The Root: 5 Reasons We All Fawned Over Solange's Wedding Photos

  Beautifully Black & In Love

Last week was hard for black women. Kim Kardashian’s bare ass—and all the white privilege it represents—was everywhere you scrolled, an unintentional attempt to fulfill the directive on the cover of Paper magazine: Break the Internet.

Whether you thought her flaunting her big bottom was exceptionally vulgar or artistic homage, you knew that whatever it was, you couldn’t get away with it. Black girls get scolded and shamed for flaunting their bodies. Kardashian does it and literally gets put on a pedestal (she’s standing on one on the Paper cover).

We needed a pick-me-up. Something with some class, some creativity we could get behind. We didn’t need a reminder that black is beautiful (and not just when the attributes show up dipped in white), so much as we just needed an immediate counterexample to Kardashian’s ass-out imagery. I mean, there has to be some balance.

Come through, Mrs. Solange Knowles-Ferguson. The quirky fashionista, singer and songwriter has always marched to a very different beat from her pop-star sister and everyone else, too. And her wedding day was a reflection of that, just as everyone expected, once the blogs broke the news that the younger Knowles would marry over the weekend. We were all expecting something unique. But Solange and her new husband, videographer Alan Ferguson, took their celebration to epic status.

Here are the top five reasons social media is swooning, fawning and “Yaaassssing!” over Solange’swedding photos.

1. Solange looked amazing.


From her fluffed-out ‘fro on her big day (yes, big hair is special-occasion hair) to her array of caped cream one-pieces, including a to-die-for Stephane Rolland jumpsuit, Solange served up hippie goddess and superhero chic with futuristic flair. She showed enough curves to let you know she was a woman, and covered enough for you to know she was a lady, too.

2. Everyone looked amazing.


If you’ve ever been to a white party, you know that folks can get that dress code mandate very right—and very wrong, too. Also, someone always goes rogue on the color restrictions. Solange’s guests came through fierce, on theme—and covered. (In the group picture that features 12 women, there are just two sets of knees exposed.)

“Black people in white look like little black angels,” The Real Housewives of Atlanta’s Phaedra Parks once observed. And you know what? She was right. Some sort of award should go to Tina Knowles, who stunned as the mother of the bride with a plunging neckline and svelte waistline. And there should be an honorable mention for Jay Z, the dutiful brother-in-law, whose perfectly tailored cream suit looked straight off the cover of GQ.

3. Black love abounds (at every age).


The Knowles women exemplified black love on Solange’s big day. Of course there were the newlyweds, Solange and Alan (he looks a full two decades younger than his actual age, 51, and looked “crazy in love”). Big sis Beyoncé was escorted by her family: husband Jay Z and their adorable fluffy-haired mini, Blue Ivy, who was pictured on her mother’s hip as the family exited the church. Mama Knowles was accompanied by her very fine, gray-bearded beau, actor Richard Lawson, whose hat she held in multiple pictures.

4. She did it her way.


It’s clear that Solange didn’t follow the rules, and the results were amazing. From Solange and husband-to-be riding a bike to the ceremony, to her wedding pants; unconventional group wedding photos, taken by Rog Walker (and seemingly inspired by Italian artist Vanessa Beecroft); and regal, floor-length, cream Kenzo wedding gown with two simple gold Lady Grey cuffs, Solange went totally left, and it came out right.

5. It gave us all a little hope.

Screen Shot 2014-11-19 at 4.17.15 PM


You can hardly scroll through an essay on relationships or black women without stumbling across a stat about how we never marry, or a line bashing single moms. But here is Solange, a divorced mom of one, finding love—and locking it down—a second time around, and with a husband who gazes at her adoringly. Then there’s rapper Jay Z, once the poster boy for black bachelors, lovingly carting around his daughter in his arms with his wife by his side. People grow up. It’s beautiful to bear witness ... sort of. (Instagram counts.)


