Jay-Z's 100th Problem
#WhatJayZSaidToSolange is the hash tag that circulated wildly on Twitter and many social networks once news broke that Solange Knowles, Beyonce's sister, appeared to attack Jay-Z on surveillance video in an elevator at the Standard Hotel, following the illustrious Metropolitan Museum Gala on May 5.
The question posed by many -- what could Jay-Z have possibly done to infuriate Solange so much so that she would physically attack him several times and require the restraint of security guards to hold her back -- has everyone speculating the wildest of stories.
But does it matter? Does it really matter what Jay-Z said? Since when does a verbal attack (if one even occurred here) warrant a physical attack? If the roles were reversed -- had Jay-Z attacked Solange in the elevator -- the question of what she said would carry little, if any weight. In fact, folks would be lining up to call for the immediate arrest of Jay-Z for attempted assault, battery, harassment, and even false imprisonment. But why isn't that the case here? Few, if any, have mentioned the word crime in association with what Solange is seen to have done on the tape. Is it because she hit him? Have we become de-sensitized to the image of women who throw punches and kicks? Is this now an acceptable way for a woman to deal with conflict, the new normal?
The memes that flew across social media poked fun at the attack. I even admit to reposting some of the memes, then stopped. I realized that there is a double standard when women assault men as opposed to when men assault women and it must end.
A woman who hits a man assaults that man. I am not, of course, talking about a woman protecting herself from imminent danger. If Jay-Z attacked Solange in that elevator, this would be an entirely different conversation. In fact, the NYPD would have staged an elaborate press conference and vowed to examine the tape to determine whether Jay-Z should be arrested for multiple charges. And of course, women's groups would have called for Jay-Z's head on a silver platter, much like the call for Chris Brown's head when he pummeled pop princess Rihanna beyond recognition.
Gender roles in America must be challenged at every turn. We chisel away at our credibility as a society if we send messages to girls and young women that it's okay to hit, kick, punch and fight to resolve conflict, but not send the same message to boys. We also lose credibility when we say that only women can be victims of assault. Consistency breeds credibility. A victim of assault is still a victim, despite whether the blows were inflicted by a man or a woman.
So let's call what Solange did to Jay-Z in that elevator what it is: a "crime."