Solange Knowles is a huge talent, but following an unfortunate experience at a Kraftwerk concert in New Orleans over the weekend she’s penned an essay about the hostility which made her feel uncomfortable at that gig and in other “predominantly white spaces”.
Solange attended the concert with her 11-year-old son, his friend and her husband, and during the event she tweeted about being told to sit down by four older white women, and having a lime thrown at her family. At the event she said her family made up four of about 20 total black people out of a crowd of 1,500 or more.
Following backlash she copped on Twitter as a result of her tweets, Solange penned an essay titled And Do You Belong? I Do to better explain herself. In it, she starts by addressing a number of situations where black people are still made to feel uncomfortable in positions where white privilege is still rampant, including examples such as being assumed to be a porter at an airport or hotel, and being told to leave the first class check-in line before being able to explain that she has a first class ticket.
She then goes on to write about the sadness and frustration which consumed her during the Kraftwerk concert. Starting with a venue attendant assuming that her 11-year-old son is smoking even though it was two white men standing in front of them, to having women yelling at her to sit down rather than simply asking, to the disbelief at having a lime thrown at her in the family’s box seats.
Following that, the essay addresses the problematic nature of how the media reports on white artists compared to black artists, and Solange speculates, “You feel that the headline would be ‘XYZ Goes To A Concert And Gets Trash Thrown At Them,’ if it were some of your other non-black peers in the industry.”
Solange says she thought twice about the response that her essay would receive in the press. “You constantly see the media having a hard time contextualizing black women and men as victims every day, even when it means losing their own lives. You realize that you never called these women racists, but people will continuously put those words in your mouth.”
She also clarifies that she doesn’t feel as if these situations are necessarily a result of people being racist, but rather a product of the societal and learned behaviours in people’s upbringing.
“You don’t feel that most of the people in these incidents do not like black people, but simply are a product of their white supremacy and are exercising it on you without caution, care, or thought,” she writes.
Check out some of the tweets that Solange posted in real time below, and her full essay right here.