Lemonade queen Beyoncé does not do anything half-hearted, and she's always been a well-known fan of symbols and hints, so when she threw a push party last week, fans immediately started looking for hidden meanings in photos she posted on Instagram. Was there a due date hint hidden among the decor? Maybe there were gender clues in her headpiece? Did the patterns in her tribal prints indicate an Illuminati connection? Luckily for fans, there were a few meaningful symbols in Beyoncé's baby shower photos, according to experts — but they're not the kind that indicate genders or due date, unfortunately.
Beyoncé's push party (essentially a baby shower but with men allowed) was an African-inspired celebration full of Nigerian references and Moroccan inspiration. The party was undeniably beautiful and colorful, but it also received some pretty harsh flack for cultural appropriation. While some fans praised Beyoncé and Jay Z for "celebrating their roots," others weren't as pleased. South African rapper AKA wrote on Twitter:
For all this Africa themed baby stuff, Beyoncé seems pretty reluctant to come here. Stinks of cultural appropriation.
Beyoncé's representative didn't immediately respond to Romper's request for comment regarding the cultural appropriation critiques.
Whether you loved it or hated it, however, it's hard to deny that Beyoncé put plenty of thought into the symbols involved in her push party. (Or hey, maybe it was just luck. But that's usually not how Bey rolls.) Take a look at a few below.
Beyoncé's Henna Tattoo
The most obvious symbol to catch fans' eyes was the henna drawn on Beyoncé's baby bump. Monita Bijoriya, an Ash Kumar henna artist at Henna for All in New York, recently told Yahoo Beauty that the geometric pattern was likely Moroccan-inspired. "Belly henna decoration during pregnancy came from Moroccan culture," Bijoriya told Yahoo. "It is believed that henna artwork on full-term pregnancy will protect the baby from evil spirits."
Another New York-based henna artist, Mangala Buhler-Rose, told Billboard that there were some clear symbols in Beyoncé's henna tattoo. Buhler-Rose spotted a lotus (which represents growth, transcendence, and beauty), dots (which often symbolize new life, fertility, and beginnings), and a downward-facing triangular shape (which represents feminine energy).
The Party's Many Headwraps
Beyoncé's push party was also chock-full of famous women (ahem, Serena Williams and Kelly Rowland were in attendance) wearing headwraps. Headwraps have been used for centuries to display social status, and they're frequently worn by African women to ceremonies, including weddings and funerals, according to the BBC. Tumi Ndaba, the owner of Tuku Affair, a company that sells African headscarves, told the BBC last year:
Africans are coming back to themselves. The doek never left, it was just worn in a way that wasn't really appealing us, but the more we fall in love with ourselves, the more we work harder at perfecting and beautifying everything that belongs to us.
Her Cowrie Shell Necklace
Is this a stretch? It might be a stretch. But Beyoncé's cowrie shell necklace at her push party could be a nod to the cowrie shell's representation of fertility, vitality, destiny, and prosperity. Or it could just be a gorgeous necklace — you decide.
The Guardian wrote on Monday that Beyoncé's push party and Instagram shots were turning her into "a kind of modern fertility goddess," and I'm inclined to agree. And whether you liked her party or hated it, I think everyone can agree that Beyoncé set a pretty high bar for baby showers everywhere from now on.