Beyoncé had tonsillitis before her tour stop in Croatia last month, and she hit the high notes beautifully just the same. That's the gist of the video above, which was posted on the singer's YouTube channel yesterday. The clip shows Bey's backup dancers firing themselves up for the performance, Mrs. Knowles-Carter herself speaking to the camera about her throat ailment, and a short snippet of awe-inspiring onstage vocal melisma. It isn't clear what treatment, if any, she received for her inflamed tonsils, vestigial organs that many of us had removed as kids.
This somewhat propaganda-like testament to Beyoncé's undeniable artistic gifts comes at a time when she has plenty of reasons to change the conversation. On Friday, E! News reported, citing what it said were multiple trustworthy sources, that she and Jay-Z were expecting their second child. On Monday, Hot 97 reported, citing what it said was an email from Jay-Z, that the rapper tersely wrote: "It's not true. The news is worse than blogs." This came after Beyoncé's clothing choice at a recent event and her decision to cancel a May 14 Belgium show due to dehydration and exhaustion fueled rumors she was pregnant again. (Probably unrelated: Beyoncé's excellent new song "Grown Woman" snuck onto the Internet yesterday in full, or at least what we're left to hope is full.)
It's hard to know why pop's First Couple would expect their curious, record-buying, endorsement-financing public to disregard one unconfirmable report while accepting another one. At this point their bizarre handling of the media — including Beyoncé's ban on professional photographers at her shows, yes, but let's not forget the pair's circus of a Cuba visit — has created a situation where whatever the couple does, people will have unanswered questions. All of us, including the very famous, are entitled to privacy, but extreme secrecy has always had a way of raising curiosity rather than quashing it.
The ongoing suggestion that these two music greats should somehow be above media scrutiny brings to mind a recent New York Times op-ed by writer George Packer, who argued that contemporary celebrity culture is a celebration of inequality. "We know our stars aren’t inviting us to think we can be just like them," Packer wrote. "Their success is based on leaving the rest of us behind." Otherwise, it really isn't that hard: Seriously, guys, just tell us the truth and we'll totally print it.