Queen Bey doesn't acknowledge people on her social media accounts very often, so when it does happen, you know it's big. On Thursday, Beyoncé's birthday wish to Michelle Obama on her 55th birthday showed just how much she respects and admires the former first lady. The two icons have long since shared a kinship in the spotlight, each of them supporting the other in their separate fields of influence. So it's no surprise that Beyoncé's message to her fans about Michelle was short, sweet and to the point: "Bow Down."
Beyoncé's Instagram for Obama was not only an intimate portrayal of the former first lady — it also contained an Easter egg for her more diehard fans. The font that's superimposed over the black-and-white photo of Obama as a child is a callback to the lyrics for one of Beyoncé's more revolutionary singles, "Flawless."
"Flawless," which was released on Beyoncé's self-titled surprise album in 2013, was a feminist manifesto that featured a cameo by author and activist Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. The lyrics to the famous song read in part,
I took some time to live my life/But don't think I'm just his little wife/Don't get it twisted, get it twisted/This my sh*t, bow down b*tches
The Obamas and Beyoncé and Jay Z have been friends for over a decade; during his first presidential campaign, Barack Obama was endorsed by Jay Z, and Beyoncé sang at his first inaugural ball, per CNN.
But perhaps even more profoundly, Michelle Obama and Beyoncé might have a greater connection than their spouses. To The Washington Post in 2014, Mark Anthony Neal said, a professor of black popular culture at Duke University, said, “From the standpoint of black America, we would be hard-pressed to think of another time when we’ve had two such examples of what it means to be a successful black woman on their own terms."
In the past, Obama and Beyoncé haven't been shy about heaping on the praise for one another on social media. For Beyoncé's birthday in 2015, Obama tweeted, "Happy birthday to the one and only, Queen ! Thank you for being a role model for young girls around the world,
In fact, Obama thinks so highly of the performer that she posted an Instagram in 2015 saying that if she could be have any other occupation in the world, she would be Beyoncé.
Similarly, in 2012, Beyoncé said via Vanity Fair, "Every time I see [Obama], she inspires me, she empowers me, she encourages me to live a healthy lifestyle... I'm proud to have my daughter grow up in a world where she has people like you to look up to."
In a world that may feel increasingly volatile in many ways, it can be reassuring to know that some dynamics are holding true over time.
Though Obama hasn't clarified how she's spending her birthday, it wouldn't be out of the realm of possibility if she was spending it with her good friend, Beyoncé: after all, Beyoncé performed at Obama's birthday party in 2014.