By Attiya Karodia
The internet erupted within minutes of the video’s release, and subsequently sparked a flurry of memes and initiated countless discussions about why Solange Knowles would attack Jay Z the way she did in that elevator, and also, as to why Beyonce did not intervene. I received a message with the news, and then settled in at home to watch social media take off on yet another chaotic adventure into criticism, activism and absolute bad taste.
Fast forward to this morning when the jokes were for the most part over, and people were discussing at length whether the situation was really ever funny at all, and I don’t know where I stand, do you?
Some have said that Jay-Z is a gentleman because of his show of restraint and labelled Solange ‘ghetto’ and ‘ratchet’ for her actions, others (myself included to a degree) are more interested in the reason behind the attack, and view Solange as being rational enough to have a reason.
While a fair number of publications have decided to write about feminist double standards and domestic violence being inexcusable from either gender, my issue runs far deeper than that.
We live in a world (and continent) where murder, human trafficking, civil unrest, dictatorship, corruption, poverty and rape have ravaged our esteems and our lives from the inside out. Many of us know of a friend, relative or loved one affected by the worst of these, some of us have even had to face these brutalities first hand, but here we are, on our smartphones or computers, generating memes and chiming in on trending topics about far away celebs.
Is that not the height of self- induced ignorance and denial?
Social media is fickle in that it is a master of undressing our society to show off the worst parts of ourselves and the ways we choose to interact. For example, I tweeted last week about how skeptical I am about celebs and brands riding on the #BringBackOurGirls hashtag, because while there are a few that have shown genuine concern and support (and quite frankly, the more coverage and exposure the cause gets, the better, no matter how authentic it is), I hated that in a few weeks time, the world of social media, even in Africa, would forget about the kidnapped schoolgirls, and the Solange vs Jay Z is a testament to the state of our priorities.
Feminism aside, with issues like the kidnapped schoolgirls in Nigeria, and the causes that need our help closest to home that apparently aren’t worthy of a trending hashtag, is it really okay to turn a molehill, that is a domestic spat in a luxurious setting, into this mountain that overshadows the truth we’re surrounded by?