Jay-Z Just Can’t Get Away From the Illuminati Rumors

Can’t a black man be successful without being accused of being evil? Allison Samuels asks.

Matt Sayles/AP

As rapper/businessman/BBF to President Obama and husband to Queen B continues to hold his collective—and some might say trancelike—spell over mainstream America, there is one thing Jay-Z still can’t seem to squash or control: those pesky and ever-present rumors that he’s somehow a part of the super-secret and all-powerful occult society known as the Illuminati.

Yes, it’s a rare week that someone, somewhere, via Twitter, YouTube, urban radio, social media, or celebrity gossip websites, doesn’t attempt to connect the centuries-old group to the Brooklyn-born rapper also known as Shawn Carter in an effort to explain his ever-growing wealth and influence in music, politics, and beyond. Carter’s highly visible presence at the presidential inauguration in January only made tongues wag that much more about his possible membership in the group that supposedly worships the devil and also includes Queen Elizabeth and Donald Trump.

“When people that are very visible, like Jay-Z, become incredibly successful, you almost always hear Illuminati references,’’ says Fred Mwangaguhunga, editor and founder the largest African-American entertainment website, MediaTakeout. “Jay-Z is rich and powerful, and he travels in circles with rich and powerful people. That’s enough for people to connect him to the group.”

Most people continue to freely associate the rapper with the secret society by simply watching Jay’s every move. When he throws a particular gesture into one of his music videos, that’s proof enough that he’s a part of the Illuminati. When he uses certain Masonic-looking symbols on his Roc-A-Wear clothing line, that’s even further evidence of his association with the secret society. Even the fact the rapper and wife Beyoncé named their daughter Blue Ivy (now 1 year old) somehow gave true believers even more reason to believe. (Google if you must.)

Illuminati is the plural of illuminatus, which means “enlightened.” The group was started in Europe back in 1776, with members taking a vow of secrecy. The group’s true aim was to form the intellectual and political elite of society, and it was not very popular from early on. Rulers in Europe generations ago attempted to break up the Illuminati, which has been blamed over the years for everything from the French Revolution to JFK’s assassination to Whitney Houston’s death last year. Conspiracy theorists believe the Illuminati are engineering major events and manipulate corporations and governments to bring about a new world order.

How is Jay-Z involved in creating a new world order? According to these theories, with his chart-topping music, of course. (Of course it makes all the sense in the world that Jay-Z had something to do with starting the French Revolution, but no one is convincing me he had anything to do with Whitney Houston’s death. Just saying.)

It seems simple enough that the same people who are convinced Carter is part of some secret society should have the good sense to dig a bit further. The symbol or the infamous gesture he forms with his two hands in pictures, ads, and in his concerts is that of the pyramid, or the all-seeing eye; or simply the “roc,” after the rapper's popular brand. The symbol is sometimes associated with the Illuminati, but that same symbol also dates back to ancient Egypt. Then the pyramid was known as the eye of Horus, and was considered a form of Jesus by a few scholars in select texts. Christians do not believe this, of course, but clearly Jay is an open-minded kind of fellow. His good pal Kanye West often wears a rather glaring chain with Horus on it in his videos. Is it so hard to believe that either man might just be connecting with their long-lost African roots and not be a part of some secret society that would most certainly be kept secret from them?

For his part Jay-Z has repeatedly told reporters, including me, that the entire conversation is "pure foolishness” and that he believes in God. He often adds that the very people who make up these “so-called secret societies” wouldn’t allow him to join their country clubs, so why on earth would they grant him entry to the club that rules the world?

That’s not to say Carter hasn’t used this ridiculous controversy for profit. He’s a good businessman, after all. Realizing the rumors were going to persist as they have, the rapper has continued to slyly scatter suggestive symbols in his videos and his clothing line—just, it appears, to keep people guessing. He no doubt laughs at the idea that people believe a black man raised by a single mother in a Brooklyn housing project is manipulating world events, all at Lucifer’s will. Is the real moral of the story that a successful black man equals an evil, devil-worshipping black man?

And people wonder why Jay-Z and Obama are such good friends. I’m sure this topic comes up at every one of their secret meetings.