It appears that Jay Z has finally found his 100th problem, and it is his sister-in-law.
TMZ surfaced a video Monday of the hip-hop mogul being attacked in an elevator at this month’s Met Gala by Solange Knowles, younger sister to his wife, Beyoncé. The surveillance video was taken at New York’s Standard Hotel during one of the Gala’s after-parties. It shows Jay, Beyoncé, and Solange all entering the elevator together—dressed to the nines, mind you—and then Solange going H.A.M. on Jay.
First, she gets in his face, showing off the fiercest finger waving and neck snapping we’ve seen since Beyoncé filmed the music video for “Single Ladies.” Then Solange lets loose, smacking, hitting, slapping, and punching Jay like a drunk Real Housewife whose arch frenemy just told her that the cocktail napkins at the brunch she threw looked tacky. A bodyguard quickly presses the emergency stop button, perhaps wanting the family skirmish to remain private but forgetting to shoot out the surveillance camera Mission: Impossible-style so that skeevy hotel security guards wouldn’t sell it to TMZ. Whoops!
He then attempts to pull Solange off of Jay Z, as Solange continues to kick at the rapper while being dragged away. Guys, I don’t want to speculate here, but I think Solange was mad about something. Maybe even really mad. Just a hunch.
You’ll remember, too, that Beyoncé is in the elevator throughout this whole affair. Her part in the altercation is riveting: at one point, she delicately moves her dress train out of the way.
The video is one minute long, and you must watch it. But only if you are prepared for to watch it again roughly 17 times in a row, because it is easily the most fascinating, amazing, upsetting, and confusing one-minute clip you will watch on this spring Monday.
(LOL and a fervent fist shake at the video’s first comment, “That’s the first hit she’s had in years!”—a hilarious zinger and perhaps a little bit true, but a burn we cannot endorse when “Losing You” is still a mainstay of every white wine-induced dance party I have alone in my bedroom on Sunday nights.)
And friends, as spectacular and horrifying as that video is, it does not hold a candle to a photo that was snapped of the trio leaving the Standard later that night. Solange could not look more pissed if she tried, and Jay is rubbing his cheek, presumably where he was just repeatedly slapped. Meanwhile, Beyoncé is gliding out of the hotel regally, with a serene smile of perfection and grace on her face, as if the two closest people to her in life did not just have a redneck brawl in the confines of a luxury hotel’s elevator while wearing multimillion-dollar designer fashion at Hollywood’s most glamorous and sophisticated event of the year.
It’s obvious why this video is a must-watch. It’s cathartic to watch Hollywood royalty act like utter messes, proof that even those who put forth the public front of perfection have skeletons in their closet. And sometimes, those skeletons fight each other. Plus, who is not living vicariously through Solange during the 58 seconds of that video, soaking in each gratifying punch landed on Jay Z’s smug, overrated, and undeserving-of-Queen Beyoncé’s face?
(There is nothing more insufferable, in this writer’s opinion, than the vaunting of Jay Z as some sort of celebrity god. How quickly we forget that Jay Z stabbed someone! In 1999 he pleaded guilty to stabbing a record producer outside a Manhattan nightclub. He pleaded guilty to literally driving a knife into a human. Ugh, and then there was that pompous “I’m retired…just kidding! I’m not retired.” nonsense. Slap away, Solange!)
But there’s also something heartbreaking at the thought of a family tiff between the Knowles sisters. Because they are the cutest. They’ve always seemed to have a great sibling relationship, each living happily in their own sphere of celebrity and corner of the music industry—Beyoncé dominating the mainstream pop charts and Solange carving out a respected and decidedly cool niche in the indie world—and still respecting and loving each other.
Even as recently as last month things seemed hunky-dory between the siblings, when Beyoncé performed the most adorable dance alongside Solange during her sister’s set at Coachella. Hell, they even attended the Met Gala together.
So all of this leads to the upsetting element of this who affair: the rabbit hole that is wondering what it was that caused Solange to lose her shit on Jay Z. Is he cheating on Beyoncé? Is he mean to her? Is he hurting her? Is he insulting Solange, which would be just as bad? Is he a bad person? Are the Carter-Knowles unhappy? Is Beyoncé not living the life of bliss she deserves? Again, IS HE CHEATING ON HER? Or, is this just a silly little alcohol-induced argument that got a lot out of control and is now a major media controversy thanks to security cameras and morally ambiguous hotel security guards?
Families fight, after all. It’s actually a fairly normal thing. But this is Beyoncé and Jay Z, so a fairly normal thing is now an international headline.
Sadly, there is no audio in the surveillance video, which we can go ahead and preemptively count as the most disappointing thing that has or will occur in 2014. Could you imagine how amazing this video would be with audio??? Sigh. In any case, watch the video again (and again), and speculate away.
Representatives for Jay Z and Solange have not responded to our request for comment. Obviously.