Brittany Luse: From Gimlet Media, this is The Nod. I’m Brittany Luse.
Eric Eddings: And I’m Eric Eddings. And today... we’re getting into a uh conspiracy.
EE: So, Brittany, what are some of your, like, go-to things to watch on YouTube?
BL: I watch a lot of the Black women lifestyle YouTube videos. Like women who just go to like H&M and buy socks and they show every single pair of socks they buy. I watch a lot of stuff like that.
EE: I've watched a surprising amount of those things [laughs]. But I'm curious: do you watch like YouTube conspiracy theory videos?
BL: I ha—no.
EE: There are tons of them and I find them fascinating. There's a thin line of what separates conspiracy from truth.
BL: Now you're s—now you sound like somebody who makes them.
EE: And there's one person in general who I feel like if YouTube conspiracy theory videos and maybe even like Black YouTube conspiracy theory videos were…uh.
BL: I didn't know white people made them [laughs]. I had no idea.
EE: You'd be surprised. Um, if they were if it was a sport—let's say if it was basketball—he would be like LeBron James.
BL: He's the guy.
EE: Yes. This is the guy.
EE: His name is Shawn Blazington. The way he weaves these stories together. It's like this like beautiful mix of like what feels a little like crazy. Slightly offensive in some spots.
EE: Umm just wild leaps. And you know one of the key portions of a YouTube conspiracy theory video is like the PowerPoint slide show. Bomb ass PowerPoint slide shows.
BL: Every time?
EE: He picks the best things from Google Images and like lines them up together. He's not going to just stop at the theory. He thinks about how he tells it to you. He thinks about his delivery. You might get some sound effects in there. So we're going to watch one of Shawn Blazington’s videos today.
EE: The title of this of this short film umm is “Beyoncé Forced Solange to Give Birth to Blue Ivy: Illuminati Exposed.”
BL: See, before you even told me the title, I already knew the Illuminati was going to be involved.
EE: That is also a key feature of most Black YouTube conspiracy theory videos is the Illuminati.
BL: I mean honestly I'd love to see how this works because then I would love to force one of my sisters to give birth to my child so I could maintain my body.
EE: All right. So let's kick this off.
Shawn Blazington: Greetings my brothers. Today we're going to talk—
EE: Can I just say that I want to walk into this every meeting and be like “Greetings my brothers.”
SB: Today we're going to talk about Beyoncé making Solange be the surrogate mother for Blue Ivy.
BL: Oh my God.
SB: You have to try to understand that Jay-Z and Beyoncé is simply a power couple. There is no romance involved. They're not intimate with each other—
BL: Wait hold on for a second. So the picture that they have of—when he says like ‘oh Jay-Z and Beyoncé are a power couple.’
BL: It starts with this picture of Jay-Z and Beyoncé and she looks...
BL: She looks—I would never say this about my queen otherwise. But it's the truth... just the moment she looks slightly cross-eyed?
EE: Yeah she does.
BL: Her head is kind of cocked to the side and he looks like somebody who currently needs to Get Out.
EE: [laughs] Jay-Z is in the sunken place.
BL: He looks like he's in the sunken place. I'm already getting a sense of how talented Shawn Blazington he is at selecting the right visuals.
EE: Right? I told you—like it like it is a talent.
SB: They are not intimate with each other. They don't kiss. They don't make love. It's strictly business. Jay-Z was the undisputed king of hip-hop. The only way Beyoncé could be the queen of hip hop is if she formed a union with Jay-Z in order to solidify her spot.
BL: Hold on. Beyoncé is not the queen of hip hop. First of all, number one: there is no queen of hip hop right now.
EE: Ooh. Bold claim. You wouldn’t even say Nicki?
BL: Umm I think that Nicki is on top right now but I wouldn't necessarily call her the queen of hip-hop. The queen of hip-hop soul, obviously, Mary J. Blige.
EE: Yeah forever.
BL: Right. And I think that Beyoncé is the queen of all pop music. I think that she is our single greatest living entertainer at the moment. But I wouldn't call her the queen of hip-hop. So I'm already kind of like mmm I don't know about Shawn Blazington.
