the pulpit is mandated for specifically clergy only. If you're a Beyoncé stan though, you know that she's not comparing herself to a priest, or even God, which is what most people might think at first. That's how the Corleone Family and religious components intertwine.
In "The Godfather", the aspect of family is the most important theme of all. Money and popularity come and go, but betrayal and losing sight of ones family will stick to you forever. Throughout "The Godfather" series, the aspect of family is juxtaposed with crime. No matter how harsh the crimes that are committed, it is always brought back to the core root: Family is everything.
Rather than focusing on any specific individual, the family is made to be the most important unit. The prime goal is the success of the family and individual goals are subservient.
The only way to know 100 percent why Beyoncé was put in this role is if she speaks out about it. If you listen to the lyrics though, then crosscheck that with her dressed like a clergy member, the presence in church, and the act of confessing, the subliminal message is clear. The concept of family is important in both religion and the Bible.
While many previously wondered if the teaser (which shows a woman who isn't Beyoncé making out with a man) referenced JAY-Z's cheating, I don't believe that's at the heart of this song. When JAY-Z says "no one wins if the family feuds," Beyoncé's presence isn't a reminder of his infidelity. In "The Godfather," Don Vito Corleone himself defines manhood saying, “a man who doesn’t spend time with his family can never be a real man.”
And the same hold trues on "Family Feud": Beyoncé's (and Blue's) presence reminds JAY-Z to keep his eyes on his family (and their faith). That is the only way "the family" wins.