entertainment

The truth about what happened during Solange Knowles and Jay Z ‘elevator incident’.

An excerpt from ‘Becoming Beyonce’.

She’s adored by millions of fans, writes and performs songs that move and inspire, but Beyonce is truly known by very few. Now highly-acclaimed biographer J. Randy Taraborrelli reveals the woman behind the star. In this extract from Becoming Beyonce, her biographer sheds light on the. Here’s the real story.

Though it was just a few minutes of grainy black-and-white surveillance footage, it would become the subject of great fascination around the world. It would be examined frame by frame and discussed on the Internet and on major news outlets—ABC, NBC, CBS, CNN—as if of great national importance.

It would also make for screaming newspaper and tabloid headlines. Many people would have an opinion about it, even though no one other than the actual participants in the event would know for certain what had occurred.

Becoming Beyonce by J. Randy Taraborrelli is on sale now. Image supplied.

In fact, the footage—which was first revealed by the gossip site TMZ— was actually quite astonishing: Solange Knowles was seen kicking and punching Jay Z with all the skill of a novice mixed martial artist while a frustrated but ultimately useless bodyguard did what he could to hold her back.

Meanwhile, Beyoncé stood by placidly watching, not making much of an effort to interfere, not looking stunned or surprised, just appearing completely disengaged. If it had been a scene concerning any other major celebrities, it probably would have made news.

However, because it involved Beyoncé and Jay, both of whom had gone to such pains for more than ten years to protect their privacy, it took on special significance, as if it was a sneak peak into the shocking reality of their private lives.

The power couple #badass Image via Instagram

Of course, there are many rumors about what had occurred to cause the dispute, which happened as the trio was leaving the Met Gala, an annual fund-raiser for the Metropolitan Museum of Arts Costume Institute in Manhattan.

In order to understand what happened, it helps to have a little more insight into the kind of woman Solange Piaget Knowles has become with the passing of the years. “Fact is, she’s more badass than ever,” is how one of Solange’s friends put it in 2014.

Beyonce and her sister Solange have always been very close. Image via Instagram

As we have seen, Solange has always been fiercely protective of Beyoncé. Back when Lyndall Locke broke up with Beyoncé, it was Solange who wanted to have it out with him. At that time, Beyoncé asked her to please leave the poor guy alone.

Years later, Solange would tweet about once plotting to murder her sister’s ex-boyfriend. She didn’t name him, but Beyoncé has only had one other than Jay, and that’s Lyndall. “I had a great plan, too,” she tweeted, along with a happy face; obviously, she was being facetious, but even Lyndall today says he’s glad she didn’t follow up on her “plan,” whatever it was.

In more recent times when it comes to Jay, it’s rumored that whenever Solange has felt that he has slighted Beyoncé in some way, she has stepped in to try to set him straight. No doubt she feels that it’s her duty as her sister.

It’s the fight that everyone couldn’t stop talking about. Screen shot via Youtube.

Beyoncé and Jay must have discussed their boundaries when it comes to cheating back in 2006 when the rumor went around that he was having an affair with Rihanna. Since then it has been widely rumored, especially in 2014, that Jay has cheated on Beyoncé.

However, despite all the speculation and innuendo—and a mountain of gossipy tabloid stories—there’s simply no credible evidence to support it. One thing is certain though, at least according to people who know them best: If Solange feels that Jay or anyone else has disrespected her sister, she will not let it pass.
Solange and Jay have been in each other’s lives for almost fifteen years. Their relationship is said to be complex. They certainly have no animus for each other. They’re more like siblings who have their explosive emotional moments and then get over them quickly and move past them. When Solange is angry with Jay, she makes sure he—and everyone else—knows it. It has been the backstory of their relationship almost from the beginning.

ADVERTISEMENT

It all started on May 5, 2014, when Beyoncé, Jay, and Solange attended the Met Gala. Swarmed annually by celebrities from around the world, the soiree is considered a major public relations and news event. All three were dressed appropriately for the occasion.

NEW YORK, NY - MAY 05: The "Charles James: Beyond Fashion" Costume Institute Gala at the Metropolitan Museum of Art on May 5, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Mike Coppola/Getty Images)
The fight between Solange and Jay Z broke out at the 2014 Met Gala. Image via Getty.

Beyoncé looked stunning as ever in a dramatic sheer black Givenchy evening gown covered in sparkling black-and-gold beads, crystals, and studs. The low neckline, cut almost to her navel, showed off a lot of skin, but she was tantalizingly covered in all the right places. Her makeup showed off a dramatic lip, achieved with deep wine lipstick. It was a classic noir vintage look, especially with her hair styled in a slick side-part chignon and her eyes covered by a veil, reminiscent of Marlene Dietrich’s iconic look.

beyonce book
Solange looked glamorous in a sleeveless pink V-neck Phillip Lim dress. Image via Getty.
ADVERTISEMENT

Solange looked glamorous in a sleeveless pink V-neck Phillip Lim dress, with yards of tufted silk fabric and a bubble hem. She wore her hair in a short, choppy pixie cut. Meanwhile, Jay was dapper in his perfectly fitted white tux jacket with matching silk shirt, black slacks, and black bow tie.

