TIME feminism

Even MacArthur Geniuses Love Beyoncé

Author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie wonders why the world has decided that a woman celebrating her sexuality is a bad thing

The feminist who inspired Beyoncé may have just provided the perfect argument against the singer’s haters. Nigerian author and MacArthur fellow Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, who’s most recent book Americanah just won a National Book Critics Circle award, spoke to NPR’s Michele Martin in a wide-ranging interview that touched on the nuances of feminism in the West, Nigeria’s anti-gay laws and her love of fashion.

But the most fascinating part of the interview comes when Martin asks the author’s opinion of Beyoncé, who famously sampled Adichie’s viral TED talk “We Should All Be Feminists” in her song “***Flawless.” Martin points out that the singer is often criticized for celebrating her sexuality while calling herself a feminist at the same time. Adichie provides a pitch perfect response that’s exceptional not only because it’s void of the usual celebrity gushing, but still perfectly reasoned.

I think that anything that gets young people talking about feminism is a very good thing. I also think that I have a problem with the idea of feminism as being some sort of exclusive party that someone gets to decide whether you can come, and also the idea that somehow a woman who is comfortable with her sexuality, that there’s something wrong with that.

The accomplished Adichie declines to confirm whether new “It” girl Lupita Nyong’o will star in the movie adaptation of Americanah, but reveals that the actress “is probably going to option” the book. Her previous novel, Half of a Yellow Sun, was made into a movie last year starring Nyong’o’s 12 Years a Slave co-star, Chiewetel Ejiofor.

MORE: Flawless: 5 Lessons in Modern Feminism From Beyoncé

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