EE: Well give it time. We're literally at 30 seconds.
BL: OK. OK.
SB: You never ever in your entire life saw a picture of Jay-Z tongue kissing Beyoncé, gripping her butt, feeling up on her breast or doing anything intimate—
BL: Wait hold on.
EE: Have you seen a picture of Beyoncé tongue-kissing Jay-Z?
BL: Why. Why do I need to see that? Why do I need to see them tongue kissing, why do I need to see Jay-Z, Jay-Z holding like touching on her butt? Just keep playing this.
SB: You've never seen them have a realistic married couple moment. If you can find a picture of Jay-Z tongue kissing Beyoncé or gripping her butt, send it to me and I will mail you back five hundred dollars. I know you won't be able to produce any evidence of Beyoncé and Jay-Z being seriously intimate with each other. Not even in music videos, not on the red carpet, not anywhere. So let me get back to my point. In order for Jay-Z and Beyoncé to continue deceiving the world, they had to stage a pregnancy. Jay-Z met Beyoncé in 1999.
EE: Stop! So the pictures of Beyoncé right now—
BL: She has a bindi in the middle of her forehead. She has frosted lipstick and she has chopsticks in her bun. So it’s definitely 1999 in this photo. Sean Blazington does have the facts right.
SB: And they didn't have a baby until 2012. People are still oblivious that Beyoncé faked her pregnancy even though she revealed herself on national TV wearing a fake prosthetic stomach.
EE: So a key plot point right here. What we're looking at right now is like four sequential freeze frames from Beyoncé like sitting down in this interview that she did and she's wearing this like this like maroon—
BL: Kind of yeah maroon—
EE: Plum dress if you will. And she's visibly pregnant like you can see her belly very clearly in the first frame. And as she sits down her stomach starts to like move.
BL: Yeah it like deflates. I can't really explain this. The first two frames she looks pregnant and then the last two, she looks like all of a sudden she's wearing a fanny pack.
BL: Not what you would think someone someone's pregnant belly would do. That's a tough one though. Shawn Blazington has a point.
SB: I have a secret audio tape that I'm going to share with you later on in this presentation.
EE: Breaking news! Secret audio tape coming.
BL: Oh my god.
SB: But before I get to that I want to break down some serious dynamics for you guys. Beyoncé's body is a major part of her career. And she did not want to ruin her career and that's why she didn't want to ruin her body by having a baby. Although Solange make better music than Beyoncé, her career—
EE: Whoa! Whoa! Bold claim!
BL: You know why I like that because I—he really, he decided to add in his own like his own fresh commentary about—
BL: He just said it so matter of factly. ‘Although Solange makes better music than Beyoncé.’
EE: And he just slipped it in there like this. He wanted you to know like this is not the key point of this moment but it's true.
BL: Yeah. Wow bold critique.
EE: I mean “A Seat At The Table” though.
BL: I was going to say “A Seat At The Table” really spoke to him.
SB: Although Solange make better music than Beyoncé. Her career is nowhere near her sister. She was against having the baby but the Illuminati forced her to have the baby—
EE: This is mean. I'm not gonna lie—
BL: This is mean. Now he—OK. So it goes from this picture of Beyoncé posing in like a crop top sweater and some lingerie and like a body chain just looking bodacious as ever.
EE: She was looking great.
BL: To the photo of Solange broken out all in hives at her wedding. So for those of you who don't know, Solange had an allergic reaction I think to some shellfish at her own wedding. And so there's a photo of her that was circulated around the time of her wedding that showed her having a breaking out in hives on her face.
EE: And it looks real tragic.
BL: That is not fair.
EE: I mean—
BL: Who among us hasn't had an encounter with a histamine and broken out like you know what I mean?
EE: Encounter with a histamine?
BL: Do you have seasonal allergies?
EE: I do. But wh—
BL: OK then you know what Solange has been through.
