One particular thing has bothered me about the response to BeylevatorGate, the recording of Solange Knowles assaulting Jay Z in a hotel elevator last week. It is an idea, an insidious and implied idea. It can be seen in statements such as “Well we don’t know what happened” or “There’s no telling what Jay did,” and in the hashtag #WhatJaySaidToSolange, which speculates about what Jay Z said to cause Solange’s actions. These statements imply that something could have “happened” that justifies violence, but we’re not sure either way so we should reserve judgement. That idea is incredibly dangerous, particularly for black women, for whom domestic homicide is a leading cause of death.
In my opinion no one of any gender can do or say anything to “deserve” physical violence, and the only exception is if you are putting someone else’s safety at risk with violence, necessitating them to respond with violence in self-defense. Continue reading