Solange Knowles is a ‘proud black feminist’ who wants to feel intersectionality

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I’ve never heard of this magazine, BUST, but here’s their latest cover. Solange Knowles rocks her natural hair and two of the bushiest eyebrows I’ve ever seen in my life. Unlike my bangs-hatred freak flag, which I fly proudly, I actually try to tamp down my dislike of unkempt brows. I know big brows are in style these days and the trend is against hyper-groomed brows. But I feel like Bust went out of their way to make Solange’s brows look like crazy caterpillars are on her face. Still, it’s a minor quibble and I know I’m in the minority with my gut-reaction of “take care of your brows, ladies!” stance. Anyway, Solange talked to Bust about black feminism, intersectionality and more.

What feminism means to her: “I am a proud black feminist and womanist and I’m extremely proud of the work that’s being done. I’m a feminist who wants not only to hear the term intersectionality, but actually feel it, and see the evolution of what intersectional feminism can actually achieve. I want women’s rights to be equally honored, and uplifted, and heard…but I want to see us fighting the fight for all women — women of color, our LGBTQ sisters, our Muslim sisters. I want to see millions of us marching out there for our rights, and I want to see us out there marching for the rights of women like Dajerria Becton, who was body slammed by a cop while she was in her swimsuit for simply existing as a young, vocal, black girl. I think we are inching closer and closer there, and for that, I am very proud.”

Growing up in a house of women.“I grew up in a house with five women. My mother, my sister B [Beyoncé], Kelly actually moved in with us when I was five. And my other — I also consider [her] my sister, but she’s actually my first cousin, Angie — she moved in with us when I was 13. So this household was all women’s work. Literally. And there was absolutely nothing that couldn’t be done between us. My father was super smart and brilliant and instilled many wonderful qualities in us, but my mother was really the heart and soul of the family.”

[From Time]

I believe that about Tina Knowles-Lawson. While Mathew Knowles had the drive and the forethought to make his daughters into stars, I don’t think Bey and Solange have a great relationship with their dad at this point. Tina has always been there for them, she’s always been their quiet strength behind-the-scenes. As for what Solange says about feminism and intersectionality… word. The story about Dajerria Becton still upsets me. The video of the cop pinning down and assaulting a black child in a bikini for no reason still fills me with rage.

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Cover courtesy of Bust, additional photos by WENN.

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73 Responses to “Solange Knowles is a ‘proud black feminist’ who wants to feel intersectionality”

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  1. slowsnow says:

    I made the horrible mistake (or not) of clicking on the link for the video of Dajerria Becton and I am shaking with rage. I can barely type.
    I was going to say something about the outlandish beauty of Solange but I just can’t. What went down? What did she do to deserve such treatment? What, what what, what…? WHY?

    • Hashtagwhat says:

      I just watched it too. And now I remember that I’ve watched it before. And now I feel sick all over again. Cannot believe this man is not facing charges.

      • slowsnow says:

        He ISN’T??? WTF?

      • Hashtagwhat says:

        I could be wrong but I’m pretty sure the Texas grand jury declined to indict him. He did, however, resign after his bosses called his actions that day “out of control”. So he’s no longer on duty which means he can’t technically terrorize anyone anymore, at least not with a badge, but still. Here’s hoping her lawsuit is successful.

      • slowsnow says:

        Yes, I hope her lawsuit goes through. And I am glad he is no longer a cop. He was unhinged.

      • chisey says:

        you’re right, he wasn’t charged:

        As for what prompted it, I think she was at a pool party, and the neighbors felt it was too loud and called the police. I guess there was also an argument between one of the teens (not the girl who was attacked) and a neighbor woman where the neighbor may have said something racist. There is absolutely no reason a cop should pull out his gun and tackle a teenaged girl in response to a pool party, no matter how loud it was. I agree that it’s completely outrageous that the police officer wasn’t charged.

  2. QQ says:

    YOOOOUUUU -uuuu got The light Count all joooo-ooooyy oh oh oh ohhh
    YOooo-uuuuu Got the Right To Be maaaddddd ( COME ON SISTREN, Join ME in This Seat at the Table sing-a-long)

    • Lucy says:

      I started singing along, no joke.

    • Hashtagwhat says:

      QQ, your comments ALWAYS makes me smile.

    • Tata says:

      I listen to this album over and over because it gives me life!

    • Sadezilla says:

      Solange’s personal style is wonderful. I haven’t gotten into A Seat at the Table, but I will check it out!

