Can Jay-Z and Beyonce's Friendship with the Obamas Survive PepsiCo?
Since Barack Obama’s election in 2008, Jay-Z, aka Shawn Corey Carter, and his bodacious bride Beyoncé have been right at the top of the list of Obama darlings. It was Beyoncé who serenaded the slow-dancing duo into the White House at the 2009 Inauguration Ball with her own rendition of Etta James’ “At Last.”
The Jay-Zs and the Obamas are so cozy as couples that the President even allowed them to enter the inner sanctum of the Situation Room, located somewhere in the bowels of the White House. Once there, the awestruck couple looked like little kids sitting inside Saddam Hussien’s mansion following the occupation of Iraq.
In addition to foursome events, over the past few years Beyoncé has been right there beside Mrs. Obama and her “Let’s Move” initiative to get children to move more and to eat smaller, healthier portions. The first lady relied so much on the booty-licious pop star that she recruited Beyoncé to teach corpulent school children how to dance around in hot pants and lime green high-heeled sneakers.
Michelle must have had so much confidence in the abilities of “Move Your Body” Beyoncé, she trusted that even the clumsiest kid would emerge from the videotaping session unscathed. Now that’s a sign of a true and lasting friendship.
Mrs. Obama told People magazine that if she could be anyone in the world it would be Beyoncé. Not long after, Beyoncé wrote a gushy letter to Mrs. Obama thanking her for her dedication to “All the Single [and otherwise] Ladies” of the world. Then, the first lady took Sasha and Malia to Revel Resorts in Atlantic City to support Beyoncé at her back-from-maternity-leave concert.
Beyoncé agreed to design a T-shirt for the Obama 2012 “Runway to Win” clothing line, and the entrepreneurial Carter twosome hosted a $40K-per-head fundraiser for Obama at their tony Manhattan 40/40 club. It was there, against a backdrop of 350 bottles of $300 Armand de Brignac Brut Gold, the President discussed with donors how the two couples shared humble beginnings.
Although the relationship by and large has been idyllic, there have been a few bumps in the road. One time Jay-Z had the audacity to express the opinion that he preferred less government. Gazillionaire and part owner of the New York Nets, Jay-Z said that he didn’t mind paying more taxes, but wished more of the money went toward things he believed in.
The high-profile Obama supporter also said that “politics” is a word he doesn’t like because, “It implies something underhanded and I think we need less government.” So, the Brooklyn-born rapper desires “less government,” but supports Obama’s big government vision?
Yet despite the contradictory messages, during the first term the friendship has endured the test of time. However, that bond is about to be subjected to an even greater test.
Seems Mrs. Jay-Z, the woman who supported Mrs. Obama’s healthy-eating initiative and who lives in New York Mayor Bloomberg’s anti-soft drink city, just signed a $50 million deal with corporate America biggie PepsiCo. After the first of the year, Beyoncé will be the new face of sugary, caffeine-laden soda pop.
PepsiCo is a world leader in snacks and beverages. The company has made its billions producing 12-ounce/42-gram sugar highs. To put it bluntly, PepsiCo sells carbonated caffeine-and-sugar water.
Moreover, in addition to contributing to soda-induced caffeine addiction, obesity, and Type II diabetes, PepsiCo also manufacturers Lay's and Doritos, two of the vending machine snacks that Michelle Obama made sure were replaced with carrot sticks.
Tropicana, Gatorade, and Quaker are also under PepsiCo’s mantle. And as if Beyoncé aggravating the First Lady by undermining her “Let’s Move” initiative and selling limited-edition soda with her mug on the can wasn’t enough, PepsiCo has “revenues of $60 billion and employs 285,000 people.” Therefore, the same type of conglomerate the president has spent the last four years portraying as selfish, abusive, and evil is about to be internationally promoted by global partner and Obama familly BFF Beyoncé.
Can the camaraderie survive Beyoncé being the new face of a snack-and-soda company after showing up on a “Let’s Move” video for a first lady whose signature issue disses salty snacks and sugary soda? How is Michelle Obama going to explain to the kiddies why the pretty lady with the big hair dancing in the “Let’s Move” video can drink Pepsi and eat Doritos, but they can’t?
Moreover, can the foursome’s pop/political partnership outlast Ms. Pepsi-licious Beyoncé’s decision to accept $50 million from a corporate giant? And when the President confiscates half of that $50 million to finance altruistic efforts that are likely different from the causes Jay-Z supports, will Jay-Z restate more firmly his desire for “less government?”
If Beyoncé feels it may be necessary to recycle her Pepsi soda cans for spare change to pay Obama’s exorbitant taxes, will she even want to sing at the next inaugural ball?
There’s a lot at stake here. Like, what’s the couples’ bowling night going to be like after "big government" Barack Obama taxes "less government" Shawn’s wife’s hard-earned PepsiCo dough into oblivion while denigrating the CEOs that will be signing Beyoncé’s $50 million paycheck? Is that what Jay-Z means when he says he dislikes politics because it is “underhanded?”
In the end, it will be interesting to see whether or not Michelle Obama will support her good friend Beyoncé’s creative endeavor/business choice with the same energy and dedication that Beyoncé extended towards Michelle Obama’s – and whether or not Shawn Corey Carter, over a beer at a Net game, will be able to pry his buddy’s sticky fingers off some of the money Beyoncé earns.