Read the full story: here 


Solange Knowles: Jay-Z's100th Problem? (Not Really)

Jay-Z, Beyonce' & Solange exit The Standard hotel after the "elevator incident". Remember three years ago when Beyoncé revealed her pregnancy from the stage of the 2011 MTV Music Video Awards? It set a then-record for Twitter with 8,868 tweets per second. If my personal social media timelines from yesterday are any indication, I’m going to guess the recent Carter-Knowles melee tops that.

Don’t act like you don’t know what I’m talking about. Yesterday TMZ—which, with stories about Donald Sterling and Columbus Short, has been on a roll with breaking news lately—released video footage that showed Solange Knowles, younger sister to pop superstar Beyoncé Knowles-Carter,wailing on her sister’s husband, rapper Jay Z, like she was some sort of “Mortal Kombat” character. On what had to be the longest elevator ride ever, Solange went off on her brother-in-law, slapping and punching and even kicking him multiple times. Ever-present bodyguard to the Carters Julius De Boer got a run for his money as he repeatedly attempted to restrain Solange.

So many people are talking about this video as if it’s the most scandalous event ever, but really it’s just an embarrassing family matter made public, and it shows cracks in the facade of Jay Z and Beyoncé’s picture-perfect life—sort of. The Carters didn’t do anything wrong here; Solange did.

As disappointing as it is to see a person lose control that way, she’s getting a huge pass from many viewers. Not because she has a history of physically going off—though, given her sister’s and brother-in-law’s unshocked reactions, she may. It’s just that Solange has always been the fired-up, keep-it-real one in the Knowles clan. Because of her personal “brand” of sorts, her antics aren’t so far-fetched, and the assumption is that Jay Z must have done something to “make” her flip on him, even if no mature adult thinks an assault was the best way to handle being angry.

Jay Z and Beyoncé are entirely in the clear here. Despite being assaulted, Jay Z only defends his person and leaves the literal heavy lifting to the bodyguard. He’s receiving some social media roasting about his “100th problem” (Solange), but his brand as a mature, urban sophisticate remains intact, and he won’t be losing any endorsements.

Beyoncé is unscathed as well, even if her reaction to her sister going ballistic on her husband is just ... strange. She mostly just stands there doing just about nothing. I certainly didn’t expect her to fight her sister, but it isn’t until the third time Solange kicks Jay Z that Beyoncé stands between them. And even then, she still looks unbothered, taking the time to fiddle with her dress as she acts like a human shield.

It’s a weird, if noble, reaction, but I guess that’s about what can be expected from a woman who has been on the receiving end of a long-running joke about her being a robot. (The rumors are officially confirmed.) No, but seriously, how many times does your sister attack your husband and you react like it’s nothing?

We’ll never know.

Read more on The Root 

The Root: Beyoncé Can Do Whatever She Wants

beyonce-jayyy UPDATE: In the hours since this post was originally published yesterday, British newspaper UK Metro referred to America's Queen of  Pop as "Whore Beyonce'" for Sunday night's Grammy performance.

C'mon, son. It was a risque performance, no doubt. Extra? Perhaps. Sexy? Yes, gawd!  But for Yeezus's sake, she's a pop star.  This is pretty much in the job description and compared to say, Miley Cyrus at the 2013 VMA's, it was pretty tame. Let's be reasonable here. A married woman grinded on and writhed  for her husband. Miley Cyrus twerked, wagged her tongue, rubbed someone else's ass, humped a "We're #1" fan sign then bent over in front of someone else's husband and didn't even get called a whore.

A whore?!

Over on My Black Baby, writer Denene Millner was rightfully fit to be pissed over the w-word. She wrote:


Now mind you, these are the same people who would turn a blind eye to racist “art” depicting a white woman using a naked Black woman as a chair and applaud Miley Cyrus using Black women’s asses as props in a bizarre, crotch-grabbing, chicken-twerk dance at the VMAs, but have a conniption when Beyonce straddles her phatty across a chair and sings about making love to her husband. They’re the same people, too, who would giggle about how adorbs Justin Beiber looks in his DUI mugshot but would nod their heads furiously in agreement when fellow Tweeters call pro NFL player Richard Sherman a thug and ape and nigger for expressing his emotion after a game-changing play that sent his team to the Super Bowl. And you best be clear that these same people probably wouldn’t have said a peep when a major media outlet referred to then-9-year-old Quvenzhane Wallisas a cunt on the biggest night of her life, but probably had to be buried, resurrected and given a bushel of throat lozenges to get over seeing Janet Jackson’s boob tassle in the 2004 Super Bowl halftime show. Did any of those women call Pink a whore for showing off her Brazilian bikini wax during her splits and sexy curtain twirling at Sunday’s Grammy performance? No?

