Shit Bougie Black People Love: 26. Solange Knowles

Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images
Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images

It might seem odd that Solange would appear on this list before Beyonce. After all, Beyonce is Beyonce and is loved by everyone. But people who love Beyonce don't really love Beyonce. Because loving Beyonce is like loving oxygen or a recurring dream about a root beer float. You appreciate these things and might die without them, but they're far too abstract to have any real connection to.

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Solange, on the other hand, is real. Like, really real. In fact, if you were to ask a Bougie Black Person why they love Solange, the first answer would likely be "Because she's just so…real."

This is important, because BBP are obsessed with the concept of realness. The eggs they eat must be from a real chicken. The hair on their heads must be from their actual heads. The Black music they listen to must be performed by actual Black people. This all stems from the BBP's need to be recognized as authentically Black. Years of being "the only Black person at the spelunking meetup" and hearing things from White People like "Wow. You're the only Black person I know who listens to Beck" has made them hyperconscious of how they're perceived by other people. Naturally, they'd gravitate towards authenticity, and no celebrity is more authentic than Solange.

Solange also possesses quite a few Bougie Black Person status markers. She had natural hair before having natural hair meant you were cooler than everyone who doesn't have natural hair. She's a talented artist who makes good music no one can actually name (until A Seat at the Table, of course) similar to the tens of thousands of BBP in D.C. who have "good" jobs where no one actually knows what they actually do for a living. And, although she has a tendency to get a bit too real sometimes, it's always done in "safe" places (Instagram, weddings receptions, elevators, etc), similar to the Bougie Black Person who saves the twerking and Shmoney dancing for game nights, wedding receptions, and Delta-sponsored potlocks. She is the manic pixie Bougie Black Girl.

Damon Young is the editor-in-chief of VSB, a contributing opinion writer for The New York Times, and the author of What Doesn't Kill You Makes You Blacker (Ecco/HarperCollins)

DISCUSSION

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panamajackson

"The Black music they listen to must be performed by actual Black people."

This is remarkably untrue. I'd argue that BBP love them some Black music made by white people. Such as Justin Timberlake, Robin Thicke (he's on the outs because he lost his damn mind obviously), or Adele. Black folks love them some Adele.

And the patron saint of making Black music without being Black: Amy Winehouse. EVERYBODY loved Amy Winehouse; especially BBP.