Distracted by the couple's lit OTR II tour, fans didn't see Beyoncé and JAY-Z's surprise album Everything Is Love coming when it dropped on Saturday, June 16. To no one's surprise, the album's debut video "Apesh*t" is breaking the internet as we speak. A major part of the video's appeal comes from the gorgeous and loaded imagery provided by its Louvre Museum setting. On Monday, a Louvre spokesperson explained how Bey and Jay locked down the location to Vulture. Maybe fans should've seen this coming for a while now, because hints about a Beyoncé and Jay-Z's Louvre-set music video have been lingering for years.
In it, the power couple stands strong and united in front of "The Mona Lisa," rap in front of an Egyptian sphinx, and Beyoncé and a group of black women poetically dance in front of "The Coronation of Napoleon." That's in addition to the rest of the iconic artwork that appears throughout the video. No pun intended, it's a work of art. And it's clear this concept wasn't created overnight. In this case, not even over a few months. As the Louvre spokesperson pointed out, Bey and Jay visited the historical Paris museum four times in the last 10 years. They reportedly presented their idea for the "Apesh*t" video to the establishment during a visit they had — wait for it — last May.
But this goes even further back. Fans may recall that in 2014, Bey and Jay seemingly rented out the museum (as the Carters would be expected to), and they shared a bunch of photos from their experience.
Bey put up a peace sign with "The Mona Lisa," posed with a statue, and shared a photo of Blue having a ball at the Louvre too. Even though Bey and Jay seem to have been brewing up this idea for years now, it was actually a tight turnaround for the Louvre team, according to its spokesperson. “The deadlines were very tight but the Louvre was quickly convinced because the synopsis showed a real attachment to the museum and its beloved artworks," they said. And who would deny the king and queen?
But the "Apesh*t" video does much more than give Beyoncé and JAY-Z some gorgeous and historic backdrops. As proven by the lyrics (such as, "I can't believe we made it/Have you ever seen the crowd goin' apesh*t?"), the song reinforces their place and influence in society. The artwork is just another powerful vehicle in getting the message across.
A Rolling Stone article titled "How Beyoncé and JAY-Z Defy Western Art Tradition in 'Apesh*t' Video" discusses how the couple stake their claim among mostly white art by white artists. Many of the pieces in The Louvre (and that have made throughout history), as the article points out, have defined white European culture. However, "Apesh*t" makes a point to spotlight non-white images in the museum and highlight their significance.
One of the most striking shots in the video is when Beyoncé and her dancers move in purposeful and beautiful unison in front of "The Coronation of Napoleon." As described by Rolling Stone, Bey and Jay "interject blackness into a space that has never placed much value on it, claiming one of the centerpieces of European culture with gleeful defiance."
Unpacking the meaning and significance of art in "Apesh*t" is an experience in and of itself. Of course, the project, with so many gorgeous intricacies, wasn't cheap. The Louvre wouldn't comment on how much it cost the couple to get the museum to themselves, however Vulture reports private access to the galleries costs roughly $17,500 a day. However, there's no doubt that this investment was worth every penny, no matter how much it cost the couple.