Although frequenters of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s work already knew what was up, hoards of new interests into the world of feminism became fast fans of the author after her words appeared on Beyonce’s self-titled 2013 album. For months after the LP’s release, the two names were linked in press and personal conversations alike, as members of the Hive thanked Bey for putting feminism on a global platform and introducing Adichie’s “Let’s All Be Feminists” TED talk to the masses.
And while the prize-winning author—Adichie’s notable works include Americanah and Half a Yellow Sun—appreciated the discussion starter, there was just a tinge of disappointment that certain people would have only stumbled across the speech, feminism and her through the pop star. In an interview with Dutch newspaper de Volkskrant, she opened up about the aftermath of “***Flawless,” the song she gave Beyonce permission to use a sample of the speech on.
“I think she’s lovely and I am convinced that she has nothing but the best intentions,” she told the publication. “…But I was shocked about how many requests for an interview I received when that song was released. Literally every major newspaper in the world wanted to speak with me about Beyoncé. I felt such a resentment [laughs loudly]. I thought: are books really that unimportant to you? Another thing I hated was that I read everywhere: now people finally know her, thanks to Beyoncé, or: she must be very grateful. I found that disappointing. I thought: I am a writer and I have been for some time and I refuse to perform in this charade that is now apparently expected of me: ‘Thanks to Beyoncé, my life will never be the same again.’ That’s why it didn’t speak about it much.’
Further down in the piece, she highlights the subtle differences between the feminism the world sees when they see Beyonce and the kind Adichie personally stands for, one that isn’t necessarily lumped under Mrs. Carter’s umbrella.
“Still, her type of feminism is not mine, as it is the kind that, at the same time, gives quite a lot of space to the necessity of men,” she said. “I think men are lovely, but I don’t think that women should relate everything they do to men: did he hurt me, do I forgive him, did he put a ring on my finger? We women are so conditioned to relate everything to men. Put a group of women together and the conversation will eventually be about men. Put a group of men together and they will not talk about women at all, they will just talk about their own stuff. We women should spend about 20 per cent of our time on men, because it’s fun, but otherwise we should also be talking about our own stuff.”
Read the full piece on de Volkskrant.