When Omari Hardwick kissed Beyoncé twice on the cheek at this year’s NAACP Image Awards, the Beyhive lost its goddamn mind. The online backlash ran the gamut anywhere from Beyoncé looked uncomfortable and the interaction lacked consent (which I kind of believed) to Hardwick is ready to risk it all (including his marriage) and pursue the Queen. Mind you, a lot of the backlash was about protecting Bey by objecting to disrespecting Jay-Z by kissing his wife. Which is super patriarchal and I’m wondering where this valiant energy was when Jay-Z was cheating, mining for material for his 4:44 album. Also, Beyoncé already told us she’s the only lady, still the realest n**ga in the room, so she’s good.
Anyway, Beyoncé didn’t speak on it cause she tends not to speak to us unless she feels compelled to or is sharing life changes and Omari is doing press for the final season of the Starz show, Power. At the very beginning of his interview on Hot 97’s Ebro in the Morning, Omari efficiently fired back at the Beyhive and dropped some knowledge gems. He explained that he is friends with Beyoncé and Jay-Z and they are so close that Jay would have “slapped him upside the head and told him to say hi to Bey” if he had ignored her. Ebro agreed, as Omari highlighted how close they are: he’s gotten 1am phone calls from Queen Bey, insisting that he attend Jay-Z’s birthday party.
Then came the good part. Anyone who has followed Omari’s Instagram page or listened to him in interviews knows he’s deep. Like deep deep. Believe me, I’ve squinted in confusion at enough of his Insta captions to know. Omari believes the instant attack on his social media from the rabid Beyhive is due to the fact he’s famous too, telling Ebro: “Celebrity has become the seller before person’s person. Now that Omari is more of a celebrity, it’s not just not that it was Beyoncé – it’s that Omari is bigger.”
I kind of agree with him, but I believe the Beyhive would turn on anyone. I do think that they don’t care who is friends with Beyoncé when they attack (the Tiffany Haddish Sanaa Lathan biting disaster comes to mind) or about disrespecting relationships sacred to Beyoncé (how is Michelle still always getting dragged?) but Omari’s sentiment is very sane and peaceful, like him.
Along with Power, he is also promoting his new podcast, Poetics and it’s on brand. Calling hip-hop culture a trillion dollar business underserved by the curators of it, Omari hopes to give back to the genesis of hip hop: prose, poetry, and spoken word.
I’m always down to pay respect to the culture and pay it only to people who the culture actually belongs to. Plus those people are usually the only ones adamant about protecting the sanctity of hip-hop so I’m looking forward to it. I’m not ready to deal with the fact that Starz is ending Power, though. That’s unforgivable.
Attached - Omari Hardwick at the Met Gala earlier this month.