The Things They Carry: Lessons by Jay Z and Beyoncé

The Writers | January 28, 2014

Or rather, filtered through the minds of Leandra and Amelia

When I saw Beyoncé gyrating around her little black chair on Sunday night during her opening number at The Grammys, I felt 50% better about my short hair. This, even in spite of how much I like my short hair.

When Jay Z came out, knees bending, hands jiving, microphone held so close to his lips one was left to wonder where his mouth began and the mega speaker ended, I felt 60% better about having married a man who can not only rhythmically bop his knees as well as the former but who I really, really love. This, even in spite of how good I feel about what is indubitably the best decision I have made.

But when the patriarch of hip hop and the empress of everything else exited stage left, the former’s arm over the latter’s shoulder, a piece of me shriveled and putatively died.

And I could tell that I wasn’t alone. America was left to question its capacity to love — scrutinizing what we’d done wrong and they’ve done right, own personal romantic championships notwithstanding.

I watched that close-up Grammy-cam hone in on the spectators’ reactions as evidenced by their facial expressions, which, in line with mine, said it all: How the fuck did Beyoncé and Jay Z manage to pull this off? The this in question, of course, is everything — the empires and camraderie and family they’ve built in tandem. That they are not just, as the title of their collaborative track would suggest, “Drunk in Love,” but are also sober in love, spectacularly in love, so selflessly and selfishly and unilaterally in love that they actually have the ability to make perfectly happy couples in their unwitting peripheral feel like they’re missing the secret sauce is a point of their victory that I am determined to wrap my head around.

Which is precisely why, by gleaning the information Amelia and I have culled from observing the two and asking anyone who is willing to answer what they believe might be a paramount blueprint of their universal success, we have made it our business to understand how Jay Z and Beyoncé have seemingly become the sole benefactors of that early 2k zeitgeist-y book, which neither of us have read, The Secret.

So without further ado, a list:

1. Don’t throw all your eggs into the Susan Miller basket. I know it’s tempting but if they’d have listened to her theory on why Saggitarians (Mr. Z) and Virgos (Beyoncé) are an unfortunate match, they’d have probably had to settle for lesser versions of one another. I am now feeling really conflicted about having agreed to stay home on New Years Eve like she told me to.

2. The anonymous albeit extremely wise and opinionated “they” say that once you get married you should never stop dating. Well, remember that time Jay and Bey were not only on a date, but sat on the same side of the table and then sang Coldplay’s “Yellow” to each other? That’s exactly what “They” are talking about.

3. Try to get Oprah to council you on your relationship. Oprah gave Beyoncé great advice to never talk about a relationship (just like Fight Club!), B took it to heart, and it worked. This is Oprah’s phone number, good luck: 1-888-943-8696.

4. Put meaning behind the word “lover” and have sex. (Safely!) If you’re wondering how we inferred this from Beyoncé and Jay Z’s notoriously private marriage then I encourage you to re-listen to her newest album and revisit this here point.

5. You and your partner may just need nicknames. Sometimes he’s Hova and she’s Sasha Fierce. Sometimes he’s that double hand diamond symbol for short, and she’s Bey. Nicknames become especially handy when considering role playing for tip #4. We would also like to point out that nicknames make life more fun, not just relationships.

6. The conspiracy theorists in us needs to point out that they can’t really trust anyone else except for each other at this point, but trust is important in any relationship. If you trust someone so much that you’re willing to fall blindly into the unknown, that’s love, man.

7. They are immune to jealousy. If you were Beyoncé, who would you be jealous of? No one. Same goes for Jay Z. This is harder for regular humans, so pretend you’re one of them and let your self-esteem rise. (This works great at job interviews to. Walk in there like Hi, I’m Jay Z, and I rule at literally EVERYTHING. Bam, you just got a job.)

8. Jay Z doesn’t awkwardly try to belt notes that he couldn’t reach and likewise, Bey isn’t freestyling over sampled tracks. They let each other do what they do best, allowing their drinking partner in love to shine.

9. They’re role models and they understand that. This keeps both of them on the straight and narrow — no drugs, no prostitutes, no public drama, which, if you ask us, sound like three pretty solid things to avoid in relationships and daily life no matter what letter your name starts with.

10. Somehow they are completely and utterly grounded. Considering they’re the celebrity equivalents of high school sweethearts, a lot of their deep roots can probably be attributed to growing up in the spotlight together. They’ve been able to keep each other tapped into what’s most important, which is, at the end of the day, a record deal. Just kidding. It’s love. EL OH VEE EE, love.

It’s important to remember though, you don’t need to be in a relationship to apply these tenets. Amelia, for one, is quote single as fuck unquote. Run the world because you can.

  • Polly Daszkiewicz

    This post is everything. Could not have been written better!

  • Dominique

    This was perfect. I’m quote extremely single as fuck unquote as well but this post was as dope as they are. Kudos.

  • lu!

    “he likes to call me peaches when we get this nasty”

    • Amelia Diamond

      I read this super fast initially as “he likes to call me peaches when we get this gassy”

  • Aubrey Green

    Love this!

  • Emma Hager

    Sorry, but tenet #4 reminded me of probably the most awkward video I’ve ever watched. If you haven’t seen it, please take 1.5 minutes to do so. It’s a gem. (Her nervous laugh alone, let me tell ya).

  • sarah

    hmm, i hate to be the only skeptic here, but, we don’t think that,1..they have only just started their lives together, really, in the scheme of things? 2. they are on camera? 3. they are young and beautiful, and as mickey rourke and faye dunaway prove, this doesn’t last (therefore eventually, the universe will create someone for B to be jealous of)? and 4. even ( in fact sometimes especially) perfection becomes boring.
    i think it’s a dangerous thing to compare one’s life with those in full view of the world. Even the lovely Lorde, at her tender age can see that it is not their reality that they show us, and when we aspire to reach these things we often fall into an empty crevass. Rehab is full of examples. I think Leonard Cohen said it best…that the cracks are how the light gets in.

