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Solange Knowles Writes Powerful Essay on Her Personal Experiences With Racial Discrimination

Creatures of Comfort - Front Row - September 2016 - New York Fashion Week
Ilya S. Savenok—Getty Images Solange Knowles attends the Creatures of Comfort fashion show during New York Fashion Week September 2016 at Industria Studios on September 8, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Ilya S. Savenok/Getty Images)

"The tone just simply says, 'I do not feel you belong here.'”

Solange Knowles wrote a thought-provoking essay about her experience with harassment at a popular German electronic dance music group Kraftwerk’s concert in New Orleans over the weekend.

Knowles had taken to Twitter to share an incident in which her family reported that a group of women threw a half-eaten lime at her, noting that she and her family were among a handful of audience members who were people of color at the concert space. Her story thus shared, Knowles then endured racist harassment on social media. In her essay, And Do You Belong? I Do on her website, Saint Heron, she elaborated on her experience.

“You hear women yell aggressively, ‘Sit down now, you need to sit down right now‘ from the box behind you,” Knowles wrote. “You want to be considerate, however, they were not at all considerate with their tone, their choice of words, or the fact that you just walked in and seem to be enjoying yourself. You are also confused as to what show you went to. This is a band that were pioneers of electronic and dance music. Surely the audience is going to expect you to dance at some point.”

Knowles also voiced her thoughts on misconceptions about her social media statements.

“You know when you share this that a part of the population is going to side with the women who threw trash at you. You know that they will come up with every excuse to remove that huge part of the incident and make this about you standing up at a concert ‘blocking someone’s view’…You realize that you never called these women racists, but people will continuously put those words in your mouth. What you did indeed say is, ‘This is why many black people are uncomfortable being in predominately white spaces,’ and you still stand true to that.”

Knowles goes on to provide additional examples of prejudice from being racially profiled on a train in Italy to hearing a racial epithet in her third grade classroom.

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