SB: You don't have to believe me but no one has ever been able to explain exactly what happened in that elevator when Solange attacked Jay-Z. Everybody was able to see the surveillance tape in the elevator. But no one has been able to hear the audio tapes. But that's where I come in because I have the secret tape right here. [click]
EE: Are you ready for this? We are about to hear. Never before played audio.
BL: Oh my god!
EE: From inside the Elevator.
BL: Oh my God.
EE: Before Solange like just like let Jay-Z have it.
SB: Ok I'm going to put this in the tape deck. [continues under: And once this is over I will continue with my presentation.]
EE: Right now there's a picture of a cassette tape. I would like to think that if I was recording what happened in the elevator.
BL: What happened in an elevator in 20–. What is it 2014? 2015?
EE: That I might not use a Sony Walkman.
EE: To do that.
BL: [laughs] A little talk boy.
Solange: Beyoncé I'm telling you right now don’t say shit because this is between me and Jay.
Beyoncé: I know I ain’t gonna say nothing.
Jay: Ay yo ‘Longe what you tripping for. I told you I left Baby Blues at the babysitter.
Solange: I know who let the baby sitters dummy. But you didn’t tell me who is the baby–
EE: First off–
BL: Hold on. Before I even get to before we even get into the fact that Shawn Blazington is apparently a ventriloquist. The elevator noises like it sounds like a dumb waiter. It sounds like something that you put yourself into you get lowered into a mine. It does not sound like a modern elevator that would be in a museum!
EE: There's nary a beep. There's nary a ding. Oh man. All right. lets–let’s go back to–I'm literally I'm crying right now.
Solange: But you didn’t tell me who is the babysitter.
Jay: Honestly that's none of your business. I think you need to stay in your lane. hey yo Bey, why don't you talk to your sister?
Beyoncé: Mmmm. Mmmm.
EE: Yo that was a real expert level Beyoncé mmm.
BL: Beyoncé! Wow ok Shawn Blazington is good at Beyoncé’s voice.
Beyoncé: Mmmm. Mmmm.
Solange: Oh no you got me fucked up. I held that baby in my stomach for nine months.
Motherfucker you gonna tell me who the baby sitter is.
Jay: Aight, aight i let Bleek babysit the baby.
Jay: Memphis Bleek. I let Bleek–
Solange: Motherfucker you let that dirty motherfucker hold my baby. [slaps]
EE: It sounds like he's banging like action figures together like he's actually like acting it out.
BL: I love this.
[slaps and fighting]
Jay: Bey get your sister.
Beyoncé: Mmm, I want nothing to do with that. Mmm.
Jay: Oh really Bey you ain’t gonna say nothing? Yo this was a bad idea, we should have never let Solange be the mother.
EE: I love it’s in this moment–only in this moment after he gets beat up by Solange that he's rethinking this decision.
Solange: And I should never agreed to do this because I hate having your big tired, bubble-lipped, ashy-lipped, having ass as the baby daddy.
Jay: I would slap the shit out too right now. But you're my baby mama. So here you go, you dropped your shoe.
Solange: Fuck you.
Man: Thats enough y’all.
EE: But who said that's enough you know that.
BL: OK so this is where I actually have to give Shawn Blazington some credit because he layered that audio, like he really cares, he cares about what he's putting out. I mean granted I did just hear like some real deeply self-hating anti-black Jay-Z insults and then to counter that a threat of domestic violence. But the audio was layered which is more than what I was expecting from a production standpoint.
EE: It's very true, very true, slightly problematic but A for effort.
Shawn Blazington: For all you people out there that think they are really a married couple and Beyoncé really had that baby. And you really think that Solange is not that baby's mother. Just look at Blue Ivy. She looked more like Solange than she do Beyoncé.
EE: And so in the picture that he show–I'm not gonna lie. I mean it could be just because Solange and Beyoncé are sisters. but.
BL: I think that's probably what it is.
EE: Like. There was a definite resemblance.
SB: I can go on and on about this for hours but you going to believe what you want to believe. And that's cool. This your boy Shawn Blaze and i'm out.
EE: And that's it. That's the end of the video.
BL: I will say I was impressed with the quality of the video. But ultimately I am not totally convinced.
