Jay Z and wife Beyonce delivered a surprise on New Year’s for thousands of U.S. troops stationed in Kuwait and Afghanistan: a screening of their On the Run HBO special and a message from the Queen of Pop.
“I just want to say a big thank you to our troops for everything you do to keep our country safe,” she said in a message that played during a USO countdown to 2015. “We all sleep better at night knowing that you guys are protecting us, and we’re filled with gratitude.”
While the gesture is undoubtedly appreciated by soldiers overseas badly in need of some home-culture stimuli, the choice to screen On the Run is an odd one, particularly given that the massively hyped HBO concert special was a complete ratings failure when it premiered… in September. The special didn’t even make the Top 20 cable shows of the evening. Now, three months later, it’s offered to troops who undoubtedly would’ve preferred to watch The Interview.
Now that would’ve been a way to ring in the New Year, ‘Merka style.
Furthermore, not to call bullshit on a well-crafted press release by an army fighting a war nobody wants or has even been able to explain the cause for in a full decade, but this strikes the heart as painfully inauthentic: “Watching the On the Run concert made me forget I was in Afghanistan for the holidays … thank you,” said SSGT Ferguson, who is stationed at Bagram Airfield in Afghanistan, according to a USO press release.
If watching a failed concert film on a screen for two hours made soldiers forget that they’re in the armpit of Hell, forget the thousands of hostile miles between them and the comforts of home, forget the endless daily killing they’ve been forced to do in the name of the American government for the past decade, we need to send a hell of a lot more Beyonce videotapes over there.
Fast-forward to the 2:15 mark to see Beyonce’s message below: