I live by a few rules, and those are always changing but one is constant. I never make my mind up about someone until I have actually met them in person and conversed with them to see what they’re about.
That said, I saw Solange in concert over the weekend and I didn’t meet her or converse with her. Her style when giving a concert can best be described as being a consummate host. She took the stage right on time (whereas we were twenty minutes late. SORRY), she made it a point to thank all of us for being there multiple times, and when someone offered a portrait they had painted of her at the end of the show, she held it up for all the crowd to see and encouraged those who consider themselves artists to keep doing what they’re doing (I will, Solange. Thank you). This is the opposite of diva behavior from someone who is admittedly image-conscious. At the beginning of the show she confessed she had just stepped off a plane from Costa Rica and had to rush on stage (“Don’t say nothing about my wig,” she playfully said through her lashes). She was charming, funny, charismatic, and the girl can sing. I left feeling like I got my money’s worth. I was a Solange admirer before, and I remain one after watching her almost castrate her brother-in-law with her heel.
What a coincidence that this media bomb explodes in our faces not two days after I see her on stage. Perhaps if I hadn’t seen her perform mere hours before the frenzy I wouldn’t have any opinion about said frenzy, but the reaction to this event may as well be The Day the Earth Stood Still. Everyone is talking about it.
So I just kind of wonder: why is everyone talking about it? That’s my opinion. I have no defense or quandary, I just don’t get why anyone gives a shit.
I know that our culture, globally, has become obsessed with sharing. We tweet, we post, we share, we blog (heyo!), and we have an overwhelming need to express our opinion. It’s easy to do. For example, I’m sitting in an room by myself, alone in my thoughts, with nothing but a smartphone and an internet connection. There’s no one to debate with, no one to share my opinion with, but I know the internet exists as an outlet for that, even if it probably won’t bring about productive conversation. We have become entitled. We share our thoughts flippantly and are surprised when our opinions are shunned or aren’t shared. This could not have been more clear when the security footage hit the internet.
I read updates on the sitch from Gawker and Jezebel. I try to read their comments section because most of the time I find the opinions I see there refreshingly informed and often funny, but what I saw this time were many lengthy soliloquies including things like, “He’s cheating.” “She’s violent.” “There’s no excuse for her behavior.” “Her sister should have intervened.” “Alcohol will make you violent.” “If a man did this, he wouldn’t have a career!” No one knows what really happened, so they need to fill in the cracks by inserting their own personal experiences, things they can relate to, or want to believe. There’s no need to make a public statement, Solange and Jay-Z, because everyone’s figured it out for you.
Why is their business our business? Why has it become our culture to become personally invested in the lives of people we have never met? Meeting them once isn’t knowing them, partying with them in the same room isn’t knowing them, reading US Weekly isn’t knowing them, etc.
When things like this happen, it shouldn’t be news. It’s barely gossip because no one knows the context. Imagine if someone came up to you and told this story inserting people you know. It would be a non story.
“And then Ethel came up and starting wailing on Sherman! She had to be held back!”
“Oh wow! Why, what happened?”
“Okay! Good talk.”
Fights happen. That’s the way some people work and the way some families work. Is that really so foreign to us? Had we been inundated so much by D.A.R.E. as preteens that we can’t comprehend that sometimes someone says something to piss someone else off so much that they want to hit them and then they actually do?
Is it acceptable? Who the fuck am I to say whether it’s acceptable? It’s not acceptable in my house, but then I’ve certainly thrown a shoe or two in a fit of rage before. I try my best, but I’m certainly not a zen person by nature. Who am I to judge? No one. I may tweet and blog, and people may agree with what I say or think it’s funny sometimes, but I am not the authority on anything and neither are Solange and Jay-Z, who are plagued daily by stalkers. I’m surprised they’re not more prone to violent episodes.
They say you should never meet your heroes, but I guess the same is true for the heroes meeting their fans. Behold the throng: half the people are demanding an explanation for behavior judged as inappropriate for myriad reasons, and the other half are clamoring to defend them. Sometimes things happen, and nobody is perfect, not even Beyoncé and her family, but what I took away from this is that we care way too much about blurry security footage. I didn’t see it as a reflection of the double standard of male-female abuse or alcohol abuse (take off your psychiatry hats, Kinja commenters). This is a window into the graffitied soul* of America, and like a smart mouthed teen from 1995, it says, “GET A LIFE.”
*Graffitied Soul would make a great band name