EE: You heard never before released audio of what happened in that elevator that's not enough.
BL: The journalistic chops. [laughs] But no, that is unfortunately for me not going to be enough to swing my opinion either way. You know i think he had some holes in his argument if i’m just being frank.
BL: I think I’m going to have to put some of Sean Blazington’s claims and theories to the test.
EE: After the break, Brittany launches a counter investigation.
BL: Welcome back.
EE: Welcome Back.
BL: Ok so Eric presented me with a YouTube video.
BL: Made by a one Shawn Blazington. As truly riveting as some of his arguments were, I think that his claims deserve a strong fact check. I consider myself to be an expert on pretty much all things Beyoncé. But this story it’s bigger than all of us.
EE: It is.
BL: And I knew that i needed to pull out the big guns.
EE: I’m–I don’t know what the big guns are.
BL: Hi Celesse?
Celesse Rivera: Hi!
BL: Hi! Thank you so much for making time to talk to us today.
CR: Thank you so much for having me!
BL: No problem, no problem.
BL: OK so Eric so that is the voice of Beyoncé expert Cellese Rivera.
EE: Oh man I’ve never met a Beyoncé expert before.
BL: I am partially insulted by that but i will move on. So celesse first saw Beyoncé when she was 5 years old at some talent showcase in Las Vegas, and she has been a diehard fan ever since. She actually also runs an Instagram, like a Beyoncé fan Instagram account called @throwbackxyonce.
EE: That’s a good name.
BL: Yeah it features pictures of Beyoncé from when she was younger. Her Beyoncé expertise has actually gotten her further than you or I will ever go, which is The Tyra Banks Show.
CR: I got an email from Tyra Banks production people. They were like ‘we heard from Beyoncé’s people that you are one of her biggest fans and we’d like to invite you to the show. When I first read the email I was like ‘this is a scam, somebody is playing with me.’
BL: But it actually was not a scam at all. So like Celesse showed up to the taping, and she found out that she was actually going to go toe to toe with Beyoncé.
EE: Wait what? Like Beyoncé was on the The Tyra Show?
Tyra Banks: We’re back with record setting grammy winning super star actress, everything else too, Beyoncé!
CR: They’re like you are going to be playing a trivia game about Beyoncés life basically, her likes, dislikes, her biography but it’s against Beyoncé. And I’m like. Are you kidding? That’s not even fair. She knows everything about her!
TB: So our first contestants name is–
TB: Celesse, are you a Beyoncé huge fan?
CR: The biggest!
CR: So Tyra asked me what song did Beyoncé perform at her talent show when she was 7 years old. The answer was John Lennon’s imagine, but when i clicked my buzzer, Beyoncés light went off. So she got to answer the question before me, no hard feelings, I want a rematch.
EE: No hard feelings…[laughs] It’s cool Beyoncé you can answer questions about your life, i’m gonna chill.
BL: OK so obviously when it comes to Beyoncé, Celesse knows what is up. So I sent her Shawn Blazington’s video. And I asked her to do just some simple fact checking it for me:
CR: Some of the allegations are just like outrageous like a simple Google search could have clarified some of the things that he was talking about.
BL: Wait which parts?
CR: So the part about Solange being pregnant with Blue. Solange has been spotted in 2011 plenty of times. I mean she went to the Met Gala. She went to the Roc Nation party. She did a lot of events and if she was indeed pregnant with Blue Ivy. Where was the belly. You know?
BL: What if her–what if she just gets pregnant very small? Like don't some people just get pregnant very very small?
CR: I mean Solange has worn crop tops in 2011. She has worn tight form fitting clothes. I mean no matter how small she was carrying and Blue Ivy is, a very tall, big child, she is a solid child. There is NO WAY. NO WAY.
BL: What about some of these other points that he brings up? He made a claim that I actually I found to be a little compelling where he was saying that there are no photos of Jay-Z and Beyoncé tongue kissing or of Jay-Z you know grabbing on her butt. What do you say about that, like you're somebody you run a throwback Instagram account.
BL: I mean you've seen probably thousands of images of them together?
