When the new Tiffany's campaign was unveiled, reactions were mixed.
Tiffany's, the iconic jewelry brand which does not (despite what some might be misled to believe) in fact serve breakfast, featured Jay Z, Beyoncé, and a rare Basquiat painting in their recent campaign.
The aesthetics were undeniably luxe and historic. The campaign showcased the rarely-seen Basquiat painting Equals Pi (1982), which the brand acquired for the background's proximity to its distinctive Tiffany blue. Also notably historic is that Beyoncé was the first Black woman to wear the 128.54 carat Tiffany Diamond.
Before Beyoncé, the only other stars to wear the yellow diamond were Mary Whitehouse, wife of American diplomat Edwin Sheldon Whitehouse, Hollywood icon Audrey Hepburn, and singer Lady Gaga.
"Beyoncé and Jay-Z are the epitome of the modern love story …. Love is the diamond that the jewelry and art decorate," said the press release accompanying the campaign.
The campaign, titled "About Love," is stunning and has both classic and contemporary references. The image of the couple posing in front of high art recalled the iconic stills from their "APESHIT" music video, for which they famously rented out the Louvre and posed in front of the Mona Lisa.
THE CARTERS - APESHIT (Official Video) www.youtube.com
Their "APESHIT" photo made a giant cultural impact for its juxtaposition of Western beauty and Blackness. Tiffany's campaign seemed to have similar goals — showcasing Beyoncé and Jay Z as the peak of luxury, this time juxtaposing the Basquiat and the Tiffany diamond.
As a Black couple, their appearance in such a luxury campaign was a big move for representation, but in a post 2020 landscape, there was an outcry of criticism.
Despite the aesthetic beauty of the image, the high capitalist undertones didn't sit right with some on the internet — largely younger demographics. Though this campaign was an effort by Tiffany's to appeal to younger audiences and make the brand feel more relevant, Twitter's verdict was clear: a blood diamond wasn't the way to go.
The diamond, which was mined in South Africa in 1877, comes from origins laden in the implications of colonialism. The practice of mining in South Africa at the time was exploitative and destructive, eschewing the livelihoods and safety of African miners and their communities for... what? Money? So Tiffany could try to sell us some dream of affluence using Black celebrities as to "Blackwash" the history behind their treasured piece?
The Washington Post also had some choice words, saying: "Its campaign does not celebrate Black liberation — it elevates a painful symbol of colonialism. It presents an ostentatious display of wealth as a sign of progress in an age when Black Americans possess just 4 percent of the United States's total household wealth. If Black success is defined by being paid to wear White people's large colonial diamonds, then we are truly still in the sunken place."
Alongside the campaign, Tiffany & Co have promised to donate $2 million to HBCUs to fund scholarships and internships. But this measly amount (considering the multi-billion dollar net worth behind LVMH) is not enough to cover up that, despite their performative efforts to promote "diversity," Tiffany's is entrenched in a colonial history that neither beauty nor Beyonce can make us ignore.
While Black representation has been increasing over the past few years, the question of how we are represented is starting to be considered with more nuance. And as we examine the structures of wealth and hierarchical values, many people are starting to ask whether these should be the standards we aspire to anymore.
Jay Z and Beyoncé have come under fire before for their promotion of Black Capitalist values — which the kids don't seem to want. Jay Z especially seems invested in the trappings of traditional (read: white) success and wealth. His cannabis line recently unveiled a campaign based on the work Slim Aarons — which was famously focused on "attractive people doing attractive things in attractive places" — and its unashamed opulence raised some eyebrows.
Images like this aren't as revolutionary as they once might have been since they reinforce the status quo and tell marginalized people to reach for the same luxuries and lifestyles deemed aspirational by the people who have oppressed them.
Anti-capitalist theory has been around as long as capitalism has, but younger generations are more likely to question the status quo — even when it comes packed with Basquiat and Beyoncé.
