Solange Knowles taught her older sister Beyoncé to speak her mind, and she's now schooling us all on the myth of the angry Black woman.
The fashion icon and singer vented on Twitter about the misogynoir — or the intersection of racism and sexism — she encountered at a Kraftwerk concert she attended with her 11-year-old son Julez and her husband Alan Ferguson.
The trio, and one of Julez's friends, were four of roughly 20 Black concert attendees, according to Knowles. The 30-year-old tweeted that four white women chided them for standing — during a concert. It's standard concert behavior, but these women felt comfortable telling Knowles to "sit down now."
The "Sol-Angel and the Hadley St. Dreams" singer also claimed the women threw a lime at her. Knowles chose to take the high road by not retorting at the rude ladies.
She also used the moment to educate her 2.4 million Twitter followers about how these deeply-racial incidents rebuke the idea that Black people, especially Black women, are confrontational.
Knowles deleted most of her original tweets, but elaborated on the incident in an essay for Saint Heron, her platform for showcasing musicians and cultural commentators.
She said that her son and his friend also encountered a concert venue attendant who believed they were smoking at the concert, simply because they're Black boys:
"...A 'No electronic cigarettes allowed, you need to stop doing that now!'" Knowles wrote. "You are too into the groove and let your husband handle it and tell the attendant that the children are 11 years old, and it’s actually the two grown white men in front of you guys who were smoking them. You are annoyed and feel it's extremely problematic that someone would challenge their innocence, but determined to stay positive and your husband has handled this accordingly."
Unfortunately, Knowles has experienced a number of similar incidents in her life. She detailed a few of them in her powerful "And Do You Belong?" essay in an effort to reveal why many Black people feel uncomfortable in predominantly-white spaces.
"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 wrote.
Knowles also said she's been targeted for raising awareness about social and racial issues. All of this shows that no matter how rich and famous a Black woman is, racism and sexism will still linger and rear its ugly head from time to time.
Above all else, Knowles brilliantly explained why anger is a justifiable emotion for Black women.
"Let me tell you about why Black girls/women are so angry," Knowles said in her first tweet. She is insisting that Black women are upset for good reason: The angry Black woman myth has been used to police Black women for centuries.
In her book "Sister Citizen: Shame, Stereotypes, and Black women in America," political scientist Dr. Melissa Harris-Perry said being a Black woman in America is like attempting to stand up straight in a crooked room.
"African-American women are standing in a room skewed by stereotypes that deny their humanity and distort them into ugly caricatures of their true selves," she wrote in the book. "Bombarded with warped images of their humanity, some women tilt and bend themselves to fit the distortion."So, Black women are often depicted as "shrill, loud, argumentative, irrationally angry, and verbally abusive," according to the former MSNBC host.
Yet, as Knowles points out, these are gross mischaracterizations. Black women are entitled to their anger, especially when it's provoked by white folks. Rather than dwelling in her anger, however, Knowles decided to immerse herself in joy — just as her ancestors intended:
"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."