Beyonce made history when she became the first Black woman to wear the Tiffany diamond—but she also sparked controversy. As Karen Attiah points out in the Washington Post, there's a disturbing story behind the 128.54 carat yellow diamond, and in the opinion of many, "it doesn’t go too far to say: Beyonce is wearing a blood diamond." What you need to know:
- The history: Charles Lewis Tiffany discovered the diamond in a South African mine in 1877, when "British forces launched battles of conquest and harsh discriminatory practices against African tribes and laborers," Attiah writes. "South Africa’s conflict-ridden mining industry paved the way for apartheid. ... Thousands of African lives were lost and communities destroyed in the colonial quest to control the continent’s resources. And today, South Africa’s white minority continues to hold most of the country’s power and wealth."
- More criticism where that came from: Twitter is also full of people upset with Beyonce's move. "if beyoncé isnt giving that diamond back to Africans, i dont give a f--- about her wearing that colonial plunder," reads one sample reaction. "we’re supposed to be excited racists finally let a Black woman touch their stolen goods? get out of my face."
- And still more: The Grio posted screenshots of some of the viral tweets criticizing Beyonce, and the post got Tina Knowles' attention, E! reports.
- Beyonce's mom hits back: Knowles commented, "How many of you socially conscious activist own diamonds ? I thought so ! Well guess what did you go to try to check to see where the diamond came from? Probably not ! So when you guys get engaged you won't have a diamond you gonna put on a sterling silver band And you better check out where it came from and the origin of where came from and why you add it check out the calls for the Leather that you weird because they made it came from another country to to ban and not buy diamonds right because your righteous !!"
- Others are also on Bey's side: While criticism abounded on Twitter, so did criticism ... of the critics. Many questioned why it took Beyonce, a Black woman, wearing the diamond before it was widely decried as a blood diamond, when white women including Lady Gaga and Audrey Hepburn have worn it in the past with no such controversy erupting.
- A note from the tabloids: Beyonce hasn't officially spoken out on the issue, but if British tabloids are to be believed, she is "disappointed and angry" that she wasn't made aware of the gem's history, a source tells the Sun.
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