    • senna says:

      no shade to Beyonce, whose total work of art Lemonade deserves every bit of praise, but her album doesn’t entice me to sing along (in the white person self-censored version) for EVERY SINGLE SONG in the way that Solange’s A Seat at the Table does. I’ve listened to it about 50 times this year and I’m not tired of it.

      I think her eyebrows look really pretty here, too.

      • Darlene says:

        I LURVE “A Seat at the Table.” It should have been nominated for Album of the Year.

  3. Lucy says:

    Love her. And her eyebrows.

    • Kitten says:

      Her eyebrows are fantastic. That cover is beautiful–Fierce Earth Goddess.

      Intersectionality is a topic that comes up a lot among friends and it’s clear that we are still learning, still trying to avoid the white feminist trappings. Grateful to women like Solange and others who welcome the chance to educate and extoll.

    • Original T.C. says:

      I am a member of the thick eye brows hater club (still can’t stand British Model Cara D. and her angry brows), and I usually hate Solange’s eyebrows but I love the cover. It looks like an art painting. Good on her for continuing to speak out about Black feminism and intersectional feminism. We are greater forced combined than in fractured groups.

      • TwistBarbie says:

        While I think it looks weird when women draw on really thick brows, some women naturally have thick brows. Can we not celebrate their thick-browed beauty without telling them they need to pluck? I also really hate the word “bushy” for thick brows. Bushy is old men with big fuzzy things that stick out half an inch from their face. Bold but silky brows are not “bushy”

      • slowsnow says:

        I love thick eyebrows but I find it really hard to adhere to the ‘sharpie’ eyebrow, usually the wrong colour for the person and supposedly ‘looking real’ when, for me it just looks like my 7 year old son drew them.
        However, I find it beautiful here. In person it must look awful but for the photo, it works.
        And I try to be more open regarding the sharpie ones. To no avail up until now, but I’ll keep trying.

  4. detritus says:

    they didn’t even bother to draw them on evenly, one is so much larger than the other. solange deserves better brows, although the rest of this look is impeccable.

  5. Nene says:

    after the video of he hitting jay-z, i cant stand her

    • Rose says:

      Haha, i like her even more for that

      • Babs says:

        haha, me too (though I like Jay but everybody needs a touch of reality sometimes and he seems very out of touch)

      • Leslie says:

        Assault is not acceptable. It doesn’t matter who is doing the assaulting or how shady the person getting assaulted is. Assault is never acceptable.

    • jerkface says:

      For real? LMAO
      I like Jay too but its not like he isn’t a shady mf who probably does need his azz kicked by a woman he can’t make disappear….

      • KLO says:

        I agree jerkface, Jay is talented and all and probably very charming, but to me there is something SO smug and off-putting about him, especially after Beyonce came out with the Lemonade album. He makes my skin crawl.

        And after the Lemonade album I feel like Solanges attack on him was FULLY justified. Its not like she could have done him any actual physical harm.

        Just today I was thinking that maybe in 5 years, when the twins have been born and not babies anymore, Bey will leave him. And it will have been good thinking from her to have all her babies with one guy. It is easier on the kids that way.

    • Otaku Fairy says:

      Don’t feel too bad for Jay- there was some video of him a while ago from the 90’s of him smacking some girl (I don’t remember if she was a fan or a paparazzi). So while nobody should be assaulting anybody (obv), it is kind of funny how many of the people who complained about Solange getting away with assaulting him as a sort of ‘this-is-what’s-wrong-with-feminism!’ statement are pretty quiet about that. If he can be forgiven by the public, she should be too.

      • Craven says:

        Its not him smacking her. Its him holding hand as if threatening to smack her. If Solange had only raised her hand in a threat, THEN it woukd be an even comparison. She attacked him. Using first her hard clutch bag on his head and then her stilletoes around his groin. As a feminist, it is in my interest seek equal treatment in ever scenerio. If Jay Z had attacked her with weapons, aiming for her head and groin, he would have faced charges regardless of whether or not she was a willing witness. We want violence against women taken seriously? We must hold women to the same standards, no passes and no suddenly accepting that we are “the weaker sex” just because it suits us in that situation. Thats what Grown Woman Feminism looks like.

      • Otaku Fairy says:

        It doesn’t look like he just threatened to hit her in the video. Although now that I’m looking at the video, it doesn’t look like he really smacked her in the face, it looks like he hit and shoved the kid.

  6. Hikaru says:

    I am old enough to remember the word intersectional meaning the experience of being a black lesbian woman. Now it has been appropriated to the point of meaning anything at all and black lesbians have been pushed to the side by straight feminists and men in drag all over again.

