Solange Reveals in Interview by Beyoncé What's Missing From Society's View of Strong Women

January 10th 2017

Almie Rose

Solange revealed in a recent interview what it really means to take on the idea of being a "strong woman" — and how, especially, in pop culture and the music industry — it's a label many women are often times reluctant to accept.

Beyoncé Knowles interviewed her sister for a piece in Interview magazine, which was published on Tuesday, where the two discussed the "Cranes in the Sky" singer's upbringing, her latest album and what it means to be perceived as a strong woman. 

"A Seat at the Table" has received critical acclaim and Beyoncé complimented Solange on it for, essentially, tackling almost everything on the album herself - from production, to writing, to vocals. "It's something to be celebrated for a young woman to be such a strong producer as well as a singer-songwriter and artist," she told her sister in the interview. 

She then asked Solange, "What are some misconceptions about being a strong woman?" To which, Solange revealed that she has personally struggled with taking ownership of her accomplishments out of fear of appearing arrogant:  

"One thing that I constantly have to fight against is not feeling arrogant when I say I wrote every lyric on this album. I still have not been able to say that. That's the first time I've actually ever said it, because of the challenges that we go through when we celebrate our work and our achievements. I remember Björk saying that she felt like, no matter what stage in her career, if a man is credited on something that she's done, he's going to get the credit for it." 

She went on to credit Beyoncé for inspiring her, in a respect, to not be bashful or feel like she has to ask for permission from others:

"And, unfortunately, that still rings true. It's something I've learned so much about from you, getting to be in control of your own narrative. And, at this point, it should be an expectation, not something that you're asking permission for. I feel like I'm getting closer to that, not taking on all the baggage when I have to just stand up for myself and say, 'No, I'm uncomfortable with that.' And I really appreciate you and mom being examples of that, being able to speak about our achievements, these things that deserve to be celebrated, without feeling bashful about it."

Women often feel like they're not "allowed" to own their accomplishments.

Sometimes, women play down their accomplishments by using softer language, like prefacing their statements or questions with "sorry" (for example saying, "sorry, can I ask something real quick?"). This is an issue so prevalent that there's even a Gmail plugin, created by Tami Reiss called "Just Not Sorry" that will underline superfluous "sorrys" in emails to make the emails stronger, ATTN: reported in October.

That even a music star like Solange would feel as though she's "asking permission" for taking control of her own narrative suggests that society still has a long way to go for women to feel truly strong — no matter who they are or what they do for a living.

Check out Solange's full interview for the magazine here