Georgia: Beyoncé's Girls Rule an Apocalyptic… Caucasus?

The premiere of American singer Beyoncé's “Run The World (Girls)” video on May 18, 2011, evoked much debate among bloggers and social media users in Georgia.

The reason for this was not that she had fans in the country, that it was the first single from her highly anticipated new album, or even because of its “women empowering” and aggressive nature, but rather a simple road sign that appeared 1 minute and 50 seconds into the video.

Dressed in Givenchy with two chained hyenas, Beyoncé was “set in an apocalyptic African landscape with a Tbilisi sign in the background (?)” as Giovanna Badilla, seemingly also confused, mentioned on The Wild Magazine blog.

Moreover, not only did the sign point to the Georgian capital, but also Gori, a city bombed during the August 2008 war with Russia and Tskhinvali, capital of the breakaway territory of South Ossetia.

The appearance of the road sign prompted a lot of speculation, as The Young Georgians explains:

It is unknown why did Beyonce use this sign or what is the message but many in Georgia talk about its link with the August 2008 war.

Some of those commenting on the post were happy, surprised or even insulted:

Lala: I really doubt there is a message behind it. She probably has no idea what it is and just liked the “exotic” alphabet.

@lala I totally Agree with u, And i Think that this is very disrespect of our nation….what the hell is doing georgian road sign in desert…i dont get it, no, useless, pointless..

One Facebook user said:

she may have no idea what this is all from. My guess it is some designer & choreographer that put this together…. follow the money to that. Just my speculation.

Some did “follow the money” and suggested that the Georgian government paid for the “product placement,” but others also considered that it could have been because of the Georgian alphabet used on the sign as a comment on Cyxymu's post said:

мне кажется, что для всего остального мира очень необычно и красиво выглядит грузинское письмо =)

I think that to the rest of the world Georgian writing seems very unusual and beautiful =)

Some suggested that maybe Georgian graphics designers were involved in the making of the video, or at least in its post-production, and decided to include it. However, others speculated that Beyoncé's new video was either related to, inspired or from the soundtrack of Renny Harlin's new film about the 2008 war, “5 Days of August” as one Facebook user somewhat sarcastically wrote.

1. სიმღერა იმ ფილმის საუნდტრეკია

‎2. ვიდეო იმავე პავილიონშია გადაღებული, რომელშიც ფილმი, თანაც რომელიღაც შუალედში, ფილმის ტიპები ლანჩზე როცა გავიდნენ

1. The song is from the soundtrack of the movie

2. The video is shot in the same set, as the movie was shot, while the movie crew went out for lunch

Being unable to find a real explanation, the online community started to joke about the political message of the road sign and started referring to Beyoncé as “Mother of Georgia” as the picture below shows:

Beyonce - Mother of Georgia

Beyonce's couture outfit replaced with the Statue of Mother of Georgia also is a symbol of patriotic mothers, raising warrior kids to defend their country from the enemies

A Facebook group, now unavailable, to this effect was even set up while one user perhaps jokingly thanked the singer for her contribution to the development of their country.

"Beyoncé helps us in uniting Georgia"

"Beyoncé helps us in uniting Georgia"


  • RS

    “Beyoncé helps us in uniting Georgia.” – Hmmmm, Interesting….What She Does Is Nothing But Disrespect!!! BRAAAAA!

  • My personal opinion, the sign must have been chosen with an underlying idea. From my ‘kofi braki’ post on

    “Currently not enough information about the video is available, so I guess we’ll have to wait and see what message Beyonce meant to sent with it. It is clear that it has to do with violence, and the idea that women either do not participate in conflict, or are the victims of conflict, or are the stakeholders to peaceful solutions (or all of the before mentioned). Since the August War got a lot of attention by the media and world leaders, it seems logical that Beyonce chose this particular conflict in her video as example. And with regards to the two hyenas she is holding while standing in front of the sign, they are perhaps representing Russia and Georgia, hunger for conflict over a deadly corps South Ossetia?” (on evo)

  • wasd

    Looking at the climate maps of my high-school atlas I get the sense that the Caucasus is only in a temperate climate because of a small weird bubble of temperate climate over turkey. I don’t think it would take much climate change to give the Caucasus a climate similar to central Asia or even the Arabian peninsula. My 1996 atlas shows a small area of persistent snow over the (northern?) Caucasus, anyone there know how that has been doing? If thats a water supply then things might be getting more dry.

    Lets remember that some of the worst case climate scenarios have northern Russia turning into an ideal beach-loving tourist destination.

  • […] ridiculing opposition protesters in May or discussing the visit to Tbilisi by Sharon Stone and the appearance of a Georgian road sign in a Beyoncé […]

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