    • detritus says:

      this is interesting, i didn’t know that was the genesis of the term. i thought it meant the intersection of racial justice and feminist issues.

      • Hikaru says:

        Black lesbians were talked over by black men because to them black people meant the concerns of black men only, by female feminists who didn’t care about black female experience, and by straight (and recently bisexual) black feminists who don’t give a f about lesbians.

        Today the term is not only appropriated but it is actively used to silence black lesbians speaking because the black female homosexuality is “not inclusive enough” of males and straight women.

      • detritus says:

        ugh, that sounds pretty horrible, but thank you for elaborating on it, we need to know where we came from. I’m a little later to the party than some, and i didn’t know this history. I find society as whole is significantly more accepting of gay men than of lesbians, of bi women than bi men, and I don’t really know why. I have guesses that have to do with the urge to please men and perceived level of threat, but i might be stretching.

        i’m finding one major division in feminist thought right now, with one side being for inclusiveness of vulnerable communities, vs those for inclusiveness of the masses in totality. HeforShe and those type of initiatives, they always seem to end in tone policing and ‘think about the mens’.

        I have a hard time reconciling the two opposing ideas. I know we need people to understand and get ‘woke’, for lack of a better term, but I hate that resources for support are being used to make pablum of feminism so fragile egos can handle it.

    • adastraperaspera says:

      I agree that there is a danger that the power of the idea of intersectionality may become watered down when used by people who are unaware of the history of the concept. Many women of color worked hard to gain visibility and respect for the complexities of their lived experience, and for some this complexity was called “intersectionality.” I would recommend that anyone interested in understanding intersectionality start by reading “This Bridge Called My Back” by Cherrie Moraga and Gloria Anzaldua, published in 1981. bell hooks also gives lectures on the importance of intersectional activism, which you should be able to find on youtube.

    • Sixer says:

      My understanding is that the term intersectionality was coined by legal scholar Kimberle Crenshaw, who critiqued single axis equality/anti-discrimination legislation as creating legal fictions which actually enforced structural inequality.

      Specifically that black women could not win suits for employment discrimination because firms employed both black people (who were men) and women (who were white). Her paper Mapping the Margins, I think, is available online.

      Of course the term and its usage has evolved since then and continues to evolve as our understanding of structural inequality grows.

      • detritus says:

        Thank you Sixer, the Crenshaw article is powerful. I’m honestly surprised it took until 1991 for this to be studied and described.

      • Sixer says:

        She’s a fabulous scholar. I went to a lecture of hers given in London a couple of years back. I think it’s interesting that the term was coined in relation to legal frameworks by Crenshaw but, as above, people like bell hooks had already been expressing the concept in as many words. If you do read any hooks, you’ll see that she makes a constant emphasis on including not just race and gender but also class (she’s an anti-capitalist).

        In online discourse, I do think intersectionality as a concept has morphed into describing self expression and identity or the impact of prejudices against individuals along multiple axes, but I confess I’m much more interested in it when it is used to describe structuring forces of inequality – legal frameworks, institutions, etc. Because if intersectionality impact assessments were applied to policies, legislation and institutions, we’d see a much better world.

    • Sadezilla says:

      Thanks for bringing this up. Marginalized groups need to be recognized in feminism.

    • Angel says:

      Lesbians do tend to shunted aside in the latest intersectionality.

    • Ange says:

      Men in drag?

  7. What says:

    And people care what this nobody says because ?
    And how quick we forgot she’s an abusive asshole, I mean if she was a man that elevator video would it be forgiven..

    • Kitten says:

      Yes men have it so hard these days.

      • What says:

        So not what I meant, but why do people think she’s so awesome now? She’s just an abusive person and it was caught on video.
        I don’t respect anyone like that.

      • me says:

        @ What

        You have a point. If that was a man beating a woman on an elevator, we’d never want to see him or hear from him again.

      • Otaku Fairy says:

        Why aren’t you equally outraged about Jay-Z being an abusive asshole by assaulting a female fan in the 90’s?

    • Babs says:

      False equivalence. Like you worry about Jay-Z. Even Julius wasn’t too worried about him, lol

    • Sally says:

      Word. That video showed that she’s abusive, and seems somewhat mentally unhinged. I don’t understand why it’s justified because she’s Beyonce’s sister?

      • jerkface says:

        Got it. You’re going with the crazy woman/ angry black woman narrative.
        And thats something she/we is/are fighting against.
        You saw part of a video out of context. Jay has missing ex lovers and there are videos of him cold slapping women.

