Beyoncé Rep Appears to Defend Singer Against Erykah Badu Album Art Criticism: ‘She Slays. Now. Then. Always’

Call it the “braids and beads beef.” A sartorial scuffle erupted on Wednesday (March 20) after it appeared that Erykah Badu called out Beyoncé for borrowing her signature look for the cover of the upcoming Act II: Cowboy Carter album.


Badu, long known for her intergalactic Afro-futuristic look, took the most subtle of shots at Queen Bey in an Instagram Story suggesting that their looks had once again crossed streams. Badu reposted s pic of the cover art of the limited edition version of Beyoncé’s upcoming LP in which the singer — naked except for a sash reading “act ii BEYINCÉ” in reference to her mother Tina Knowles’ maiden name — holds a cigar and poses with her floor-length braids partially covering one breast, along with red, white and beige-colored beads forming manicured bangs.

“HMMM,” Badu commented on the image, according to Complex. Badu followed up on X with a tweet that read, “To Jay Z. Say something Jay. You gone let this woman and these bees do this to me?? [laughing face emoji].” At press time it did not appear that Beyoncé had responded to Badu’s post, but according to People Bey’s longtime spokesperson, Yvette Noel-Schure, appeared to comment in an Instagram Story later in the day.

Schure’s post reportedly featured a montage of Beyoncé sporting braided hairstyles throughout her career along with the words, “She slays. She slays. Now. Then. Always. #criticswithoutcredentials”; Schure’s Story did not mention Badu by name and at press time Schure had not responded to Billboard‘s request for further comment. A spokesperson for Badu had also not responded to Billboard‘s request for comment at press time.

It’s not the first time Badu has questioned Beyoncé’s fashion sense. In 2023, Badu dropped another “hmmm” alongside a photo of ‘Yonce wearing a metallic top hat during her Renaissance tour, writing “I guess I’m everyone’s stylist. Favorite chrome mirror hat.”

It’s unclear what the women’s relationship is, but Bey shouted out Baud on the “Queens Remix” of her single “Break My Soul” alongside other Black female icons such as Roberta Flac, Betty Davis and Lauryn Hill; at a Renaissance tour stop in Boston in August last year — a day after Lizzo was sued by thee former tour dancer claiming sexual harassment and a hostile work environment — Beyoncé omitted Lizzo’s name and said “Badu” four times.

Beyoncé’s Cowboy Carter album is due out on March 29.

See Badu’s tweet and the Cowboy Carter cover art below.

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