Or … “Don’t Fight Your Brother-in-law”
There are, um, a few reasons why singer/songwriter Solange Knowles decided to go H.A.M. on her brother-in-law, Jay Z, while her infinitely more famous sister, Beyonce Knowles, just kind of stood there fixing her dress.
1. He looked at her funny.*
2. She was drunk and took something the wrong way. (Mean drunks are the worst.)
3. Jay Z insulted her or her sister.
4. The Illuminati **
5. She has never, ever liked her sister’s husband.
Some people (annoying people) want to blame Bipolar Disorder or mental illness, but there is no mental diagnosis that assures you will deliver a beat down. I have Bipolar Type II and have never been in a fight. I have friends who have Bipolar Type II and they have been in a fight. I have friends diagnosed with nothing who have been in fights. Mental illness alone doesn’t mean anyone will do anything but either get depressed or get manic and then deal with that in however they choose to cope. But anyone can lose it and start to fight somebody no matter their diagnosis or if they even have a diagnosis at all.
Because sometimes you just want to fight somebody.
When my ex-husband and I broke up, my baby sister, Baby Snob, told me she drove around our college campus hoping to see him, then hit him with our father’s car. I, the ex and her all went to the same school and he would hang out there sometimes after we broke up, mostly pestering my sorority sisters for info on my whereabouts. To the credit of “Finer Womanhood” not one Zeta squealed. When I told Baby Snob he was still wandering around Southern Illinois University she hoped she would see him there, walking around campus so she could pull 4’11” inches worth (5 feet in heels) of a beat down***.
Again, I, personally, have never fought anybody despite many opportunities for it growing up in St. Louis. I was afraid of ending up in the “school-to-prison pipeline” before I even knew what that was called. Also, I’m someone who freezes in tense situations, not fights or flights, so I may also be a “punk” as the kids in St. Louis used to say.
I once “almost” fought a girl. Which was more like I threatened to fight a girl who was picking on my younger sister. In a bizarre twist, after having scared the girl with the looming threat of older “high school girls” coming to beat her 8th grade ass, she became obsessed with being my friend once she got to high school. This was much to the chagrin of my baby sister who ascribes to the “Rick Ross” philosophy of “God forgives. I don’t.” Cross the Baby Snob and you pretty much have an enemy for life, beef will always be real and there’s nothing you can do about it. (She gets it from our Grandmother.)
All this is to say, the sister bond is real. And if her sister doesn’t like you (mentally ill, drunk or indifferent) she will probably never like you. Not if you are polite. Not if you’re a “good guy.” (Tip: She does not think you’re a good guy.) Not even after you two have a kid and she LOVES the kid, but still looks at you side-eyed even though that kid is half you. Not if you’re both dressed for “Rich People Prom” and the fight, if it gets out, will make you all look bad.
As someone who has two sisters who have never liked anyone the other sister has dated since time immemorial, this is simply a possible outcome of when your sister-in-law doesn’t like you. Doesn’t think you’re funny. Takes everything you say really personal. And possibly has a short fuse anyway.
As for why Beyonce didn’t intervene is probably because, well, either this happens all the time, or because she was at a “Rich People Prom” after party and didn’t need her good wig to get potentially mussed up. It was probably both. Someone has to be the professional here. None of this is to say fighting your brother-in-law is a good idea. I have routinely wanted to fight the significant others of friends, best friends and my sisters. But I did not, because I knew that would hurt them more than it would hurt the jerk they were with. Plus, I can’t fight. So, it would mostly be me flailing around in some uncoordinated matter.
So, don’t fight your brother-in-law if you’re not famous. Don’t fight your brother-in-law if you’re all famous. Don’t join the cast of Love & Hip Hop Atlanta. Don’t smoke crack. Don’t think you can stop filing your taxes and the IRS. Simply do not do any of these things. They will not turn out OK for you in the end. Your sister will not break up with her husband, no matter how awful he is if you swing on him. (If he is in fact awful and you aren’t just being IMPOSSIBLE to deal with.) If anything, you’ve made them bond over you being “crazy.”
Don’t be crazy, Solange. Oh my God, just don’t. Don’t fight your brother-in-law.
* This was the excuse of 90 percent of the girl fights between black girls at my school. At about 15, I once innocuously was staring at a nothing in particular one day and some girl screamed at me, “WHAT CHU LOOKIN’ AT, BITCH! I’LL F**K YOU UP! I HATE IT WHEN BITCHES BE LOOKING AT ME!” Basically, I went to a high school that was one part Bayside High and the other part Bad Girls Club Starter Tech. I feel like I actually got hazed to be on our precision drill team by three girls who were mean to me for no reason other than I breathed air and dared to get on drill team.
*** Don’t let her size fool you. She was able to successfully overpower me by the time she was 9 and we are three years apart. Her son is a mutant muscle baby who has the strength of twenty babies. As with her, it is with him, they are just belligerent little people. Some short people, knowing they are short, learn to defend themselves in case someone wants to “try it.” Don’t try it with my sister because she wants you to try it. Just don’t. Don’t.