Solange Knowles posted a powerful essay on Saint Heron on Monday following her experience at a Kraftwerk concert she attended with her son over the weekend, where she endured having a lime thrown at her by a group of white women after she was supposedly 'blocking' their view.
Following the concert incident, 30-year-old Knowles shared her experience on Twitter, commenting that like many times before, it was an example of how members of the African-American community do not feel safe in white spaces.
Predictably there was huge backlash with the usual trolls claiming she was simply "playing the race card".
Wrote about the tone, being a minority in predominately white spaces, & having trash thrown your way when u speak up https://t.co/QW7xow2106— solange knowles (@solangeknowles) September 11, 2016
In her essay, Knowles puts the incident into context by explaining how she and her husband made the Kraftwerk concert a "family Friday night" as it was a band they loved and "one that played a pivotal role in the history of hip-hop". But also, how expansion and being open to new experiences was something they wanted to instill in their 11-year-old son.
Using extreme detail, Knowles then explains how the incident unravelled from the women's tone and language and how it was a tone Knowles had grown used to, a tone that says "I do not feel you belong here."
"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.
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.
Many times the tone just simply says, "I do not feel you belong here."
Knowles goes on to explain her motive to share the experience on Twitter -- despite knowing a large chunk of the population will hit back -- refusing to acknowledge the situation was racially motivated.
"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."
She reflects on how her Tweet made headlines, and how "people of colors' 'spaces' are attacked every single day, but many will not be able to see it that way".
"The statement you made makes headlines funny enough just days after it comes to light that Air China warns their flyers not to go into Indian, Pakastani, or Black neighborhoods in order to stay safe, while Texas schools are fighting to have textbooks calling Mexicans "lazy" removed from classrooms, and while Native Americans are doing everything they can possibly to to protect their sacred land from an oil pipeline being built on graves of their descendants. You know that people of colors' "spaces" are attacked every single day, but many will not be able to see it that way."
Before using the aftermath of her tweets as well as her own primary school experience to explain the way casual racism drives the very foundation of such "white spaces".
"You read headlines that say, "Solange feels uncomfortable with white people," and want to use the classic "I have many white friends" or "Half of my wedding guests were white" line to prove that you do not dislike white people but dislike the way that many white people are constantly making you feel. Yet you know no amount of explaining will get you through to this type of person in the first place.
You have lived a part of your life in predominately white spaces since you were a kid and even had your 3rd grade teacher tell you "what a nigger is" in front of your entire white class. You watched your parents trying to explain why this was wrong to her and learned then it can be virtuously impossible to get your point across."
Knowles ends the piece by saying despite her family having to witness such inhumane behaviour that night, the biggest payback 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 Knowles' full essay, "And Do You Belong? I Do".