In an essay published on Vanity Fair's website, Monica Lewinsky wrote that "JAY-Z chose a path of candor that will … move the conversation forward and help others" in his new album 4:44.
The essay highlighted male public figures (Prince Harry, Brad Pitt and JAY-Z) who have wrestled with masculine stereotypes and promoted male vulnerability through their work.
The rapper alluded to his infidelity in his marriage to Beyoncé throughout 4:44, even said in the video Footnotes for 4:44 that his marriage “wasn’t totally built on the 100 percent truth."
In her essay, Lewinsky said, "JAY-Z had a choice. Having been called out publicly by his wife in her fierce 2016 album and video, Lemonade, JAY-Z knew that his fans wouldn’t have blinked if his next album skimmed past the allegations. That’s not uncommon for men to do … JAY-Z could have ignored it all. But, instead, he chose a path of candor that will … move the conversation forward and help others.”
Though JAY-Z does not explicitly address his unfaithfulness in his Footnotes video, he raps, “I apologize, often womanize/Took for my child to be born/See through a woman’s eyes/Took for these natural twins to believe in miracles/Took me too long for this song/ I don’t deserve you.”
“It is a refreshing and bracing antidote to see male icons convey vulnerability in an age when Washington’s new power elite and our coarsening culture are busy projecting an outmoded caricature of manhood, 24/7,” Lewinsky continued.
She concluded, “As we wrestle with gender roles and relationships between the sexes — and see issues of sexism running rampant from the tech world to politics — it’s heartening to see a crack in the implicit contract among men, their emotions, and society at large.”
Read the full essay here. What do you think about Lewinsky's words?