See the pattern?

I’ll tell you this much: I’m done—done—with all this righteous indignation over the baring of Black bodies and the demand that Black artists color within the lines of respectability drawn specifically for us. (I’m tired, too, of Black folks who quickly co-sign this foolishness by dragging Beyonce for looking sexy while daring to sing about explosive sex, complicated relationships, the beauty of motherhood and finding her voice as a woman in a sexist world, or dogging out shows like Being Mary Jane and Scandal for showing the less-than-perfect, complicated lives of single Black women.)




Original post

When it was announced that entertainment’s “it” couple, Beyoncé Knowles-Carter and Jay Z, would be performing at the Grammys—the opening act, no less—I knew it wasn’t going to go well. They were undoubtedly going to perform their latest hit, “Drunk in Love,” an ode to liquor and the joys of marital sex, replete with raunchy innuendo. Everyone would tune in, and there would be a mega backlash.

There’s been a lot of fuss over the song. Over at the Huffington Post, Frances Cudjoe Waters took issue with Beyoncé’s admission that she’s a 32-year-old woman who drinks, but the song’s most troubling lyrics came during Jay Z’s guest verse. In response to his trash-talking wife, who is boasting of her sexual prowess, he slickly—or sickly, depending on your perspective—says, “I’m Ike Turner turn up/You know I don’t play/Now eat the cake, Anna Mae/Eat the cake Anna Mae/I’m nice.” Le scandal.

Jay Z’s allusion to the Tina Turner biopic What’s Love Got to Do With It—particularly the scene where Ike Turner (Laurence Fishburne) smashes a slice of cake into the face of wife Tina (Angela Bassett)—has been repeatedly (over) analyzed. It’s been called evidence that Bey and Jay Z condone domestic violence and proof of the couple’s insensitivity to Turner, with whom Beyoncé has performed in the past.

Because there have been so many essays taking Jay Z to task since Beyoncé’s album was released in December, I’m well-versed in the argument that his lyrics, joking or not, go too far. But the hype is just that.

Jay Z is in no way condoning domestic abuse on that verse. He’s drunk-talking—hence the song’s title—to his wife, who has been playfully trash-talking to him. By the middle of the verse, he, too, is talking trash about what he’s going to do to her sexually—and, most important, with her consent. I mean, she’s drunk-giggling in the background of the video as he talks drunk mess on a song called “Drunk in Love.” If his wife is fine with him talking about rough sex, what is the problem here?

Is an Ike Turner allusion the best choice? No. But in context, there’s nothing to see here, folks. Drunk married people are playfully saying drunk words to each other—he even says, “I’m nice,” i.e., drunk—right before they “surfboard.”

I know that drunk Beyoncé is a little jarring for some, but at 32, if she wants to get drunk and then be “filthy” with her husband, that’s her adult and wifely right to do so—and her prerogative to sing about it, even at the Grammys, because she’s a “Grown Woman.”

Over at Colorlines, Akiba Solomon seemed fine with all this but believed that Beyoncé should have stayed silent about that “eat the cake” line:

At least one radio station—in the U.K.—blurs out this part of the song because it’s a jokey joke reference to physical abuse. So last night when Jay got to the “eat the cake” line, I thought maybe Queen Bey would stay silent on it. Instead she puts bass in her voice and chants along with her husband, “Eat the cake Anna-Mae!”

That Tina Turner is supposed to be one of Beyoncé’s idols makes this even worse ...  I’m disappointed in Beyoncé. I wish in this moment she could have been more Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie and less “Cater 2 U.”

