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Beyoncé’s relationship to the media is unique

Beyoncé is fully in control of her image. That means the media adapts to her.

The 59th GRAMMY Awards - Show
Beyoncé at the 2017 Grammys
Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images for NARAS
Alex Abad-Santos is a senior correspondent who explains what society obsesses over, from Marvel and movies to fitness and skin care. He came to Vox in 2014. Prior to that, he worked at the Atlantic.

Compared with other celebrities, Beyoncé doesn’t grant that much press access. The music industry has traditionally seen interviews and magazine cover stories as crucial in the marketing and promoting of an artist — just look at Lady Gaga’s promotional tour for her 2013 album ArtPop.

Beyoncé, instead, keeps her cover stories to a minimum. And when she does announce news, it usually comes on her own terms, such as the press conference after President Obama’s second inauguration, which she used to clear up a lip-syncing kerfuffle by singing a cappella. She announced her pregnancy by showing off her bump at the end of her performance at the 2011 VMAs. She later released the first photos of Blue Ivy on a Tumblr account.

”The fact that the biggest celebrity is so private breaks the rules of celebrity,” said Rutgers professor Kevin Allred, who teaches a course on Beyoncé and her effect on feminism, pop culture, race, and LGBT theory.

”The way her image is managed is unreal,” he added.

By keeping a tight hold on the conversation surrounding her celebrity and her career, Beyoncé has driven up interest in her live performances and also has people poring over her social media for clues. When the elevator brawl between her sister and husband went down, people searched Bey’s Instagram account, which she sometimes uses to respond — in a roundabout way — to rumors or criticism, for hints of discord.

She doesn’t even release albums in a conventional way. On December 13, 2013, she announced her new album BEYONCÉ through an Instagram post that just said “Surprise!” (above). The album sold 365,000 copies on its first day. Lady Gaga’s album needed two weeks to sell 305,000.

”I didn’t want to release my music the way I’ve done it,” she said after BEYONCÉ’s release. ”I am bored with that. I feel like I am able to speak directly to my fans. … I felt like I didn’t want anybody to give the message when my record is coming out. I just want this to come out when it’s ready and from me to my fans.”