CelebrityPop Culture

Solange Knowles Writes Essay About Not Feeling Safe In “White Spaces”

On Friday night, Solange Knowles shared an uncomfortable encounter she and her family experienced while attending a concert in New Orleans, where they reside.

Solange, along with her husband, son and his friend, attended the Kraftwerk concert, which celebrates electronic and dance music. When they get to their seats, and Solange is standing up dancing, four older White women who are sitting behind her yell, “Sit down now, you need to sit down right now.”

The women then throw something at her…TWICE. The second time, Solange’s son and his friend tell her a lime was thrown.

READ: Solange Blasts ‘New York Times’ Pop Critic on Twitter!

The singer and deejay shared this experience on Twitter on Friday night. Over the weekend, she wrote an essay on her website, SaintHeron.com, about the tone of voice which is often used towards people of color when they are in White spaces.

She began her essay, writing, “The tone. It’s the same one that says to your friend, “BOY…. go on over there and hand me my bag” at the airport, assuming he’s a porter.

It’s the same one that tells you, “m’am, go into that other line over there” when you are checking in at the airport at the first class counter before you even open up your mouth.

It’s the same one that yells and screams at you and your mother in your sleep when you’re on the train from Milan to Basel “give me your passport NOW.” You look around to see if anyone else is being requested this same thing only to see a kind Italian woman actually confront the agents on your behalf and ask why you are being treated this way.

It’s the same tone that the officer has when she tells you your neighborhood is blocked for residents only as you and your friends drive home from a Mardi Gras parade, when you have a residents tag on your car. You’ve been in the car line for 10 minutes and watched them let every one else pass without stopping them at all.

It usually does not include “please.” It does not include “will you.” It does not include “would you mind,” for you must not even be worth wasting their mouths forming these respectable words. Although, you usually see them used seconds before or after you.”

She says the tone means, “I do not feel you belong here.”

Solange also shared how she knew sharing the story on Twitter would still have many people take the side of the women who threw things at her, the media would make no mention of her 11-year-old son being present and people would accuse her of calling the women racists, even though she never did.

She writes she is used to being in uncomfortable situations in White spaces since childhood.

The essay ends with her writing, “After you think it all over, you know that the biggest payback you could have 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.”


Photo Credit: SolangeMusic.com

Brittney Fennell

Brittney Fennell

Brittney is the Associate Editor of Jawbreaker and a writer who has goals to disrupt culture in ways unseen.