Read more: here

5 Reasons You Should Read GQs Mister Cee Interview

mister-cee-gq-magazine-january-2014-hip-hop-dj-atlanta-music-02I was one of those people who stayed up all night, until 7AM, to tune into HOT 97 to hear the infamous Mister Cee interviews with station manager Ebro Darden. The first morning sit down came after Cee’s name has been splashed on the front page of NYC papers when he was arrested for soliciting oral sex from a prostitute, a man dressed as a woman. Cee admitted he had a thing for strippers and hookers, but swore up and down it was a woman in his car. He said, much like Marion Barry, the D.C. Mayor infamously caught on video smoking a crack pipe, ‘the bitch set me up.’ In retrospect, GQ writer Zach Baron, precisely sums up the listening experience as:

Cee stammered out equivocations while a city of profoundly confused people listened in their cars and office buildings and headphones, wondering how the Hot 97 morning show had become a live broadcast of some unfathomable form of public therapy or performance art.

The second interview, five months later, occurred shortly after another man dressed as a woman—but still obviously a woman--  secretly videotaped their negotiations for payment for oral sex, then uploaded the tape to the YouTube. Cee’s voice is distinct and recognizable after being on the radio for practically forever. Everybody knew it was him.

In the first awkward interview, he denied he was gay. In the second, he came cleaner. In this latest interview with GQ? He’s still elusive about “his type” but we get straighter answers. Someday we’ll get the whole truth, I guess. Until then, we have GQ’s “The Secret Life of Mister Cee: Hip Hop’s Most Beloved DJ” and five reasons—but not revelations— for reading:

1. You’ll Learn Why Mister Cee is Soooo Relevant

I’m not from NYC and I’m not that hardcore a hip-hop head anymore. I know of Mister Cee as “the DJ on Hot 97.” I knew he had backstory affiliations with Kane, Jay-Z, and Biggie, unarguably the best rappers Brooklyn has produced. But GQ gives the backstory:

He has been around history—sometimes as a DJ, other times as an engineer, an adviser, a sympathetic ear. There he is on turntables on Big Daddy Kane's 1988 debut, track nine—“Mister Cee's Master Plan”—or on tour in 1990, being accompanied by a hype man and sometime drug dealer calling himself Jay-Z. When a shy, overweight local kid from down the street in Bed-Stuy needed his demo tape re-recorded, he showed up at Cee's door,

2. He Doesn’t Remember When He First Got Into the “Other Thing”

The “other thing” as Cee calls it, is sex men who dress like women. But it was sometime “around 2005, 2006.”

Though it is perhaps hard to believe him, he says it never occurred to him until he started doing it. It wasn't a long-held fantasy or a desire he'd held at bay for a while and then succumbed to. But soon he found himself on Christopher Street, a couple of blocks from the Hot 97 offices, nearly every weekend, “out there—like, really out there.”

He never really asked himself why he was doing it and still can't entirely explain why he was drawn to this specific, highly particular thing… “The best way I can explain it is that I was so knee-deep into doing it that it became a part of me,” he says.

3. He Became Addicted to Soda(?!) After His 2010 Arrest

Drank so much soda he almost lost his sight. “I would buy two-liter Fanta Orange, two-liter Sprite, two-liter root beer—and I live by myself—just guzzling them. That's how I was getting through my pain, fucking going to sleep and drinking soda. And I'm not even a soda drinker. I drunk so much soda to the point where my diabetes—my sugar level went so high, I started getting blind.”

4. The Police Covered For Him… At First

He even lied to the cops, who took care of him the first couple of times he was arrested—“Once you walk in the station, all it takes is one black officer to recognize you”—but whose patience ran out when the arrests continued to mount: “When I got arrested in 2011—this is just my theory—that came out from the D.A.'s office. That leaked from the D.A. That didn't leak from a precinct. You know, after a while, I'm making deals with the D.A.: ‘I'm never going to do this again. I'm never going to do this again.’ And they're like, ‘Okay, all right. All right.’ And they let me slide the first couple of times. That third time, they was just like, ‘Yo…’

 5. More of Less, Hip-hop Has Supported Him Since He Sort of Came "Out"

Cee was desperately afraid of being an outcast in the industry he loved:

 I was just afraid of what the perception was going to be about me and that people was still going to want to stand behind the Mister Cee brand,” he says. Promoters. People he worked with. And if they didn't, “how was I going to be able to continue to support and take care of the people that I care about?”

