Do you remember where you were when Beyoncé blessed us not (Bey)once, but (Bey)twice? I was sitting in my apartment when the text came through.
“BEYONCE IS HAVING TWINS.”
“Give me sources,” I texted back. “Don’t let me get my hopes up until this is confirmed.”
“INSTAGRAM,” my friend answered. So I quickly pulled up the app to the photo of Beyoncé.
She was kneeling in a flowerbed, face covered by a gauzy seafoam-green veil, in a sheer maroon bra and ruffled baby-blue underwear. The image, somehow kitschy, inviting, mysterious and familiar, soon spread through the Internet like wildfire.
But it wasn’t just the familiar beats of the web. Places like CNN covered it. The new New York Times podcast, “The Daily,” covered it. The news that Beyoncé was pregnant, visibly pregnant, with twins spread to every far corner of our world.
There’s the obvious answer—in such a dark time, any good news—no matter how fluffy it may be—is great news. And Beyoncé, who has so long been dogged by questions of “When will you get pregnant again?”, is so present in the mind of the collective public. But that doesn’t really account for its incredible amount of far-reaching coverage.
On “The Daily,” correspondent Jenna Wortham, a technology reporter for the NYT, commented on the photo.
“Beyoncé is exquisitely deliberate in the way she chooses to portray herself as a black woman, and the way she chooses to represent what family, and what her black family, means to her. And this picture is definitely an extension of that,” said Wortham. “I also think that she’s clearly more than a couple months pregnant, which is really interesting to me because that means she waited until February 1 to announce it—the beginning of Black History Month. It’s been a very dark time for people of color, and Beyoncé’s got twin lights of hope and optimism in her belly, and she wants us to know. It’s an image bringing a lot of people joy right now.”
Beyoncé’s pregnancy announcement is making news in a time of political turmoil because—in a way—this pregnancy is political. These babies are coming into a post-"Lemonade" world, a world where their mother has unequivocally stated her pride in both her Blackness and her Womanness. So the image of a black mother, prideful and resplendent and unflinching, in a world that is currently very hostile—at times right from the federal level—towards women and people of color, is very much a political act.
And as Wortham pointed out, Beyoncé released the image in a very calculated way. She’s clearly very pregnant, but she chose to release the photos—later shown to be part of an entire photoset—on the first day of Black History Month. She’s tying her personal news into a larger political scheme, which associates the two in our minds intrinsically. Because if this is a month about Black history, Beyoncé is showing us the future.