      • Sally says:

        There’s no narrative. I’d apply the same words to Emma Roberts, Mel Gibson, or Chris Brown. Speaking as someone who grew up around abuse, I’m not quick to praise someone who has video footage of them physically attacking another person.

        And Jay Z’s misogynistic and abusive behavior doesn’t undermine her own abusive behavior.

      • jerkface says:

        Sally, sorry for your past. Truly. But ONE unexplained incident caught on video where you did NOT see the before or after of does NOT constitute abusive behavior nor does it give you adequate capability to claim or show proof of this woman or anyone being mentally unhinged as you said.

        There are multiple videos of Jay being a sincere pig, he has ex lovers that have turned up dead after they made claims against him, he is suspected of fathering secret children, and has a long history of slinging drugs to his own people in the projects. Solange has no such history.

        The mentally unhinged comment 100% lends to the crazy woman and/or angry black woman narrative that as a woman who has sen abuse should absolutely be fighting against. Do you realize how many women who are the victims of abuse are called crazy and mentally unstable when they try to prosecute their abusers or fight back in self defense.

        This woman is fighting for acceptance in the feminist community for these reasons and as a female I will fight for her inclusion and against casual use of the “crazy” label I’m seeing right now. Mel Gibson she is NOT, my sister. No.

      • Kitten says:

        Everything Jerkface said.

      • Craven says:

        Jerkfaces second paragraph is made of lies.

        Her third paragraph justifies the abuse of men and actually undermines womens fights for equality.

        Her fourth paragraph is ok. I have no problem with Solange calling herself feminist. If I recall correctly, she denounced her stupid abusive behavior. If I am mistaken and she didnt, then she is no feminist. I do not agree with labelling abusers as “crazy”. It strips them of responsibility and stigmatizes people with mental illness who are non violent. The correct word for her would be “abuser”, not “crazy”.

        Finally, I wonder how some of you live your lives that you actually defend the assault of another because they are male or you dont like them. I hope you are not mini Solanges, attacking the men in your lives and expecting to get a pass because “you are only a girl”. If you are, stop it. Thats gross on too many levels to count.

      • jerkface says:

        Craven? My second paragraph is made of lies? hahaha that is adorable
        Is Jay telling lies when he is rapping about selling drugs?
        And did you just accuse us of being abusers? So cute 🙂
        Nice reading comprehension fail in your critique of my comment. How does calling out the narrative of angry/ crazy black woman advocate for the abuse of men or undermine feminism? It simply does not. In fact none of what you said has any basis in actual reality. I don’t think you are able to efficiently participate in any discussion with me about anything. You would need to understand what is written and you can’t.

      • Reign true says:

        Exactly my sentiments! Equal rights encompasses speaking and respect in lieu of

    • Almondjoy says:

      Solange won a Grammy for an album that spoke deeply to the black woman’s experience but because she’s a nobody to YOU, what she says about feminism doesn’t matter. Got it.

      These are two different subjects. A person can lose their cool when defending a sibling and also speak about feminism and intersectionality.

    • jerkface says:

      Except for that NFL player who still has a career after knockings wife out on video in an elevator.

  8. tealily says:

    I used to love Bust and read it all the time. It’s one of the only magazines I’ve ever subscribed to. But I felt like I aged out of it when I hit 30 or so. I don’t know if it changed or if I changed, but it was a really good (feminist) read back in the day!

    • Tata says:

      I used to subscribe too and I also feel like I aged out?

      lately I follow feminists I like on fb, like Ijeoma Oluo who writes for the establishment, where I periodically donate. I really appreciate her points of view on issues like transphobia, fatphobia, islamophobia, rachel dolezal, the racism of Dr Seuss, painting her son’s nails, etc.

      What she writes feels really well thought out and truly intersectional to me.

  9. me says:

    Tina kept both her married names? The new husband I can see, but the last one…he cheated, had a love child. I’d want to erase that last name lol.

    • tealily says:

      I can understand wanting to retain the same last name as your children, especially when you/they are in the public eye.

      • KLO says:

        yeah, and she has had the name for so long. I think she thinks she has “earned” it. Like Tina Turner had “earned” her name.

  10. coconut says:

    Solange’s brows are thick and prominent, not unkempt. The thick, prominent and stylized brow is in right now, though I think often not flattering. I liked advice I read years ago that your eye makeup (and I would add brows) should enhance and draw attention to your *eyes*, not to the makeup (or the brows).

    • Otaku Fairy says:

      I don’t like really thick, stark eyebrows like this or like Lilly Collins and Cara Delevigne, but I don’t like overly-groomed, super-thin, drawn-on eyebrows either. I try to keep mine somewhere in the middle.