The conversation about the Tiffany campaign is indicative of how Gen Z thinks differently about money and what it means to them. They are less likely to be seduced by the luster of the aspirational, and more receptive to relatability.
No more does financial literacy seem restricted to the pretentious or the elite — we get it, finance bros; you love capitalism. With Cleo, understanding your money is something that can align users with their values.
And those values don't look like blood diamonds or corporate pandering.
- Sorry, Beyoncé, but Tiffany's blood diamonds aren't a girl's best friend - Washington Post
- The Black-white wealth gap left Black households more vulnerable — Brookings
- The Unashamed Opulence of Jay Z's Luxury Cannabis-Themed Slim Aarons Photoshoot — Popdust
- ATTRACTIVE PEOPLE DOING ATTRACTIVE THINGS IN ATTRACTIVE PLACES WITH SLIM AARONS — Elle Decor
Road trips can be a lot of fun — but they can also drain your wallet quickly if you aren't careful.
From high gas costs and park admission fares to lodging and the price of eating out every night, the expenses can add up quickly. But at the same time, it's very possible to do road trips cheaply and efficiently. Without the headache of worrying about how much money you're leaking, you can enjoy the open road a whole lot more. Here's how to save money on a road trip.
1. Prepare Your Budget, Route, and Packing List in Advance
If you want to save money on a road trip, be sure you're ready to go. Try to count up all your expenses before you hit the road and create a budget. It's also a good idea to plan your route in advance so you don't end up taking unnecessary, gas-guzzling detours. And finally, be sure to pack in advance so you don't find yourself having to buy tons of things you forgot along the way.
2. Book Cheap Accommodations — Or Try Camping
All those motel rooms can add up surprisingly quick, but camping is often cheap or free, and it's a great way to get intimate with the place you're visiting. You can check the Bureau of Land Management's website for free campsites. Freecampsite.com also provides great information on If you don't have a tent or don't want to camp every night, try booking cheap Airbnbs or booking hotels in advance, making sure to compare prices.
camping road tripConde Nast Traveler
If you're planning on sleeping in your car, a few tips: WalMart allows all-night parking, as do many 24-hour gyms. (Buying a membership to Planet Fitness or something like it also gives you a great place to stop, shower, and recharge while on the road).
3. Bring Food From Home
Don't go on a road trip expecting to subsist on fast food alone. You'll wind up feeling like shit, and it'll drain your pocketbook stunningly quickly. Instead, be sure to bring food from home. Consider buying a gas stove and a coffee pot for easy on-the-go meals, and make sure you bring substantial snacks to satiate midday or late night cravings so you can avoid getting those late night Mickey D's expeditions.
Try bringing your own cooler, filling it with easy stuff for breakfast and lunch — some bread and peanut butter and jelly will go a long way. Bring your own utensils, plates, and napkins, and avoid buying bottled water by packing some big water jugs and a reusable water bottle. Alternatively, try staying at hotels or Airbnbs with kitchens so you can cook there.
4. Avoid Tolls
Apps like Google Maps and Waze point out toll locations, so be sure to avoid those to save those pennies. (If it takes you too far off route, you might have to bite the bullet and drive across that expensive bridge).
You can also save on parking fees by using sites like Parkopedia.
Road TripThe Orange Backpack
5. Save on Gas
Gas can get pricy incredibly fast, so be sure that you're stopping at cheap gas stations. Free apps like GasBuddy help you find the most affordable gas prices in the area. Also, try going the speed limit on the highways — anything faster will burn through your tank. Be sure that you don't wait till you arrive at touristy locations or big cities to fill up.
6. Get a National Park Pass
All those parks can get really expensive really fast. If you're planning on visiting three or more parks, it's a great idea to get an America the Beautiful National Parks Pass. For $80 you can get into every National Park for one year.
It's easy to dish out what you might think is great financial advice if you're from the boomer generation — the most recent generation to accumulate copious amounts of wealth compared to others.
