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Why Beyoncé’s Fur Coat In LEMONADE Is More Than Just A Fashion Statement

How Shayne Oliver’s brand of anti-luxury reinforces Bey’s independence.

April 24, 2016

It's been over a year since Hood By Air descended into the bowels of the New York Stock Exchange for their Winter 2015 presentation, "Daddy," but it was the sort of theatre that stays with you. Models strutted out with their faces distorted by stockings, an allusion to Bonnie & Clyde that worked at larger themes of rebellion and resistance within the show itself. In her review of the show, Emilie Friedlander wrote:

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<p>...With its industrial beams and gnarly cinderblock walls, felt like exactly the sort of place where you'd expect a masked vigilante to be lurking. A snippet of dialogue from the Fox series Empire, sampled by Gen F alumn Total Freedom in the midst of a beat-heavy pre-show soundtrack, drove home the feeling that we were about to witness a veritable Wall Street-take-over: "I want to show you a faggot can run this company."</p>

In the video for "Don't Hurt Yourself," ensconced within Beyoncé's mind-blowing visual album Lemonade, she is that vigilante, unmasked. In a voiceover, Malcolm X says that the black woman is the most disrespected person in America. Beyoncé wants you to know that's woman society wanted her to be.

"Daddy" bore more than a few bondage motifs. The idea that the majority is hamstrung by the rhetoric the 1% and Wall Street feeds us was, in one piece, quite literally translated in a fur coat whose arms were bound by a single piece of cashmere. Beyoncé, for her part, chooses a different kind of fur coat: one that's inarguably luxe but freer. It's secured by a thin strap of leather than runs across the back of her neck, offering her, by turns, the choice between exposure and coverage.

In the video for "Don't Hurt Yourself," Beyoncé mugs at the camera as she wanders through a parking garage, flanked by female associates dressed in pantless, Yeezy-esque looks. While "Daddy" might have been an expression of a more repressed, perhaps even unknown anger, "Don't Hurt Yourself" isn't feeling quite so shy. Her hair braided tightly back, Beyoncé snarls Who the fuck do you think I am? directly into the camera, before going off on how happy she'd be to be alone. While within the context of the runway, Shayne Oliver's coats represented a toxic relationship between luxury and the consumer, "Don't Hurt Yourself" is about the fucking fantastic relationship Beyoncé has with herself. Even if we didn't know who she was, when she sings, Keep your money, I've got my own, you instantly believe her. And it's because she's wearing that coat.