The Washington Post

Solange Knowles is quantifiably more famous now than she’s ever been before

Solange Knowles is in the news with the release of a video purporting to show her and Jay Z brawling in an elevator—but she is an established musical act in her own right. (Tom LeGro/The Washington Post)


So, sure, Solange Knowles has become an international tabloid spectacle, a favorite Internet punchline and a feeding ground for our collective moral superiority — but on the up side, she’s more famous now than she’s ever been!

In fact, if I were conspiratorially minded (and if, er, Solange hadn’t begun scrubbing Beyoncé from her Instagram), I’d maybe possibly suspect that the whole elevator fight with brother-in-law Jay-Z was some kind of setup. The younger Knowles has never exactly been a household name. That’s not a problem anymore.

Yesterday alone, Google logged more than 5 million searches for TMZ, the gossip site that first posted the video. (Related searches, per Google, include “Solange Knowles,” “Solange” and “Solange attacks.”) People tweeted the name Solange nearly 1.2 million times. That other blip you see, around April 2011, doesn’t even relate to Solange Knowles — it’s about Solange Gomez, the third runner-up on the sixth season of Gran Hermano Argentina. Seriously.

Monthly mentions of “Solange” on Twitter. (Topsy)

The big question, of course, is whether all press is, in fact, good press. Or, in more concrete terms, has all this frenzied fascination translated into actual plays of Solange’s music? Has it benefited her “personal” “brand”?

Unfortunately, it’s too soon to tell. Most measures of that type of thing, including the Spotify, iTunes, Billboard digital and charts, update on a weekly basis, so their last numbers date from before the fight. (Solange, unsurprisingly, did not make any Top 50 lists then.)

It’s worth noting, though, that Solange’s last peak position on — circa late November — came in the wake of another tussle, that one versus the British producer Dev Hynes. And if Twitter followers are any indication of fan base, Solange’s is on its way up: Since 11 a.m. yesterday, she’s picked up almost 140,000 new followers. For one brief, glorious moment yesterday afternoon, Solange was even buzzier than big sis Beyoncé.

Hourly Twitter mentions of “Solange” vs. mentions of “Beyonce.” (Topsy)

But we all know how the Internet works: The jokes subsided, the memes grew tired, the GIFs gradually cycled out. Beyonce claimed first place again. The universe is as it should be.

Caitlin Dewey is The Post’s digital culture critic. Follow her on Twitter @caitlindewey or subscribe to her daily newsletter on all things Internet. (



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Caitlin Dewey · May 12, 2014

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