solange-jay-z-beyonce

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