Solange Shares Essay About “Being A Minority In Predominantly White Spaces” After Harassment At Kraftwerk Concert

Solange Knowles is known for speaking her mind and calling out injustice, and today, she’s done both. On Friday night, while attending a Kraftwerk concert in New Orleans with her 11-year-old son, his friend, and her husband, the younger Knowles sister was reportedly harassed by a group of “four older white women.” According to Solange’s tweets, she was dancing to one of her favorite songs when the women “yell to me from behind, ‘Sit down now.’ I tell them I’m dancing at a concert. They yell, “you need to sit down now.” When she still didn’t sit down, they threw a lime at her back.

After tweeting about the incident yesterday, Solange has now shared an essay on “why black people are uncomfortable being in predominately white spaces” via her Saint Heron website. Entitled “And Do You Belong? I Do,” the piece begins by detailing the numerous micro- and macroaggressions she has experienced as a black woman. “You don’t feel that most of the people in these incidents do not like black people,” she writes, “but simply are a product of their white supremacy and are exercising it on you without caution, care, or thought.” She then gives some context about her personal connection to Kraftwerk and the rest of the night before sharing her account of the incident:

About 20 seconds later, you hear women yell aggressively, “Sit down now, you need to sit down right now” from the box behind you. You want to be considerate, however, they were not at all considerate with their tone, their choice of words, or the fact that you just walked in and seem to be enjoying yourself.

You are also confused as to what show you went to. This is a band that were pioneers of electronic and dance music. Surely the audience is going to expect you to dance at some point.

You were planning on sitting down after this song, as long as it wasn’t one of the four songs that you really connect with and plan on getting down to.

You feel something heavy hit you on the back of your shoulder, but consider that you are imagining things because well….certainly a stranger would not have the audacity.

Moments later, you feel something again, this time smaller, less heavy, and your son and his friend tell you those ladies just hit you with a lime.

You look down only to see the half eaten lime on the ground below you.

You inhale deeply. Your husband calmly asks the group of women did they just throw trash at you. One woman says, “I just want to make it clear, I was not the one who yelled those horrible, nasty, things at you.”

Loud enough for you to hear.

This leads you to believe they were saying things way worse than what you heard, but you are not surprised at that part one bit.

You’re full of passion and shock, so you share this story on Twitter, hands shaking, because you actually want these women to face accountability in some kind of way. You know that you cannot speak to them with out it escalating because they have no respect for you or your son, and this will only end badly for you and feel it’s not worth getting the police involved. So, you are hoping they will hear you this way.

You know when you share this that a part of the population is going to side with the women who threw trash at you. You know that they will come up with every excuse to remove that huge part of the incident and make this about you standing up at a concert “blocking someone’s view.”

You know that a lot of the media will not even mention the trash being thrown at you with your 11 year old son being present.

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.

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 do not care in that moment because you understand that many of your followers will understand and have been through this same type of thing many a times, and if it means them hearing you say it’s ok, you will rise again through out these moments, then it means something bigger to you.

You realize that you never called these women racists, but people will continuously put those words in your mouth.

What you did indeed say is, “This is why many black people are uncomfortable being in predominately white spaces,” and you still stand true to that.

You and your friends have been called the N word, been approached as prostitutes, and have had your hair touched in a predominately white bar just around the corner from the same venue.

She concludes with this:

After you think it all over, you know that the biggest payback you could ever had (after, go figure, they then decided they wanted to stand up and dance to songs they liked) was dancing right in front of them with my hair swinging from left to right, my beautiful black son and husband, and our dear friend Rasheed jamming the hell out with the rhythm our ancestors blessed upon us saying…We belong. We belong. We belong. We built this.

Read the full essay here, and find her tweets describing the incident — some of which have since been deleted — below.

Solange

Solange

Solange