No celebrity has a deeper archive of cringe-worthy moments and cancelable offenses than one Tyra Banks.
Thanks to an utterly cursed career on television starting in the early 2000s, the former supermodel has given social media plenty to criticize from her days hosting America’s Next Top Model and The Tyra Banks Show. And it doesn’t seem like this dragging ritual will ever end.
Currently, Banks and ANTM’s panel of judges are being criticized for how they discussed “plus-sized” contestant Robin Manning’s figure on Cycle 1 of the show in a widely-viewed TikTok. In light of this, Banks’ other greatest—and by greatest, I obviously mean worst—hits are being revisited, including the TV host’s bizarre, pun-filled interview with Beyoncé in 2008.
This is why Beyoncé doesn’t do interviews anymore pic.twitter.com/OOPKAuGgpR
— Call me Miguelito (@CAdreamboy) August 5, 2022
While the edited clip going around on Twitter showing Banks saying things like “Josh-a Fierce” and cutting to a visibly perplexed Beyoncé is hilarious, I urge you to revisit the entire video on Youtube, which includes Banks presenting the music icon a “Jay-Z-Boy chair” in the middle of the interview. (It’s a La-Z-Boy chair with a cutout of Jay-Z attached).
It’s genuinely hard to tell whether Banks is a member of the BeyHive or plotting the “Break My Soul” singer’s downfall based on the sheer corniness of this roughly 20-minute-long Q&A and her tight grin. She also pulls the ultimate power move once they both sit down by taking a moment to “fix” Beyoncé’s perfectly coiffed hair before she begins spitting puns. Beyoncé jokingly responds “Mama Tyra,” either intentionally or unintentionally pointing out the fact that Banks is several years older than her. This is only the first minute!
Then the obnoxious word games begin. It’s unclear whether Banks or another producer pitched this interview format. But I’d like to imagine Banks listening to the NPR’s Sunday Puzzle and going, “I could do that!”
First, she starts with a segment called “Beyoncé My Name, Say My Name” where she incorporates the topic of whatever question she’s about to ask into the first syllable of “Beyoncé.” Banks doesn’t explain any of this to the unassuming singer before she starts uttering “Brie-yoncé” and “Sea-yoncé” before inquiring about the singer’s favorite cheese (“regular, yellow, cheddar cheese”) and relationships with the dead. But Beyoncé eventually catches on and calls Banks’ little game “cute.”
You’d think this segment would be a one-and-done. I can’t even imagine the most annoying man on Earth, James Corden, putting any of his famous guests through more than five minutes of this torture. But Banks does two more iterations of the same segment with Beyoncé’s musical alter ego at the time, Sasha Fierce, and the name of her 2008 hit single “If I Were A Boy.”
“If I were Tolstoy,” Banks says in the last segment, with all the seriousness in the world, “Can you do a Russian accent?”
It’s unclear what Beyoncé was supposed to get out of this whole ordeal. It’s not like she could really participate in the joke element. Additionally, I’m sure, as someone with an unconventional name like Beyoncé, she’s dealt with plenty of people either mispronouncing or playing around with her name against her will.
To give Banks some credit as a journalist, I did learn things about Beyoncé that I hadn’t previously known, like that she wants to cut her hair into a bob when she goes gray (“Gray-oncé”) and that she would bang Josh Brolin over Josh Lucas (“Josh-a Fierce”). She can do a somewhat decent Russian accent.
It sucks that we don’t get this sort of casual, non-work-related intel from the “Crazy in Love” singer anymore, seemingly because she doesn’t need to talk to the press but probably because of this interview.