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Updated by Kendra Brea Cooper on Apr 26, 2017
Headline for Bey + Jay X Phil: 10 Fascinating Ways Beyonce and Jay Z have Crossed With Philosophy
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Bey + Jay X Phil: 10 Fascinating Ways Beyonce and Jay Z have Crossed With Philosophy

No one could deny the impact Jay Z and Beyonce have had on our culture, together and separate. Through the work they do, they have transcended popular culture and have been studied in University classrooms, written about in books, and discussed in many circles. This list is a collection of their philosophical cross overs.
Jay Z and the Nihilist Jacket
Eugene Thacker wrote a book called "In the Dust of this Planet" about "the relationship between philosophy and horror." Nihilism, usually an unpopular outlook on life, is creeping it's way into popular culture. The title of this book shows up on the back of Jay Z in the video for "Run". Whether or not Jay Z wants to engage in a conversation about Nihilism, the image on the coat plays with an interesting cultural intertexuality.
No Church in the Wild
The images in this video are striking. Jay Z doesn't shy away from using protest and resistance as a theme in his work. Especially resistance to state authority, something that has become increasingly important over the past few years. Not only is the video interesting, but the lyrics themselves are genius.

The first lines Human beings in a mob
What’s a mob to a king?
What’s a king to a god?
What’s a god to a non-believer?
Who don’t believe in anything?


Jay Z and Kanye are building the image of hierarchy through poetry. This song questions everything from our belief in hierarchy to the powerful social construct of monogamy.
What Is Pretty
Beyonce does a number of different things in her Pretty Hurts music video. She highlights the psychological impact of beauty standards on women, cuts the female body into pieces (not actually) with measuring tape and other objects to show how quickly it becomes an object, and even displays the subtle competition women are forced into with other women. The #what is pretty campaign asks us to break down this construct and question it.
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Beyonce and Feminism

Beyonce and Feminism
Beyonce uses her massive platform to take a word people are afraid to say behind closed doors, and throws it in the light. This action alone was important. Whether or not you think she's a "real" feminist, she took the first step towards creating dialogue.
Beyonce and Badiou
Pop culture icons only create impact through how their fans respond to their work. It only makes sense that someone would remix French philosopher Alain Badiou's quotes with Beyonce gifs. Also, it's funny.
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Sasha Fierce

Sasha Fierce
Not only is Sasha Fierce the title of Beyonce's third studio album, she is the alter-ego of the star herself. It seems that in a world where everyone seems completely self-aware, we would be constantly digging up other sides to our minds. Since the dawn of social media, alter-egos are no longer just for the eccentric. It seems that everyone has a facebook life, and a real life (on the side).
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Jay Z and Occupy Wall Street

Jay Z and Occupy Wall Street
Occupy Wall Street changed many things, and still continues in small ways. It was a mass civil disobedience and a giant protest against the growing inequalities in North America. Jay Z wasn't born rich, and his history suggests he is fully aware of the struggle. He made an appearance on the streets of New York when they were claimed by the people. Some were critical of him and his intentions, especially with the t-shirts he created.
Jay Z Georgetown University Course
Georgetown University has a course dedicated to Jay Z.

It's called The Sociology of Hip Hop-Urb Theodicy Jay Z.

According to the professor, the class covers his economic success and the philosophy of the bootstrap work ethic and how it crosses with capitalist ideology through the breakdown of his lyrics. Jay Z doesn't shy away from rapping about the intersections of race and success. He is political.
Rutgers University Politicizing Beyonce
This class is offered through the department of Women's and Gender Studies at Rutgers University. According to the professor, the class explores the intersections of feminism, race, and success through the work and image of Beyonce.
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Jay Z Mao Jacket

Jay Z Mao Jacket

The Run This Town music video is a stunning piece of work in itself. It takes revolutionary images, particularly black bloc symbols, and flaunts them while the music takes the power back. One of the many interesting images in this video is the picture of Mao on the back of Jay Z's jacket. Mao Zedong was the head of the communist party in China, and was controversial for his ideologies. There is a struggle between the good he did and the terrible wrongs he committed in the name of leadership. If we pulled apart this video, we'd find multiple ideologies, including anarchism, marxism, and state communism.