    • Leandra Medine

      but isn’t it also kind of maybe a little bit fun to let jay z and beyonce function as the toy animals that we stuff with what is left from our youths: imagination. if we’re not seeing them as deities but rather aspirational vessels that allow us to day dream, i think it’s ok to forgo your very smart and sensible points. what do you think?

      • rebecca

        i think that is a beautiful and smart response to an also smart comment

      • sarah

        ha, yes, if they can be stuffed animals ( and i can really see them this way), i am happy to attach my childhood, romantic hopes and dream to them. i know they are going to become a bit raggedy and dusty, and get left behind when i stay out all night long. but when I’m old i will cherish them again. just for you LM. 😉

        • sarah

          oh but i would like to add that i am a sagii, married to a virgo, with a virgo child…yah, wish me some luck.

      • guess who

        Hey Lean

        It was fun reading this article and even more fun reading your comment view about it

  • monkeyshines
  • Peach Blossom 22

    Wow,it’s wonderful!!!!
    Come to see the mini bag by PEACH BLOSSOM 22 at
    And if you want we can have a collaboration

  • Henri Coleman
  • Sara

    Seriously perfect. All hail queen Beyonce.

  • BougieHippie

    Cute article but Beyonce hair was poor! Look like a pack of ramen noodels.

  • Jenny

    Queen B does get jealous, but if he’s keeping his promise she’s keeping hers…

    • presh


  • bellaconsience

    these two are on top of the world and no one is looking better than them while doing it!

  • Ruth

    So…I have three sons and Amelia is a doll. My middle son is brilliant and sweet and single (and straight). How old are ya darlin’?

  • Lucero

    I think the same applies to Barack and Michelle Obama. I’m watching the State of the Union and find myself thinking “I’ll never find love like that”, although I most certainly have.

  • Tamara

    Oh people, stop. Stop comparing your background to their highlight reel. For heavens sake. As much as they may love each other, that show was rehearsed down to every detail up to and includingn the blue blazered cuteness after the fact. It’s ok. They’re sweet, they’re cute. We’re all sweet and cute. They’re bazillionaire Grammy winners. We sit in sweat pants and drink cocktails on our couches and watch them win. And that’s ok too. I’m glad they’re out there. But you wanna hear something amazing? They’re glad WE’RE out “here” because without us, there is no them. Consider that!

    • rebecca


    • Marnie

      Yes…thank you! They may have not even been talking that morning and none of us would ever know! It’s made for TV viewing!!!

  • Newborn Fanatic

    Hah I’m going to take advice #7 and work on that. And they were amazing at the Grammy’s! I love her short hair!!

  • s

    perfect breakdown of American royalty. Queen B is everything!!


  • Sylvie

    But you forget to mention that her voice is annoyingly shrill and his rapping is mediocore…IMO. But because they believe they are great seems lots of others do too. Strange times. Guess confidence IS the answer!

  • melanialuisa

    Great Advice!

  • alcessa

    It is only after she put out “Beyonce” I have finally started really liking her … singing, looks and all. Still don’t know about Mr. Carter, though.
    I like sexual and marital confidence, maybe even more so because I don’t feel the need to compare – for me, it would feel like putting a foreign behaviour pattern (albeit only one displayed on the stage) over my personal situation, no can do :-) Personal is personal and should stay so. Who wants their husband to rap about role playing and who’s got Bey’s butt? No one, that’s who does :-)
    So yes, Beyonce’s really, really sexy and really knows how to do that music thing and for that, she has gained my real respect :-)

    And whoever said Sagittarrii and Virgos don’t match has no idea. None at all.

  • Oliver Lips

    They are the most romantic & cute couple! :)

  • Mytrendynine

    This is perfection!i loved queen B at the grammy’s her performance was awesome!!!

  • Drew Elizabeth

    Great post. What a power couple.

  • Dayle Pereira

    Such a great post 😀

  • Carly Tati

    Loved this post. Great way to talk about a subject buzzing in social media from a different point of view. True journalism. Cheers

  • Marta Spendowska

    Beautifully written. I just can’t make myself believe that someone’s life in public is real enough to even assume it’s real. It’s scripted. In details. Who knows what’s outside of it. I sing songs with my hubby all the time. It’s not as cute and on YouTube because I’m not B, he’s not JZ. The Grammys show was somewhat out of place for me..

  • Lashana Woodard

    You nailed it with this one!

  • ilze

    when she sings “jay-jay I love you so” I want to cry and make a blanket fort and never come out because I just can’t be a part of this world anymore. and my husband is still my errrthang, They just confuse me. *off to my fort*

  • All that glitters

    You can add forgive a man who cheats on you rampantly in the beginning to your list. He had another girlfriend the first few years they were together. He was having an actual relationship with both women and everyone knew. This is on top of a string of flings with random chicks as well. My ex worked for him and was privy to his exploits. I saw him kissing/hooking up with other women years into their relationship even after it was public and serious but perhaps it has all turned out well for them in the end….

  • Jennifer Elizabeth

    Jay and Bey are just the ultimate ideal, in everything that they do and it just makes it even cuter how we can tell just how much they do truly love each other…holla

  • Malta Notebook

    OMFG, Man Repeller, how I love thee. Seriously, super topics well written. Home-run every single time. Okay, I’m done worshiping (for now…) Oh, and obviously this post made the cut for the January Review at Xo