Indiana Daily Student

Black Voices: Beyoncé is facing heat after wearing a blood diamond

<p>Beyonce holds up her award on February 10, 2013, backstage at the 55th Annual Grammy Awards at the Staples Center in Los Angeles.</p>

Beyonce holds up her award on February 10, 2013, backstage at the 55th Annual Grammy Awards at the Staples Center in Los Angeles.

People were very displeased after Tiffany & Co. posted their new “About Love” campaign ad on Twitter featuring Beyoncé and Jay-Z. In the video, Beyoncé was wearing a blood diamond.

The term blood diamond, or conflict diamond, refers to the diamonds extracted from mines in various African countries through the forced labor of women, men and children, according to CNN. These diamonds are usually used to fund war efforts. 

Tiffany & Co. mentioned in a tweet that Beyoncé was the first Black woman to wear the diamond, as shown in the campaign ad, since its discovery in 1877. However, Beyoncé wearing the blood diamond seemingly contradicts what she represents, and that made fans question what she is standing for.

The campaign ad and Tiffany & Co.’s response to the tweet raised some eyebrows among Black people on Twitter and blew up quickly on social media platforms. This led to various critiques of Beyoncé claiming she is promoting colonialism while also representing the Black community.

When Tiffany & Co. was asked about the issue of conflict diamonds on their FAQ page, they explained that all of their materials are sourced ethically. 

According to Tiffany & Co., the diamond in the campaign ad is a 287.42 rough stone found in South Africa Kimberley diamond mines in 1877. However, according to the History News Network, the area where the diamond was found was land seized by colonists.

The History News Network said British colonists expanded territory by seizing the Northern Cape territory from Dutch colonizers. They then expanded their territory by seizing  Griqualand and taking ownership of the area where the mines are.

The diamond was not sourced by any ethical or sustainable measures but a rather violent one. This makes the diamond stolen property.   

Beyoncé’s mother Tina Lawson came to Beyoncé’s defense regarding criticism. In a comment under an Instagram post, Lawson said, “How many of you socially conscious activists own diamonds? I thought so! Well, guess what did you go to try to check to see where the diamond came from?” 

Many people didn’t think it was a good excuse Beyoncé didn’t know about the jewel’s history since she and her husband have many resources at their disposal as billionaires. Some people questioned how difficult it was for her to get this information when many people learned this fairly easily just by searching online.

If you are familiar with Beyoncé and Jay-Z’s work, you know they often promote pro-Black ideas. Some of Beyoncé’s recent work has also been African influenced, including her 2019 musical film “Black is King.”

The musical film displays various African traditions and includes songs celebrating Blackness, such as “Brown Skin Girl,” “My Power” and “Black Parade.” 

While Beyoncé has been expressing appreciation to Africa and its people, it still feels like a slap in the face to them. The wearing of the jewel represents British colonialism and Black exploitation in Africa while Black people on the continent are still facing the effects of it. 

Beyoncé and Jay-Z are entertainers, not representatives for the Black Community. Their allegiance appears to not lie with the Black people they like to talk about and showcase in their works. Their allegiance seems to be toward the preservation of capital and colonialism. This new campaign ad with Tiffany & Co. may have exposed just that.

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