In one oft-told parable about Jesus, a man looks over the course of his own life, represented by sets of footprints in the sand. Jesus walked beside him for most of his life, so there were two sets of prints. But during the tough times, there were only one.
“Where were you when I needed you most?” the man implores the son of God. “Why did I have to walk alone?”
“My darling child,” Jesus says, “It was then that I carried you.”
Such was the statement made by Beyoncé on her Instagram account Wednesday afternoon, when she announced that she and Jay Z are expecting twins.
America has been stumbling through a constitutional crisis and one of the most dispiriting weeks in recent history. The president of the United States is opening his arms to white nationalists and erasing the history of the Holocaust. The top officers of the federal government know nothing about the very agencies they lead. America’s most marginalized and vulnerable residents are coming under attack, and it’s only week two.
But Beyoncé wants us to know: Through our troubles and fear, while our minds have been occupied elsewhere, she’s been carrying us (and two Knowles-Carter fetuses) the whole time.
The knowledge that Beyoncé—perhaps the most influential artist of our generation and one of the world’s best-known advocates for racial and gender justice—is procreating is a bit of much-needed solace at a time when many Americans are floundering in doubt about the fate of humanity. Democratic ideals may come and go, but two babies raised by the woman who gave us “boy, bye” will better humanity for generations to come.
The sad truth is that based on the timing of Beyoncé’s announcement and how much she’s showing in the très campy photo, the forthcoming twins might have been conceived with an alternative president—and very different world prospects—in mind. Days before the election, Beyoncé and Jay Z held a hopeful, happy rally for Hillary Clinton. The twins could have already been germinating. Beyoncé might not have known.
Still, the expectation of dual Bey-bies on the way offers a faint glimmer of a memory of the way things used to be: a feminist of color dominating the news instead of a racist sexual predator; an imagined future populated by children idolizing Amandla Stenberg instead of Ivanka Trump; a world run by empathetic girls instead of Islamophobic nihilists. The promise of new life coming to an admirable family is a reason to hope that all might not be lost.
In August, I went camping with friends in rural Virginia. To our horror, a man with swastika and Iron Eagle tattoos showed up at the campground with his family. They parked their RV in the site next to our tents and played hate music from their vehicle through the night. We had only a tiny iPhone speaker, but we found comfort in blasting the one album any of us could access on our phones: Lemonade. It felt like a kind of triumphant patronus charm that would keep the Nazis away. Today’s Beyoncé announcement feels the same. It’s a joyous occasion for the Knowles-Carter family, of course, but for the rest of us, it’s a chance to rally around a beloved icon of so many things the Trump administration hates and tries to invalidate. In an unfamiliar world, the flowers still bloom, and the gospel of Beyoncé still sings.