The musical duo honoured Meghan Markle in a series of Instagram posts Wednesday as they accepted the BRIT Award for Best International Group.
The award was for their album Everything Is Love, which they released together in 2018.
“I won this award back in 2002 with my besties, Kelly and Michelle,” writes Beyoncé in the caption. “How lucky I am to have been in a group with my other best friend, the GOAT Hova.”
The pop star says she and Jay-Z chose to feature Markle in honour of Black History Month. “We bow down to one of our melanated Monas,” Beyoncé says. “Congrats on your pregnancy! We wish you so much joy.”
“Meghan brought many Black traditions to her Royal Wedding including a Chicago-based Black pastor, an amazing gospel choir, and a young Black cellist,” writes Beyoncé in a larger post about Markle on her website.
“At the wedding her culture was front and center, and she and Prince Harry have continued to push the race relations dialogue forward both near and far,” she says. This month, Beyoncé has also honoured Kheris Rogers, Tristan Walker and Dr. Jessica Clemons.
In her next Instagram post, Beyoncé held the BRIT and reiterated her thanks before she and Jay-Z turned to admire the painting of Markle. The song Apes–t plays in the background.
The original music video, released in June 2018, saw the married pair pose in front of the Mona Lisa at the Louvre museum in Paris, France.
Attendance at the Louvre was up 25 per cent in 2018, and the museum credited the spike in part to the video, which has since garnered 157 million views on YouTube. Roughly 500 video shoots take place in the museum every year.
The oil painting, which appears to imagine Markle as a royal in the Victorian era, was originally created last year for the cover of Markle’s sorority magazine, the artist said in a recent interview.
O’Brien was hired by the creative directors of The Key — Kappa Kappa Gamma’s magazine, printed three times per year — to paint the cover for the summer edition.
“This was a collaboration and we worked together closely on the image and all the tiny details specific to the Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority,” said O’Brien.
He reportedly didn’t know the Carters were going to feature his work, but said that if the famous couple can get the piece on display in the Louvre, he’ll “call it even.”
The Brooklyn-based artist is known for hyper-realistic illustrations, and his work has been featured in Time, Rolling Stone, The New York Times and many others.
While Beyoncé and Jay-Z were honouring the duchess, Markle and baby Sussex were being showered with gifts at The Mark Hotel in New York City.
Attendees were reportedly treated to a lesson in flower arranging by celebrity florist Lewis Miller, and the arrangements were later donated to Repeat Roses. The party was catered by Michelin-star chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten, whose restaurant is located inside the hotel.
Markle has since returned to London in preparation for a trip to Morocco, where she and Prince Harry will stay for three days at the request of the Queen’s government, the Palace said in a release.
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Beyoncé and Jay-Z’s support for Markle comes just days after George Clooney defended the duchess against negative treatment by the media.
Since Markle and Prince Harry began dating, the duchess has been subject to intense media scrutiny. Recently, reports of feuding between Markle and her sister-in-law Kate Middleton have been widespread. “There have been threats of violence,” said The Times in a recent editorial, which pleaded for an end to the “vile abuse” of both women.