But does the financial advice of this aging generation still hold up today?
Many believe the American dream is dead, and in many ways this is true. So it may be time to take part in the adolescent practice of "ignoring our parents" and ditch the financial advice of boomers — especially if that advice sounds something like this:
"Pay your mortgage off as soon as possible"
Baby Boomer GIF by MOST EXPENSIVEST Giphy
For most boomers, paying off their mortgage as soon as feasible was sound advice at some point, but that's probably not the case today. Mortgage rates in the '80s and '90s were well over 10%, but the average rate in the past decade hasn't even gone above 5%.
It makes much more sense in today's world for homeowners with low-interest rates to consider investing that extra money or paying on higher interest debt.
"Don't discuss your finances with others"
Statler And Waldorf Internet GIF Giphy
Americans have always been discreet about money, and it has long been taboo to discuss finances with others, especially in the workplace.
"How much do you make" is often interpreted as "how much is your worth," and the correlation of pay and a person's value makes it awkward for many to discuss their finances. However, the norm of keeping one's salary secret has only led to an increased wage gap in America.
There is no reason that sharing salary information with coworkers shouldn't happen. After all, it may just land you a higher salary. And if you're ever told by an employer not to discuss salary with co-workers, you can refer them to the National Labor Relations Act of 1935, which makes it unlawful for private sector employers to prohibit employees from discussing their pay.
"Get a college degree if you want to make good money"
Season 4 Michael GIF by The Office Giphy
College isn't always a good investment anymore. With the college wealth premium — that is, the additional income earned by a family whose head of household has a college degree compared to that of a similar family head of household who does not have a degree — has been on a steady decline over recent decades, proving that college degrees don't necessarily ensure higher pay anymore.
The average cost of college has risen 3009% since the 1960's.
College was a completely different ball game when the majority of baby boomers attended. In 1970, the average college tuition came to what would now be $1,653. Today, that number is closer to $25,000.
To further debunk the myth that a degree amounts to more wealth, the skyrocketing price to attend college alone can often make a degree a bad investment. Many boomers were able to pay for entire degrees with the money made at part time jobs. With the average modern college student accumulating upwards of $40,000 in debt, the days of being able to pay for college with your own income are long gone for most individuals.
"Stay loyal to your job, and you will be rewarded"
Work Hard Hang In There GIF by Discovery Canada Giphy
According to a Linkedin study, boomers report being significantly more satisfied and loyal to their employers than Gen X and Millennials; but a look at the change in the workplace might unveil the reasons why younger generations are more likely to switch jobs.
Pension plans, or retirement plans in which an employer makes contributions set aside for employees to collect after they retire are almost entirely a thing of the past. With this type of plan, often referred to as defined benefit plans, the employer is the sole contributor to the retirement accounts, unlike the common retirement plans today such as 401ks, in which the employee themselves must make contributions. Today, only about 4% of private-sector employers offer pensions to their employees.Along with diminishing retirement incentives, the lack of benefits and rising costs of employer-sponsored healthcare also play a factor into job loyalty. Since 1998, the percent of workers offered employer-sponsored coverage has been on the decline.
"Homeownership is the path to wealth"
Boomers GIF by MOODMAN Giphy
Any boomer will tell you that the first thing to invest in is homeownership. In fact, the baby boomer generation believed in this advice so much that they now own more than 80% of housing wealth in the US.
A recent study found that from 1983 to 2013, housing wealth increased almost entirely within the baby boomer and older generations. Urban boomers have highly influenced the increase of homeownership pricing due in large part to restricting housing supplies. For example, most neighborhood councils and homeowners associations are made up of boomers, who impose strict building requirements that raise the prices of homes and make affordable housing scarce.
Younger generations are left with few options, either having to often take out mortgages they truly can't afford, or continue to rent. And if the 2008 crash taught us anything, homeownership can be a very risky investment.