The worst-kept secret was revealed on Monday when Beyoncé and Jay-Z officially launched their “On The Run II” tour. But what wasn’t known before was the inspiration behind the spouses’ promo poster.
Jay is riding a motorcycle with a long-horned bull skull attached to the front of it as Bey drapes her hands across his shoulders behind him. The look, as OkayAfrica reported Monday, March 12, appears to be a take from a scene of the 1973 Senegalese film, “Touki Bouki.”
Directed by the late icon Djibril Diop Mambéty, the movie released in America in 1991 focuses on Mory and Anta, the main characters who hope to flee to Paris for better opportunities.
In response, many Twitter users applauded the way the classic piece of African cinema was integrated into the Bonnie and Clyde-esque poster.
“Shout out to whomever art-directed Jay-Z and Beyoncé’s poster,” one person tweeted. “The ‘Touki-Bouki’ reference is not lost on us. Djibril Diop Mambéty would be proud. #OTRll.”
“Africa, the continent that will always give, the continent that will always inspire!” someone else remarked.
However, the family of Mambéty isn’t celebrating as much.
Mambéty’s son, Teemour Diop Mambéty, told BuzzFeed News he was happy about the power couple’s “creative exchange” but was awaiting more “context” on if his father’s art would receive credit.
“We must welcome any creative exchange respecting the integrity of the works and their authors,” he said.
His cousin, the late Mambéty’s director niece Mati Diop, went so far as to tell Libération that the context surrounding the film’s release — a time when politics were enveloped in debates surrounding culture and colonialism — was missing.
“It seems an art director brought them the image, and no one was concerned about the artistic and political story behind it,” she said. “There is a lot of talk about the appropriation of American Black culture, but it’s interesting to see that it’s a Black American artist, who communicates with it very lightly. It’s depressing and fascinating at the same time, the unbearable lightness of the mainstream.”
Regardless, this isn’t the first time Bey has been influenced by the motherland. Visuals for her seminal 2016 album “Lemonade” were rife with references to Oshun, the Yoruba goddess associated with fertility and love.