Public Display of Publicity Featuring Jay-Z and Beyoncé

By: Eliza Borish

In the last two weeks, Jay-Z and Beyoncé have starred in two now infamous online videos. The first video, mainly starring Beyoncé’s younger sister, Solange, was leaked out and took place in the elevator of the Standard Hotel at a Met Gala after party. Solange appears to be attacking Jay-Z in the elevator as Queen B watches from the middle and tries to intervene. Without audio, it is hard to decipher what the actual reasons for this argument were, but the video does reveal a violent undertone and seriously aggressive altercation. I have heard different rumors and theories from all sorts of people on why Solange went on the attack: Was Solange drunk? Is Jay-Z cheating? Did fashion designer Rachel Roy provoke Solange earlier that evening? Could it be all three? Well, definitely; but I’d like to believe that the King and Queen of R&B are perfectly fine in their marital bliss and so from my mind, I have eliminated that option of infidelity altogether.

The second video released this week was a music video for Jay-Z’s song “Part II: On the Run” and was made to resemble a feature film trailer. “Run” as the video is being called, includes many celebrity appearances (No Solange!) from Blake Lively to Rashida Jones to Don Cheadle. Car chases and explosions aside, the music video promotes the couples upcoming 16-city tour. Who wants to go with me?

These two different videos span the spectrum of publicity: one offers insight into the personal (and not perfect) private life of the couple, while the other provides a glimpse of what to expect in their next joint professional venture. It seems to me that the couple has gone from negative publicity to positive publicity right in front of our eyes. At the end of the day, all press is good press (does this count when you are that famous?), but this shift in spectrum occurred so fast, it’s hard to remember that Solange attacking Jay-Z only occurred only a week earlier.

I have to ask myself, was “Run” released on purpose at this time to distract the elevator video or is it merely a coincidence that this star-studded action packed music video in which Jay-Z and Beyoncé are aligned as bad guys comes out right after a devastating video that shows a family argument?

At the end of the day, this overlapping in timing is probably just luck: a music video that intense takes time to produce and their tour does begin June 25th, so it highly unlikely that “Run” would not be released within the month. If anything, my guess is that they moved the release up a bit earlier to combat the bad publicity of their family relations with the good publicity of a music video and an impending tour. If that is the case, then their publicist made a great decision. People are no longer talking or thinking about the family drama, but rather singing along in anticipation of Beyoncé and Jay-Z’s tour. When it comes to Solange and her attack on Jay-Z, it’s no longer a point of conversation; with this music video on the forefront, all I think of is what elevator video?

While we may never know what exactly happened, we can take a few things away from this. In the aftermath of a viral public incident:

1)    Don’t dig deeper: after the elevator fight, Solange deleted all but one photo of her and Beyoncé on her Instagram account. This only added fuel to the fire and allowed fans to further speculate on what really went down.

2)    Let it go: family drama is normal, as in any type of drama. Sure, it is tougher to do in the public eye and with social media, but don’t prolong drama. Once it’s done, talk it out, release a statement, and move on.

3)    Deter: just like with their music video, get people taking about something else. Don’t make it feel forced, but if you have something else to offer, like “Run”, showcase that.

4)    Keep it professional: often people are more interested in what is going on behind the scenes, but remember, unless you are a Kardashian, you are famous for a talent, so always focus on that and the negative stuff will eventually simmer down.

5)    Publicist: lastly, if you do not have a good publicist, get one! Your publicist is an appendage of your brand, so their words and their ideas maintain the image you wish to perceive. In times of crisis, it’s their duty to think creatively and strategically.

Publicity can make or break you; it’s all about how the public perceives you. Jay-Z and Beyoncé are lucky to fall back on a devoted fan base, but for them it’s more than luck: they built their image rightfully so and thus, earn the respect that comes with a loyal fan base. With their talent, marketing, and overall, personas, an incident like an elevator fight won’t change much for their image. Their past good publicity allows them to prevail on, even in the wake of negativity. I mean, I still love you, Beyoncé, Jay-Z, and even you Solange, with your flailing arms.

Coincidence or not, people are now talking about a music video, not an elevator fight and once again, in just a short amount of time, Beyoncé and Jay-Z are on the right (and positive) spectrum of publicity.

What tips do you offer when consulting a public crisis? If you disagree with mine, let me know! Comments and feedback are always welcomed and if you like what you read, be social and share.

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