Why Blame Jay Z? Men Can Be Victims, Too


After footage surfaced yesterday of Solange Knowles attacking her brother-in-law, Jay Z, in an elevator after the Met Gala while Beyoncé stood by and eventually intervened, speculation is obviously rampant over the reasons for the incident. Unsurprisingly, people are quick to blame Jay Z for “provoking” Solange, as if there’s an excuse for violence.

In the last 24 hours, I’ve seen guesswork from media outlets and internet commenters alike, speculating on one question: why did Solange beat up Jay Z? An anonymous source who I’m sure is quite the expert told US Weekly that Jay Z said something that caused the violent response:

“Solange flipped out over something Jay had said, that she took the wrong way. She took it too hard or too far. Not sure what it was, but she greatly overreacted.”

This Jezebel article points to rumors of Jay Z’s alleged infidelity, and some commenters either agree or say that Beyoncé’s lack of immediate intervention points to a history of abuse by Jay Z, which seems like a stretch. US Weekly is reporting that Solange fought with designer Rachel Roy at the Met Gala before the elevator fight took place, and ties Jay Z to that disagreement by saying that “[i]t’s also worth noting that there is a long and contentious history between Roy’s ex-husband Damon Dash and Jay, who were close friends and business partners before an ugly falling out.” It seems like a lot of mental acrobatics to get out of blaming Solange and put the blame squarely on Jay Z.

The way we talk about domestic violence is typically in terms of male aggressors and female victims, which completely ignores for the reality of the other way around. We don’t know what happened at the Met Gala or what set off Solange, if anything. We don’t know if this is the first time, or if she has a history of violence. There aren’t any answers here, despite what is sure to be a feeding frenzy as media outlets scrape for rumors that might hint at a reason. But from the information that we do have–a blurry security tape–Solange attacked Jay Z in an elevator, and he didn’t respond with violence. Let’s not start blaming him for being attacked just because it’s a more palatable narrative than a pretty, adored woman getting violent.

Photo: Christopher Polk/Getty Images

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    • Samantha Escobar

      It’s so bizarre that this is the automatic take everyone’s had.

    • J_Doe5686

      It’s a double standard. Men can be perpetrators and women can only be victims. It’s not always the case and it varies depending on the situation.

    • Elizabeth Alexander

      i 100% agree we need to stop buying into the trope that men abuse and women are abused, but I think there’s also a celebrity aspect to the stance everyone is taking. there’s nothing people love more than watching a celebrity fall. Solange isn’t that big a deal, really, but Jay Z? who wouldn’t love for some big scandal to come out so we could knock him down a few pegs?! It’s sad but it’s true. Jay Z and B have been the “king & queen” for a long time now, maybe this is a natural reaction in the cult of celebrity, a sort of “restoring the balance” type of reaction

    • Joseph Mason

      Odds are this isn’t the first time Solange has attacked some dude. Women that know a guy won’t fight back love to do this kind of thing. That is why you must be willing to go to jail for a bit and beat the piss out of any woman who attacks you. Break her nose and knock a few teeth out. She won’t touch you again.

    • Penelope

      “Some commenters either agree or say that Beyoncé’s lack of immediate intervention points to a history of abuse by Jay Z, which seems like a stretch”. Agreed, that is a stretch and intended to perpetuate the female victim narrative everyone is so comfortable with. So of course it’s OK for Solange to go all Brienne of Tarth on Jay Z. Not.

      Aside from that comment however, I don’t think the other media outlets are necessarily “victim-blaming” Jay Z so much as offering an explanation/reasoning as to why Solange acted the way she did. A reason, not a rationale. Nothing about what she did was rational or excusable. I think people get that and are not trying to absolve Solange of blame. Whatever he did (if he even did anything at all – it’s reported she has a substance abuse problem which affects her judgment) she absolutely “took it too hard or too far. Not sure what it was, but she greatly overreacted.”