Recently, Solange posted an essay on her personal website which left me wondering…a lot. The essay entitled, “And Do You Belong? I Do” allowed me to obtain a glimpse into her world for one day. A day in which she experienced some of the same things people of color undergo on a day to day basis. Perhaps it was my ignorance, but I never considered the fact that she would deal with the same instances I do because of her stature. Boy did she prove me wrong. Where most of us are lead to believe that money has the potential ability to allow people of color to become colorless, Solange exposed us to the fact that it is simply not true.
While attending a concert with her husband, son and friend, Solange experienced an obnoxious episode when a group of women seated a couple of rows behind her (in box seats) demanded that she sit down while dancing to her favorite song. When she failed to adhere to their demands, they attempted to demean her by throwing a lime at her; all this while before her adolescent son and his friend. Her essay further details a myriad of events wherein she was treated differently because of the color of her skin.
Solange’s detailed description of happenstance made me think of Colin Kaepernick and his manner of protesting by intentionally sitting during the National Anthem. Generally, individuals tend to believe those who are successful should not take a stand for certain things. Or, because they have been “afforded” certain successes (i.e. being in the NFL) they are not entitled to an opinion. Currently, individuals who once praised Kaepernick, now loathe him. They burn, spit and vow never to wear the blood red number 7 jerseys they once wore with pride; justifying their anger because of the fact that he was pulled from the depths of the slums by his Caucasian adoptive family. The family which gave him great opportunities and allowed him to obtain his place as an NFL Quarterback; nevermind the endless hours of practice and natural God given talent.
It is hard to place ourselves in the shoes of these celebrities and influencers. We fail to consider how their experiences are the same as ours simply because they live their lives differently.This essentially demonstrates that people of color, no matter how wealthy or their stature in society, may and eventually will experience some sort of bias and discrimination. Bow Wow and A$ap may think because they shop at the Beverly Center or Bergdorf that they cannot relate to the mass, however there will come a time and a place when they will experience it in some form or fashion.
We should question, whether individuals who believe as they do actually belong in our society…because that leaves those who fight the good fight in a place of limbo. If you are in the limelight and can not stand for people who experience discrimination because of who they are, what do you stand for …where do you belong? Because I know I belong here.