‘Give it back to South Africa’: Beyonce accused of wearing ‘stolen blood diamond’ in Tiffany & Co. ad campaign
Beyonce and jewelry company Tiffany & Co. have sparked controversy after the musician became the first black woman to wear the iconic ‘Tiffany Diamond’, with critics arguing the famous stone was ‘stolen’ during the colonial era.
Tiffany & Co. announced on Monday that Beyonce has become the first black woman – and only the fourth woman ever – to wear the “legendary stone” as part of the company’s new ‘About Love’ campaign, fronted by Beyonce and her rapper husband Jay-Z.
“The priceless Tiffany Diamond has only been worn by three women since its discovery in 1877,” Tiffany & Co. declared on Twitter. The three previous wearers were Mrs. E. Sheldon Whitehouse in 1957, iconic actress Audrey Hepburn in 1961, and pop musician Lady Gaga in 2019.
The priceless Tiffany Diamond has only been worn by three women since its discovery in 1877. Today, @Beyonce becomes the first Black woman and fourth person to wear the legendary stone. #AboutLove#TiffanyAndCopic.twitter.com/p2j4k4qOka— Tiffany & Co. (@TiffanyAndCo) August 23, 2021
Many on social media weren’t as excited about the historic ‘first’, however, with critics pointing to problematic colonial history surrounding the discovery of the precious yellow stone.
The yellow diamond was mined in Kimberley, South Africa in 1877 and is one of the largest of its kind to have ever been discovered. Tiffany & Co. founder Charles Lewis Tiffany – an American – purchased the diamond the following year, and it has remained with the company ever since. It weighs 128.54 carats.
Fixed it for you hun x pic.twitter.com/dg8VXIXQav— Amal (@amalsayshello) August 23, 2021
Colonialism makes me sick in the stomach. Even in 2021 it's still thrown in our face. Like some guy was just walking and he discovered it. Then try to sell the exclusivity that @Beyonce is the first black person to wear it when n it was stolen from Africans. Disgusting!— A Neutrino... (@kay_lovelie) August 23, 2021
We can’t still be using terms like ‘discovery’ to refer to colonial looting in 2021. This diamond was stolen from South Africa in 1887 https://t.co/TzHffGE2JO— #BamakoIsHere (@simphiwedana) August 24, 2021
“When they say ‘discovered’ they mean ‘stolen’,” reacted one woman, while another user called on Tiffany & Co. to “give it back to South Africa.”
“So many wealthy white institutions created their wealth stealing priceless resources from Africa. Then the colonizers sell us feel good stories about the first black woman to wear a stone stolen from a black continent,” one black American woman protested.
Several users referred to the stone as a “blood diamond,” and Maclean’s Magazine’s contributing editor Andray Domise dug up several quotes from a spokesperson of the Kimberley mines – where the diamond was discovered – disparagingly referring to “n******” who worked in the mines at the time.
This is literally a blood diamond https://t.co/esaX4YQfTl— nina (@visibleANG3L) August 23, 2021
Quoted from a spokesman for the Kimberley mines, from which this blood diamond was excavated:"If niggers can dig for themselves and sell diamonds unquestioned, the employment of native labour becomes practically useless" pic.twitter.com/7nPLA84CCc— Brother Q (FKA Andray Domise) (@andraydomise) August 24, 2021
Critics also accused Beyonce of hypocrisy for portraying herself as a supporter of African culture while simultaneously wearing a stone mined and sold during colonialism.
Not Beyoncé “Mama Africa” Knowles supporting a brand that steals from Africa and Africans https://t.co/dlYqnh0dnH— Kathy Planet 🌍 (@KathyPlanet) August 23, 2021
its the fact that beyonce did a whole album and went mama africa then went to wear a blood diamond. abeg. i love beyonce but its very contradictory https://t.co/uHTEw5TW43— Mide (@Ewmide) August 24, 2021
Black South Africans provided much of the labor in the Kimberley mines and lived in tough and unhealthy conditions, segregated from white people. Many miners died from poor health and mining accidents.
Some social media users did come to Beyonce’s defense, arguing that less criticism was directed towards Lady Gaga when she wore the same diamond in 2019.Also on rt.com Covid cases surge on Martha’s Vineyard, but officials say it’s ‘too early’ to blame Obama’s birthday celebration
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