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. The Knowles-Carter clan are extraordinarily private about their personal life. The Carters barely acknowledged each other outside of their songs when they were dating. They got married, and we’ve still never seen any real footage from the wedding. Beyoncé has never acknowledged her half-brother, who was the result of her father’s affair, although firing her father as her manager did seem to be a statement of some sort about the issue. But I digress.
We’ll also never know what this elevator fight was about until an inevitable unauthorized biography of Beyoncé’s life hits Amazon.com in 20 years. (It will be juicier than Dreamgirl: My Life as a Supreme—mark my words.) But of course, there’s plenty of speculation now, mostly that Solange was somehow defending her sister because Jay Z was acting up. I’m not even going there. Family business is notoriously messy and multilayered. Anything fans dream up won’t touch the reality of the situation. Truth is always stranger than fiction, as TMZ exclusives keep proving.
Demetria L. Lucas is a contributing editor at The Root, a life coach and the author of A Belle in Brooklyn: The Go-to Girl for Advice on Living Your Best Single Life and the upcoming Don’t Waste Your Pretty: The Go-to Guide for Making Smarter Decisions in Life & Love. Follow her on Twitter.