A wise woman once said, “Y’all haters corny with that Illuminati mess.” (It was Beyoncé.) When she uttered those words on the track “Formation,” the internet collectively blacked out; it was the first time Bey formally recognized the rampant rumors of her involvement with the supposed secret society. But when we came to, we were somehow more confused about the Illuminati than before. Was the lyric a joke, a diss, or a quiet admission of her membership?
Even the uninformed (and uninterested) can recognize common alleged symbols of the Illuminati: Jay Z’s signature triangular hand symbol, triple 6’s, the all-seeing Eye of Providence found on the back of the $1 bill. But what exactly is the Illuminati? To understand the differences between the real secret society and the rumored one, we must go back in time.
Most of the conversation around the Illuminati is pure speculation, but there is some truth to the organization. The Order of the Illuminati was a real organization founded in 1776 during the Enlightenment Era in Bavaria, Germany. This secret group, originally just five men, sought to distance themselves from the government and the church. It’s there in the name: They wanted to enlighten people.
But as membership grew, the society only remained a secret for so long. Secret societies were deemed illegal, and the Order of the Illuminati was eventually disbanded after just 10 years in existence. Almost immediately, conspiracy theories began to form, stating that the Order of the Illuminati survived underground and were continuing on with their mission.
Today, over 200 years later, theorists are still going strong. The present-day Illuminati allegedly regulates world affairs, controls the media, and pulls the strings in the government behind the scenes. Supposedly, these things will help them gain power and establish a New World Order, aka a one-world government that oversees the entire planet. You know, normal stuff.
There’s no real proof of a modern-day Illuminati, but that doesn’t stop Illuminati truthers from speculating which celebrities are members. Hardcore believers are quick to point out evidence, claiming to find hidden meaning in everything from celebrities’ fashion choices to their body language. Some examples are more plausible than others, like direct references to the Illuminati in song lyrics. But more often than not, these vague examples of “proof” are a stretch, like the sharp angle of an updo. Either way, it’s entertaining to keep track of which celebs are said to be in the Illuminati, and what clues they’ve allegedly dropped to expose themselves. Here are some of the most famous rumored Illuminati members.