But surpisingly, his friends have been receptive and accepting:

Cee says Big Daddy Kane called just the other day to ask, only half-jokingly, “You ready to come back on the road?” Kane, Cee says, “is not the most expressive person when it comes to saying ‘I love you.’ And within the past two years, that's all he's been saying to me.” The past is being rewritten before his eyes.

In our booth at the restaurant, I ask if Biggie would've understood, had this happened twenty years ago. “Oh, I know that,” Cee says instantly. “I know Big stands next to me. I have no question in my mind.”

I ask him why he's so sure, and he says it's because they were friends, first, but also because hip-hop is such a transparent thing to those who've lived it: “You know who's phony, you know who's hypocritical, you know who's real.” Cee is real.

What did you think of the interview?

The Root: 6 Things I Care About on 'Beyonce'' More Than Her Feminism

Bey-JayIf you’re reading this, you have an Internet connection. And because you have said connection, then you are undoubtedly aware that Beyoncé Knowles released an album out of nowhere last week on Friday. For the better part of the last 96 hours, the Internet has been going HAM about Beyoncé, the person and super-secret album of the same name.

Leading this discussion has been an intense (and circular) conversation about whether Beyoncé is or is not a feminist and whether bona fide black feminists should support her. This conversation happens every single time Beyoncé drops an album, an empowering (or male-ego-stroking) song or performs at any televised awards show. It’s perhaps more intense this round because Beyoncé featured the TED talk “We Should All Be Feminists” by Nigerian-born author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie on the single “Flawless.”

I remain unclear on why it matters if Beyoncé is a feminist or not. Admittedly, it would be nice to have a new visual of a feminist woman that replaces the inaccurate and widely held stereotype that feminists are unattractive, old, bitter and manless. But otherwise, I don’t get it.

There are at least six more things that I find entirely more interesting about Beyoncé’sBeyoncé. In no particular order they are:

1. The Gamble

Beyoncé the album was exclusively posted on iTunes in the wee hours of Friday morning. With no promotion whatsoever it was a gutsy move, one that has proven to be purely brilliant at three days hindsight. From Friday till close of business Sunday night, Beyoncé sold “an unprecedented 828,773 albums,” according to Billboard, and broke iTunes' first-week sales record in the United States. When speaking highly of Beyoncé, it’s usually her beauty and her work ethic that get the mentions. Add brains to that list.

2. Anna Mae

The first single from Beyoncé, “Drunk in Love,” features a verse by Beyoncé’s husband, Jay Z. He raps, “I'm Ike Turner, turn up/Baby know I don't play/Now eat the cake, Anna Mae.” The allusion to the infamous line spoken by Laurence Fishburne as Ike Turner in What’s Love Got to Do With It? has come under fire, although in context, it’s a reference to Jay Z’s sexual prowess, not condoning domestic violence.

Still, I’m amazed at the number of writers who either missed the reference entirely—Vice writer Kitty Pryde, who live-blogged the album, swore Jay Z said “anime” instead of Anna Mae. In a follow-up apology, she admitted she had never seen the film to know the reference, but at the time of her second writing she knew where the line came from and still called “Anna Mae” Annie Mae. A HuffPo article dressing down Beyoncé for going from “extraordinary to common” on her latest single gets it wrong, too, and the author saw the movie.

3. “Rocket”

For nearly 14 years, D’Angelo’s “How Does It Feel?” has topped my list of favorite sexy-time songs. And now, with the help of Miguel, who penned the lyrics for “Rocket,” Beyoncé has crafted an equally seductive tune that speaks for how the ladies feel. (I’ve had this on repeat for four days.)

Read more: here