Beyonce took a break from her rigorous European tour schedule to visit the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam today. Judging by the photos posted to her Instagram account, it was an appropriately sombre affair, and no embarrassing Justin Bieber-esque gaffes were committed.
The Internet immediately broke into a frenzy of praise and analysis, the general tenor of which was: “Stars, they’re just like us: they visit Holocaust museums and feel sad!” This might seem like an absurd thing to Tweet about (and even sillier to blog about), but the cultural significance of the moment runs deeper than a “like” or two (or in this case, 648,000 Instagram “hearts”): millions of young people—many of whom might have only a superficial knowledge of the Holocaust—follow Beyonce on social media, and I’m guessing at least a few thousand of them will be curious enough to pick up a copy of The Diary of Anne Frank after seeing these photos. That can only be a good thing.
Writes Marc Tracy over at The New Republic:
As we scrolled through our Instagram feeds, past selfies and cat pictures, we were jarred to come across the world’s most famous pop star mugging with the iconic black-haired murdered Jewish girl. The Holocaust is jarring, and it serves us well to be jarred anew by it every so often. This picture allows us to recover our sense of wonder at its enormity and awfulness. Good for Beyoncé for putting us in that place.
Queen Bey, you’re all class.