Over the weekend, Kerry Washington tweeted about her Lemonade hangover — and nope, it had nothing to do with alcohol. Instead, she was referring to the emotional response shared by the Beyhive after Beyoncé's Lemonade HBO special aired and its accompanying album dropped. In a single night, the "Formation" singer totally changed the music game. And Beyoncé also reignited rumors that Jay Z may have cheated with a woman referred to in her song "Sorry" as "Becky with the good hair." And thanks to an Instagram Rachel Roy posted implying as much, Roy is believed to be Becky. In response, fans have been going after the fashion designer in full-force, but this bullying needs to stop.
Bustle has reached out to reps for Beyoncé, Jay Z, and Roy regarding the cheating allegations, but has not yet heard back.
Following Bey's HBO special, Roy posted a cryptic Instagram captioned, "Good hair don’t care, but we will take good lighting, for selfies, or self truths, always. live in the light #nodramaqueens." This sure makes it seem like it's related to those lyrics. Still, it doesn't confirm anything. Her Instagram account has since become private, but Roy tweeted on Sunday:
I respect love, marriages, families and strength. What shouldn't be tolerated by anyone, no matter what, is bullying, of any kind.
While Roy did seemingly insert herself into the conversation with her "good hair" caption, why is it that Roy has been the subject of Internet vilification, yet Jay Z is essentially scot-free even though there's no doubt about his connection to Beyoncé? I'm not saying it's right to attack either of them, especially when the cheating rumors are just that — rumors. As much as I want to say their private lives are their own business, I get that there's a certain level of scrutiny that inevitably accompanies life in the public eye, which is why everybody's talking about it. But the tone of the conversation is rather unfair and slanted in the direction of slut-shaming. The jokes directed at Jay Z are less frequent and less harsh.
Making the situation all the more frustrating, Lemonade memes began surfacing, joking about Hillary Clinton and how Monica Lewinsky was her version of "Becky with the good hair" during the Bill Clinton cheating scandal in the '90s. At the time, Lewinsky faced endless humiliation, which followed her for years. She even gave a powerful TED talk about the shame. Ironically enough, even Bey took part in joking at Lewinsky's expense. In her 2014 song "Partition," Beyoncé sings, "He Monica Lewinsky-ed all on my gown," referencing the infamous blue dress incident which quite literally marked Bill's infidelity. It's not really fair to make Lewinsky's name a verb when she wasn't the one who ejaculated, is it? Semantics aside, it just further proves how women tend to bear the brunt of blame in cheating situations.
Despite all of the above, Bill Clinton is still renowned as a well-liked president, even though he was impeached in 1998. But on the flip side, Bill's indiscretions have been used against his wife during her presidential campaign. At a GOP Debate in January, Rand Paul said, "The thing is, [Hillary] can’t be a champion of women’s rights at the same time she’s got this that is always lurking out there." The "this" he was referencing was Bill's affair.
The Guardian's Dave Schilling recently explored the comparison between Hillary and Beyoncé, writing, "With her new album, Beyoncé became the ultimate survivor — and made her husband the most hated man in the country. Hillary Clinton could learn from her." Although the situations certainly share similarities, I don't necessarily agree with this particular sentiment; the idea that these women somehow have to redeem or prove themselves in the public eye, just because the men in their lives were unfaithful. What kind of backwards system is this?
This misguided blame game also happened in 2005 when Brad Pitt allegedly cheated on then-wife Jennifer Aniston with Angelina Jolie. (The former couple denied this in a statement to People at the time of their divorce.) Instead of everybody saying, "Wait a minute, Pitt shouldn't leave his wife for another woman," people took sides and made T-shirts that said "Team Jen" or "Team Angelina." What about Team Women? Why is everybody pitting these ladies against each other, instead of holding the men accountable for their indiscretions? To me, that's a load of B.S.
This is a trend with celebrities that even pours over into entertainment. Another example that comes to mind is from my favorite Canadian drama, Degrassi: The Next Generation. (Yes, the show where Drake got his start.) When Craig Manning cheated on Ashley Kerwin, Manny Santos became the "school slut," even though she was the one who Craig cheated with; she wasn't the cheater. In one episode, Manny perfectly put it: "Craig was cheating on his girlfriend but nobody ever talks about that, do they?"
I'm not condoning cheating at all, but I think that people need to rethink where they place their blame, especially since it tends to get dumped on the women. The way that Roy has been attacked online is unacceptable. I saw this firsthand when Bustle shared an article about Roy on Facebook on Sunday. In the comments, one user wrote, "Any woman that knowingly sleeps with a married man is a slut." and it received more than 150 likes. Another wrote, "This b*tch is ugly. Any man that would cheat on Bey is cray cray." These are just a few examples.
You can be the biggest Beyoncé fan in the world, but you don't have to defend her honor by throwing another woman under the bus. Let's leave Roy alone. After all, Bey is a big advocate of feminism. I doubt she'd want her fanbase slut-shaming on her behalf.
Image: Teen Nick