If you’re a fan of either Beyoncé or Jay-Z, this week has probably been hectic. You’ve been on the phone with your bank and credit card companies. You have been revamping your budget and making verbal agreements to pay people back. Yesterday, music’s top power couple announced that they will once again be embarking on a joint stadium tour this summer, and we’ve been shook ever since. Tickets go on pre-sale tomorrow, and the general sale is on March 19. In true expert fashion, the duo let the world know that they would be returning to the stage together with gripping visuals, including a video snippet and two posters.
One of the posters features a picture of Bey and Jay on a motorcycle with a cattle skull and horn details. Now we know what the inspiration for at least one of the photos was. According to Beyoncé Legion — one of the biggest Beyoncé fan sites on Twitter — the shot is a nod to Touki Bouki, a Senegalese film from the ‘70s. Using English subtitles, it tells the story of Mory (Magaye Niang) and Anta (Mareme Niang), a young Senegalese couple that dreams of a better life for themselves in Paris. Trying to raise the funds to relocate, they stage a home robbery to get the money and clothing they need for the trip. The picture of Jay and Bey is a recreation of one of Touki Bouki’s most iconic scenes.
Settling into a life of crime for the person you love and hope for the life that the two of you may have together is exactly the kind of narrative that would inspire the First Family of contemporary music. They have been tapping into this theme since 2002 when they collaborated on the song “Bonnie & Clyde.” The name of both of their tours, On the Run, also evokes imagery of the couple isolated and at odds with the rest of the world.
Here’s an interesting fact about the two main characters in Touki Bouki, though. They don’t end up happily ever after, nor do they meet their demise together in a romantic tragedy at the end. Mory has a change of heart at the last minute, reluctant to leave his home and his beloved motorcycle, and refuses to board the boat to Paris. Anta sets sail alone as her lover quickly realizes the mistake he made. Given that Beyoncé and Jay-Z have spent the last two years proving that their relationship is intact, I think it's safe to say they were only inspired by the imagery and not the destiny of Touki Bouki.