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Solange encounters hostility at Kraftwerk concert, writes essay in response

on September 12, 2016, 6:15pm

Photo by Philip Cosores

Solange had a less than pleasant experience at a Kraftwerk concert in New Orleans over the weekend, one which she attributed to casual racism.

She attended the show as a family evening with her husband, 11-year-old son, and his friend to introduce the kids to a band “that played a pivotal role in the history of hip-hop.” In a series of tweets describing the incident, she explained that during one of her favorite Kraftwerk songs, “The Hall of Mirrors”, she and her son stood up to dance. Four “older white women” then yelled at her to “Sit down now,” to which she responded, “I’m dancing at a concert.” In response, one of the women threw a lime at her.

Nobody wants to be pelted with citrus during a Kraftwerk concert, but Solange noted that this incident was especially troubling given the color of her skin and the fact that the vast majority of concertgoers were white. One of the women who caused the disturbance told Solange she “was not the one who yelled those horribly, nasty things at you” — things which Solange says she didn’t even hear, but isn’t surprised were said. What’s more, the incident occurred immediately after a venue worker (who was black) came up to her son and his friend (again, they are 11) and told them to stop smoking e-cigs, even though it was the white men in front of them who were blowing the vapor.

In an essay she published yesterday on her Saint Heron website entitled “And Do You Belong? I Do”, she ties the incident into the “tone” often used to address people of color that makes them “feel uncomfortable in predominantly white spaces.” She asks her readers to put themselves in her shoes at that moment:

Imagine

You feel something heavy hit you on the back of your shoulder, but consider that you are imagining things because well….certainly a stranger would not have the audacity.

Moments later, you feel something again, this time smaller, less heavy, and your son and his friend tell you those ladies just hit you with a lime.

You look down only to see the half eaten lime on the ground below you.

You inhale deeply. Your husband calmly asks the group of women did they just throw trash at you. One woman says, ‘I just want to make it clear, I was not the one who yelled those horrible, nasty, things at you.'”

She then concludes:

“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.

Read the full essay here.

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