Despite the fact that I work at a company that has a show called Conspiracy Corner, I don’t buy into conspiracies. I generally accept facts and try to make educated decisions once I’ve gathered enough of them. But today, I’m writing a whole article because I’ve landed on something that feels at least like a viable conspiracy, and at most like a grand discovery. Got your tin-foil hat ready? Yes? Let’s do this.
On June 16, JAY-Z and Beyoncé dropped their first joint album, Everything Is Love. While it was a surprise drop that blindsided many of us—in the best way possible—it was a long-rumored project that fulfilled expectations. The first song, “Summer,” opens with Bey vocalizing seductively, either doing her best to speak her desires into existence or recapping some very intimate memories. When JAY tags into the song about halfway through, he continues the game, rapping about their escapades. Eventually, he uses a curious simile to describe his wife: “She taste like Corona Light—sweet/Even the lime gotta squeeze.”
Well, hold on now, you might be saying. It’s the summertime. They’re singing and rapping about making love on a sandy beach. Have you seen those Corona commercials? They’re practically following those visuals to a tee.
Listen: I was on the same page as you when I first heard this. I thought it was just a passing mention. But the story continues.
On July 2, two weeks after Everything Is Love dropped, Beyoncé posted a casual photo on Instagram of herself and her husband sitting on some stone steps. They look very rich, very stylish, and very relaxed. Upon closer inspection, though, you can see, to her right, a half-full bottle of Corona Extra:
A post shared by Beyoncé (@beyonce) on Jul 2, 2018 at 3:56pm PDT
“Corona sales just quadrupled,” wrote one astute follower in the photo’s comment section.
Shortly after this photo was posted, I began to get suspicious. What are the odds that Beyoncé would post a product that she does not already publicly endorse, a product that her husband just so happened to recently rap about?
JAY-Z is no stranger to rapping about alcoholic beverages. Those of us of a certain age remember his obsession with Cristal, which ended around 2006, when Frederic Rouzaud, the manager of the company behind Cristal, said the unthinkable when asked his thoughts about rappers’ fondness for the brand. "What can we do?" Rouzaud told the Economist. "We can't forbid people from buying it." JAY, who was understandably offended, called for a Cristal boycott, and shortly thereafter began promoting a new, gold-bottled beverage called Armand de Brignac, nicknamed Ace of Spades after its logo; it made its first appearance in the “Show Me What You Got” video, released in fall 2006.
Though JAY was an early investor, it wasn’t until November 2014 that it became widely known that he owned a portion of the brand. From the outside, for nearly a decade, it just looked like he really enjoyed the taste of the champagne and genuinely wanted us to, too. This is what makes his mention of Corona so side-eye-inducing now.
Beyoncé has some roots in this conspiracy, too. In 2014, much like 2018, body-obsessed assholes assumed the Queen was pregnant, when she was in fact not. She ended the rumors by sharing a—you guessed it—ice-cold Corona with her sister, Solange, in an image posted to Instagram.
The bottles are blurred out, but the color of the beer and the placement and color of the label make it clear that it’s indeed a Corona.
Of course, this could all be the Carters sending businesses free money for the hell of it. Just last month, a billboard promoting their album that appeared above a Red Lobster in Times Square was seen as anything but a coincidence.
Beyoncé is a marketing genius pic.twitter.com/yaoWIr8cpZ— Captain America's Beard (@searchforbetter) July 5, 2018
In her iconic 2016 single “Formation,” Bey sings, “When he fuck me good, I take his ass to Red Lobster.” Per CNN, Red Lobster saw a massive increase in sales—over 33 percent—less than a week after Bey name-dropped the company on the record. To date, she has not opened up about any investment in the restaurant chain, but that doesn’t make the billboard placement any less magnifique.
Which brings me to a pair of billboards I saw just a couple of weeks ago, blocks away from Red Lobster. While sitting in front of the window at my favorite lunch spot, I drew my eyes up from my burrito bowl and looked across the street. To my left, I saw JAY and Bey sitting next to each other, heads touching, with the words “EVERYTHING IS LOVE - THE CARTERS - OUT NOW” hovering above them. To my right, just beside the closest thing we have to music royalty, I saw a bright blue ad for Corona. “Grab summer while it lasts,” it said.