One of the highlights of last weekend’s Global Citizen Festival in Johannesburg, South Africa, was the duet between Beyonce and Ed Sheeran, who debuted their first-ever live performance of “Perfect Duet” off Sheeran’s ÷ (Divide) album.
While fans certainly enjoyed the performance, it was the pair’s disparate outfits that led to a debate on social media, with numerous Twitter users pointing out that Queen Bey, as a female performer, is expected to wear spectacular gowns and costumes, while Sheeran wore his usual concert attire of jeans and a t-shirt.
On Wednesday, Sheeran posted a screenshot of a headline about the controversy to his Instagram Stories, followed by an image of the shirt he wore during the performance with the caption “Swipe up to ‘get the look’. #dresstoimpress.”
He also joked that people should follow the @hoax1994 “for more of my amazing fashion choices.”
A photo of the pair began circulating on Twitter, with one user underlining the double standard between how male and female pop stars are expected to look onstage, offering a stark contrast.
The juxtaposition between the two stars’ outfits led to more comments pointing out the “ridiculous” difference between what’s expected for male and female artists.
However, not everyone shared that point of view. As another fan pointed out, Sheeran’s scruffy look and Beyonce’s glam represent their respective brands — which doesn’t really have anything to do with a double standard — while another user chided the author of the original post for “creating problems” when there really aren’t any there.