After interviewing my mother and father for A Seat At The Table, it feels like full circle to have chosen my sister to interview me for @InterviewMag. Spoke about womanism, growing up in a hair salon, and choosing between “I could fall in love” and “No Me Queda Mas”. It is one of my favorites to date.
Despite being one of the foremost pop divas on the planet, Beyoncé manages to keep her personal life almost completely under wraps. When she emerges from her publicity fortress, it’s usually to grace us with a grainy montage of her, Jay Z and Blue Ivy’s countless beach vacations and faux-intimate family moments — nothing too revealing.
However, in 2016, we saw the Queen’s P.R. strategy shift ever so slightly. The Fashion Icon (kind of) opened up in her powerful CFDA speech. She allowed Hillary Clinton a one-sentence endorsement. She aligned herself with the Black Lives Matter movement. Still, though the Coachella headliner knows how to make a statement — usually in song or spoken word form — she’s not one for (over)sharing.
Thus, we were over-the-moon when we heard that Solange’s February Interview cover story was, in fact, a conversation between her and her enigmatic big sis. The article serves as the final leg of the press tour for the younger Knowles’ critically acclaimed A Seat At The Table, an album that tells the story of Solange, her family and their ancestors’ experience. “Which is a huge part of why I wanted you to interview me for this piece,” the singer explained to Bey.
As one would expect, the article is a fount of feminist inspiration. Solange addresses topics ranging from her musical influences to the misconceptions strong women face to the meaning behind the hit single “Cranes in the Sky” and A Seat’s now-iconic cover art. But the true pleasure of reading the piece lies in witnessing (albeit third hand) the interaction between two such extraordinary siblings and gaining unique insight into their family life. Ahead, eight times Beyoncé and Solange almost brought us to tears with their powerful sisterly love.
When Beyoncé revealed how deeply she admired her little sis, even in grade school. “Well, it is a bit strange, because we’re sisters and we talk all the time, to be interviewing you,” Bey began the Q&A. “But I’m so happy to interview you because, clearly, I’m your biggest fan and I’m super proud of you,” she gushed. “Growing up, you were always attracted to the most interesting fashion, music, and art. You were obsessed with Alanis Morissette and Minnie Riperton and mixing prints with your clothes … when you were only 10 years old.”
When Solange credited Beyoncé and “Mama Tina” for her ability to be a #GirlBoss at all times. “Growing up in a household with a master class such as yourself definitely didn’t hurt,” said Solange, when asked how she finds the creative drive to mastermind all aspects of her work. “As far back as I can remember, our mother always taught us to be in control of our voice and our bodies and our work, and she showed us that through her example,” Solange added. “If she conjured up an idea, there was not one element of that idea that she was not going to have her hand in. She was not going to hand that over to someone. And I think it’s been an interesting thing to navigate, especially watching you do the same in all aspects of your work: Society labels that a control freak, an obsessive woman, or someone who has an inability to trust her team or to empower other people to do the work, which is completely untrue.”
When Beyoncé revealed just how supportive a big sis she really is. “I was with you the week leading up to your release, and it’s the most nervous time for any artist, but I know it was a nervous time for you,” Beyoncé recalled, to which Solange replied, “Yeah. I was breaking out into hives. I could not sit still. It was terrifying.” Even from halfway across a stadium, we find Beyoncé’s presence indescribably soothing, so we can only imagine what it meant to Solange to have her big sis by her hive-afflicted side.
When Beyoncé was the out-of-touch older sibling. “You have an ability to see things before they happen that I’ve never really seen in anyone else as consistently as you do. You always know the new artists two years before they come out. Or the new DJs or producers or the new fashion brands … How do you do that?” The Queen questioned. Solange’s response? “I’m just on the internet too damn much.”
When Beyoncé forced Solange to choose between two of her favorite Selena jams. “‘No Me Queda Mas’ or ‘I Could Fall in Love’?” — Bey. “This is so unfair! ‘No Me Queda Mas.’” — Solange. Sisterly sadism at its best.
When Beyoncé made fun of Solange for geeking out over Nas. “One of my proudest moments as a sister was when I was able to introduce you to your hero, Nas, and you cried and acted a fool. I was so surprised that Mrs. Too-cool-for-everything was acting a fool.”
When Solange shocked Beyoncé with her reality TV obsession, but it was all love. “What makes you laugh the hardest?” asked Bey. “The Real Housewives of Atlanta, hands-down,” was Solange’s unapologetic reply. “Really?! I didn’t know that,” answered a judgment-free Bey.
Solange’s answer to the question “How did I do as a big sister?” (No surprises here.) “You did a kickass job. You were the most patient, loving, wonderful sister ever. In the 30 years that we’ve been together, I think we’ve only really, like, butted heads…we can count on one hand.” (And no, there was no talk of Elevatorgate.)
Read the full interview here.