The Brooklyn Rail

SEPT 2022

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SEPT 2022 Issue
The Miraculous The Miraculous: Music

20. 2016, New Orleans

A famous singer-songwriter takes her husband, their 11-year-old son, and one of his friends to a concert by a legendary German electronic band. She loves the band, and is especially excited to expose her son and his friend to the music. She explains to them as they enter the venue how important the band was to early hip hop. All is going well, until. . . .

Her Twitter account chronicles what happens next:

4 older white women yell to me from behind, “Sit down now” . I tell them I’m dancing at a concert. They yell, “u need to sit down now”…

We are at an ELECTRONIC and DANCE music concert and you are telling…not asking me…to sit down. In front of my child.

She grows even angrier when some people respond to her tweets by wondering if this conflict is more about “drama” than “race.” (She is African-American.) Her hands are shaking as she taps out her tweets. As she later explains in an essay she posts on her website, she wants the white women, one of whom threw a lime at her, to face some kind of accountability. She turns to Twitter because she knows that if she says anything to them the situation will escalate and ultimately the police will get involved, an outcome she wants to spare her son and his friend. She also wants to make a larger point: “I’m just going to share my experience … So that maybe someone will understand, why many of us don’t feel safe in many white spaces. We don’t ‘bring the drama.’ Fix yourself.” Her last tweet is a video of her and her husband dancing. She captions it “Bye haters.”

(Solange Knowles, Kraftwerk)

Contributor

Raphael Rubinstein

Raphael Rubinstein is the author of The Miraculous (Paper Monument, 2014) and A Geniza (Granary Books, 2015). He is currently writing a book about the Jewish-Egyptian writer Edmond Jabès. A Professor of Critical Studies at the University of Houston School of Art, he divides his time between Houston and New York.

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The Brooklyn Rail

SEPT 2022

All Issues