Named after this latest incarnation of the pop star, the video for the Beyoncé track features supermodels Chanel Iman, Joan Smalls and Jourdan Dunn, all clad in fiercely sexy couture. Shot in Brooklyn during the dog days of summer, she enlisted director Ricky Saiz to film the clip, one of 17 featured on the pop star’s “visual album.”
Together, Saiz and the pop star created a video that had a “lo-fi, aggressive aesthetic” focused on the themes of “voyeurism and kind of erotic sexuality rather than overt sexuality.” It reminded Saiz of the refined aesthetic of old ’90s Madonna’s videos. He noted that it was, in part, also inspired by George Michael’s iconic “Freedom” video, which featured a bevy of supermodels like Naomi Campbell and Cindy Crawford. “I just tried to bring like a raw, kind of lo-fi, very New York kind of grimy, dark aesthetic to it,” he said.
Want to more about the visual? Saiz breaks down some of the key moments for MTV News.
Beyoncé Was ‘Very Open’ To Fishnets
“It wasn’t necessarily a fashion-driven video. I had very clear ideas of the aesthetic I wanted to bring. With themes of eroticism, leather and fishnets and close-ups and the stylist [Lysa Cooper] just really came through,” he explained of filming Beyoncé. “[The singer] was very, very open. And she liked it and I think we made some memorable looks.”
He added of capturing the essence of Yoncé. “I think Yoncé is all in my mouth like liquor,” he teased, recalling some of the track’s lyrics. “She’s someone you talk about.”
The Lick Was Joan Smalls’ Idea
It’s hard to miss Smalls licking Bey’s chest in the “Yoncé″ clip. “We were going through takes and it was her and Joan and they were close. And Joan went for the lick and we got it,” he said of how the titillating moment came to exist.
Beyoncé Doesn’t Actually Sing At All
“Beyoncé actually never sings in the video. She almost plays like a madam character and the girls are doing the performing for her in a sense,” he added. “I think they are so important individually and have their own characters and they each really brought that to the set… [It's] almost like this just happened and we were there with our cameras.”
She Belongs On The Runway
The video closes out with Beyoncé walking down the runway, while hungry photographers shout at her and snap photos. Saiz explained why they decided to end the video with that scene.
“We knew the ending of the song was a transition into another song and the last line of the song is ‘Welcome to Paris’ and there’s bulbs flashing and kind of a paparazzi sense,” he said. “So we wanted to kind of have something that captured that high-flash paparazzi kind of feel and with a runway walk, it made sense in context with the models and left it quiet vague. And I thought it looked beautiful and an easy transition into the next video [which is 'Partition'].”