"JAY-Z had a choice," she wrote, commending the rapper for straying from traditional masculine stereotypes to tell his story. "Having been called out publicly by his wife in her fierce 2016 album and video, Lemonade, JAY-Z knew that his fans wouldn’t have blinked if his next album skimmed past the allegations. That’s not uncommon for men to do."
"It’s not as if we hadn’t seen Beyoncé and JAY-Z out in the world together since then -- not to mention, welcoming their twins to planet Earth. JAY-Z could have ignored it all," she continued. "But, instead, he chose a path of candor that will... move the conversation forward and help others."
In "Footnotes," JAY-Z opened up about building a "big, beautiful mansion of a relationship" before it began "cracking."
"Things start happening that the public can see," he said. "Then we had to get to a point of ‘OK, tear this down and let’s start from the beginning.’ It’s hard. Remember we just talked about me: I’m from Marcy Projects. I’ve been shot at. But nothing is harder than this. By far. I’m telling you, it’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done. Most humans, us, you know what I mean? We’re not willing to put ourselves through that. Most people give up."
And though he didn't directly comment on Beyonce's seeming accusations of infidelity in Lemonade, he did rap "I apologize, often womanize/Took for my child to be born/See through a woman’s eyes/Took for these natural twins to believe in miracles/Took me too long for this song/ I don’t deserve you," on his new album's title track.
For Lewinsky, who also highlights Brad Pitt and Prince Harry in the essay, JAY-Z's honesty was "refreshing."
“It is a refreshing and bracing antidote to see male icons convey vulnerability in an age when Washington’s new power elite and our coarsening culture are busy projecting an outmoded caricature of manhood, 24/7," she wrote. "As we wrestle with gender roles and relationships between the sexes -- and see issues of sexism running rampant from the tech world to politics -- it’s heartening to see a crack in the implicit contract among men, their emotions, and society at large."