CR: And I've seen plenty of images of him doing all of that. I mean there's a video of him surprising her in Philly and he grabs her and he grabs her butt. There's a video of him kissing her all throughout the Formation Tour all through Mrs. Carter. There's a picture of them on a yacht and it's like a closeup of them kissing. On Tidal she released a video for her anniversary with Jay-Z showing them being intimate. Again it's just a Google search. You know like that I heard that he say like if you send me a video or picture I'll send you five hundred dollars and I'm like great. I'm about to make a good five hundred dollars because I'll send you everything.
BL: Extra income is always good. I would actually consider that if I were you.
CR: Yes. So and then the part about her not carrying the child in the ‘Die for You’ video. She literally like has a break down and on her website it shows her full body. One month pregnant, two months pregnant, three month pregnant. She is naked in the same position for all of the pictures showing her growth in the ‘Die For You’ video. She there's video of her and Jay-Z standing and she's covering her breast and Jay-Z's rubbing her stomach. It's close up. You can tell there is no prosthetic baby bump there.
BL: Ok so that actually. I'm going to cut you off because that makes me think of one part peculiarly damning piece of evidence that Shawn Blazington brought up in his video.
CR: The infamous dress
CR: The pink dress.
CR: Oh well I'll be honest. I can very well understand why people questioned everything about her pregnancy after watching that video. Cuz honestly when I first saw it I was like ‘uh oh.’ So I tried it with a pillow because I'm just one of those ridiculous fans that like goes so hard to prove that Beyoncé is right. But I will only speak if I know for a fact that I know what I'm talking about. And if you put I mean even if you take your shirt and you squeeze it far or dress or whatever you're wearing and you squeeze it on the sides and like try pinning it to the back so that it's form fitting on your stomach and then leans forward with it. Your dress your shirt or dress or whatever you're wearing will fold. I did it and it folded everybody so focused on well the dress folded the dress folded OK take the dress off in the ‘Die For You’ video. She's naked. There's a pregnant belly. Explain that one. And that's when everybody gets quiet.
BL: So I have another question. Beyoncé is like a favorite subject of a lot of these kinds of videos.
BL: Especially ones that pertain to the Illuminati. Like why do you think that is?
CR: Because she's a Black woman who is successful. So instead of just giving her her props it has to be some magical reason why she got to where she got to. So what’s the easiest thing? oh she's in the Illuminati. It's like equivalent to saying ‘well you got this because you're lucky.’ No because I worked hard.
Brittany: Well Celeste thank you so much. You're fantastic. And I really appreciate your expertise in this instance like I mean you've, you've cleared a lot up for me.
Celesse: Aww, Thank you.
EE: So that was pretty difficult to hear. She recreated the dress situation. It's hard to argue with that.
BL: That’s what i'm saying. Did you hear, did you hear Celesse's dedication?
EE: That's deep.
BL: That is deep. Beyoncé one. Shawn Blazington zero for now.
EE: For now. i'm willing to concede that. I mean–
BL: For now.
EE: it's hard for me to discount Shawn Blazington because I've seen so many of these videos and maybe I feel the the journalistic integrity throughout some of the other pieces.
EE: Maybe maybe this is the maybe this is the one situation where it doesn't hold up.
BL: I'm just going to let you know that I think that the next time that you want to bring me a conspiracy theory that you're going to need to show me some more receipts.
BL: The Nod is produced by me, Brittany Luse, with Eric Eddings, Kate Parkinson-Morgan, and James T. Green. Our senior producer is Sarah Abdurrahman. We are edited by Jorge Just and Annie-Rose Strasser.
Engineering from Matthew Boll and Cedric Wilson. Our theme music is by Calid B. Other original music by Takstar.
EE: Hey y’all, so I’m a be real with you, we’re a new show! And we could, really, really use your help. We’d love it if you could go to Apple Podcasts, and leave us a rating or review, something in the realm of one, two, three, four, five stars. Think about it. We’d really like that.
Next week on The Nod… Next week, we’re off, so we’ll be back with a new show in two weeks.