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Infidelity: Is It Ever Justified?

Explore the ethics of infidelity through Jay-Z's 'Family Feud' video.

13th Jan 18

In Jay-Z's latest music video titled 'Family Feud ', he explores a variety of topics; from the glorification of black females and the acknowledgement of the cultures that built North America, to the infidelity that took place in his marriage.

Selma director Ava Duverna shot the video for 'Family Feud' which she happily promoted on Twitter. She says: "The first scene focusses on errors. All families hurt each other. Mistakes are made. Expectations unmet. Jealousies fester." In the final scene of Jay-Z's music video, he is confessing his infidelity to the confessional priest; Beyoncé. Let’s explore this aspect of the music video and issues of infidelity further.

Before the release of 'Family Feud', Beyoncé confronted Jay-Z about his infidelity. This occurs in "Sorry” from Beyoncé's sixth studio album, the critically acclaimed Lemonade. Towards the end of the song, she utters:

'He only want me when I'm not there, he better call Becky with the good hair'

In "Family Feud", Jay-Z responds to these accusations. He briefly excuses his infidelity and forewarns 'Becky' to steer clear of him:

'Yeah, I'll f*** up a good thing if you let me…Let me alone Becky'

Jay-Z warns away Becky in order to prevent her from destroying the 'good thing' he has; essentially his empire through his marriage to Beyoncé and his children. In Jay-Z's circumstance, he appears to put all of the blame onto Becky by telling her to stop bothering him.

Blame shifting is extremely problematic in cases on infidelity and I will tell you why. You are the one that is in a monogamous relationship; if you cheat, then it is your fault. Yes, you may have been tempted by the forbidden fruit. But, this does not mean that you should have a taste of it when it is offered to you! There is something called respect. There is also something called will power. There is also something called 'I want to be faithful to my partner because I love them and do not want to betray their trust.'

One of the most important questions which can be raised from the theme of infidelity which is explored in Family Feud is the question of whether infidelity is ever justified. The topic of infidelity is one that is extremely heated, awkward and controversial. However, it is not a topic that we should shy away from.

There exists many individuals who argue that as humans, we are naturally polyamorous; non-monogamous. Consequently, an individual who subscribes to this idea might believe that being in a monogamous relationship inevitably leads to one person or both parties cheating on each other. This may be due to many factors such as, a lack of communication (i.e. if one person finds someone else attractive and does not tell their partner). Such a perspective does not necessarily entail that monogamy is unnatural.

However, they might feel as if they are not happy or comfortable conforming to a monogamous relationship style. Generally, the people that agree with this are either in a polyamorous or open relationship. Polyamory is the philosophy or state of promoting simultaneous loving relationships with the complete knowledge and consent of all parties. Whereas, being in an open relationship is where one may take new partners, but these connections are not romantic. This type of relationship might suit you very well. Especially if you are the type of person that experiences jealousy in low doses and your curiosity to form new, special, romantic or sexual bonds with people is flying through the roof!

 

Yet, I do not think that this is the type of relationship that Beyoncé and Jay-Z want or have envisioned as a unit. This is evident through the shade thrown in Queen B's song "Don't hurt yourself" from the Lemonade album where she says:

 

 'If try to cheat again, you gon' lose your wife'

 

Most people in monogamous relationships would argue that infidelity is never justified. This is due to the agreements that one has made in their relationship. If you have agreed to only relate to each other in a romantic and sexual way, this would mean that deviating from your agreement and doing the opposite is cheating. From a monogamous perspective, the person that cheats is the person that imperils the relationship. This is because they have disrespected the person by going against the agreement that they made willingly and mutually when they chose to be exclusive with one another. Situations such as being drunk and kissing somebody's face off in a club is not justified by you being intoxicated. This is because you were the person that put yourself in such a position. If you know that you are the type of individual that cannot control themselves when they are intoxicated, then avoid such situations. Alternatively, have friends around you that would discourage this type of behaviour or prevent you from being in such a predicament. You cannot blame it on the a-a-a-a-a-a-co-hol (lol, I'm just reminiscing about the song 'blame it' by Jamie Foxx ft. T-Pain).

Some have argued that the rules of the game are completely different for celebrities, particularly rich men. They argue that as long as men of status like Jay Z are providing for their families then one slip up in the bedroom should not cost him his whole empire, these defendants claim that the victim of cheating should look at the bigger picture, this was also the narrative among many men regarding Kevin Hart's cheating scandal (see Lord Jamar below):

In my opinion, cheating is a subjective notion. Cheating is dependent on what you and your partner(s) have mutually agree on as cheating. For example, if you have both agreed that kissing is not cheating but engaging in sexual activity does class as infidelity, then you have clearly discussed what is permissible in your relationship. Therefore, you should abide by the 'rules' you have set for one another. If you are feeling as if your heart is not completely in the relationship anymore due to a lack of sex, a loss of romantic connection or you have unnecessary arguments 24/7, then discuss it with you partner. Talk about where you are both going wrong and try to improve on what has been discussed. After all, relationships are about communication, compromise, trust and perseverance. Do not cheat! If you are unhappy, then break up!

 Watch the powerful video for ‘Family Feud’ below:


 

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