Because of the attention the incident generated, one can’t be blamed for hoping that the reasons behind it were explosive enough to merit such attention. It seems they really weren’t. In fact, it appears to have been just a simple disagreement between family members, one that obviously got out of hand.

In talking to people who know Beyoncé and Jay and Solange, everyone has a version of the story. Of course, the only three people who know for certain what happened are the three principal players, and the bodyguard in the elevator with them. Here, though, is the most agreed-upon, credible account of what happened in that elevator. Naturally, none of the participants has verified this account, but according to people who know them best, this is what happened.

The chain of events is said to have begun when Jay said he wanted to attend an after-party hosted by Rihanna. It would overstate things to say that Beyoncé is jealous of Rihanna, but because of what happened almost seven years earlier relating to her, she may justifiably remain a little sensitive where she is concerned.

Perhaps it was a business decision on Jay’s part to want to attend the Rihanna party, since she’d just signed a new deal to record with his Roc Nation Records. Whatever his reasoning, he and Beyoncé had words about it—a “whispered argument” according to one source close to the situation—and that was the end of it.

Beyonce book
“Perhaps it was a business decision on Jay’s part to want to attend the Rihanna party” Image via Getty.

Jay was not going to be attending that party. Had it not been witnessed by Solange, it probably would have been over and done with. However, because Solange knew that Rihanna was a sore spot for her sister, she pulled Jay aside and had angry words with him.

ADVERTISEMENT

In response, Jay apparently told her to mind her own business, and then walked away from her. “Everyone knows little sister can be volatile,” said Jaz-O.

“You want to talk about a powerful woman not allowing herself to be shut down by a man? Well, that’s Solange.”
As soon as the three of them were alone in an elevator, along with Jay’s bodyguard, we all saw what happened: Solange let Jay have it with a barrage of wild punches and kicks, all as the bodyguard tried to get between them. Beyoncé, for the most part, stood by passively, registering nothing on her face—she was just blank.

At one point she bent down just to save the long train of her gown from the fray. It was as if she couldn’t connect to the gravity of what was going on, or maybe a better way to put it is that, at long last, she had finally come face-to-face with the real “Sasha Fierce”—her own sister—and didn’t quite know how to deal with it.

What is arguably more fascinating than what happened to cause the fracas in the elevator was watching the two Knowles women play out their roles, their true and authentic identities revealed to the world.

 Check out these images of Beyonce with her sister Solange through the ages. Post continues after gallery. 

In one corner, there was Beyoncé, a person who seems to have long had trouble grappling with complex emotions and now seemed unable to connect to the reality of her husband being attacked by her sister. In the other, we had Solange, who from all accounts has lived her life out loud without pretense, now accessing her rage as only she could, and not caring how anyone in her midst felt about it.

She likely wouldn’t have done so if she’d known cameras were filming, but she’s capable of it—and we now know that for certain. After a few minutes, just when it seemed that Solange had finally calmed down, she went after Jay again, throwing in a few more kicks and punches for good measure before the elevator reached their floor. Perhaps luckily for the principal players, there was no audio.

“Solange’s whole thing was, Look, I’m gonna check your ass real quick in this here elevator,” observed Choke No Joke. “I’m not putting up with you and neither is my sister. Then, I’m gonna get off this elevator and play like nothin’ ever happened. So, if you think about it, Solange can be a little political too, because she wasn’t about to put him on blast in front of the masses, only behind closed doors.”

Once the elevator doors opened, out stepped Beyoncé, Jay, and Solange, looking as if nothing the least bit unusual had occurred—Beyoncé with a faint and mysterious smile, Solange looking tense and maybe even a little out of breath, both sashaying their way toward their vehicle as if on a runway while flashbulbs popped all around them. The only telltale sign of anything untoward having occurred was poor Jay rubbing the side of his face, as if he’d caught a nasty right hook.

‘Becoming Beyonce’ by J. Randy Taraborolli, RRP$29.99, Sidgewick & Jackson is in stores now and available online here.

Randy Taraborrelli is the bestselling author of Michael Jackson: The Magic and the Madness,Madonna: An Intimate Biography, The Secret Life of Marilyn Monroe, Elizabeth, Once Upon a Time: The Story of Princess Grace, Prince Rainier and Their Familyand Call Her Miss Ross.

00:00 / ???