This past weekend, Solange tweeted about having half-eaten fruit thrown at her by white women while she was at a concert with her family. Now, she’s come out with an incredibly powerful essay about how this incident, and so many others, have made her feel as a black woman in the U.S. It’s extremely vulnerable and a reminder that we still very much have a problem with racism in our country.
Solange’s second person essay, “And do you belong? I do,” was published on Saint Heron, and it’s incredibly moving.
“Wrote about the tone, being a minority in predominately white spaces, & having trash thrown your way when u speak up… Graciously outlined this for those who believe this was about ‘not sitting down at a concert’…. Written with love for ALL people,” she explained on Instagram.
In the essay, she talks about oppression, and constant feelings of exclusion.
“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.'”
She wrote, too, about the risk she takes when she refuses to be silent.
“You are also fully aware, now that you use your platform consistently to speak out on social, racial, and feminist issues, that people who have no awareness of your work outside of gossip sites and magazines,” she wrote, “Some of which who are most likely voting for Donald Trump, have been starting to engage and/or target you in public and social media in regards to race.”
And how uncomfortable she’s felt in white spaces.
“And yes, having white people constantly call you the n word, or say you and your people are degenerates that need to leave America, or zoo like animals, surely does not help you feel more comfortable in predominately white spaces,” she wrote.
As Solange explained both in the essay and on Instagram, this has nothing to do with her hating white people, but is instead about raising awareness of the hurt she’s felt as a black woman in our country. If anything, our reaction shouldn’t be anything close to backlash, but simply: how can we be better?