When Beyoncé quoted Chimananda Ngozi Adichie’s TED Talk “We Should All Be Feminists” in “Flawless,” Adichie and her work suddenly became the focus of massive international attention. Though, as the author points out in a new interview with Dutch paper De Volkskrant, she was already pretty famous, and bristled at the implication that she should be publicly thankful to the musician. Beyoncé had of course asked permission to quote Adichie, and, as Adichie points out, “With this song she has reached many people who would otherwise probably never have heard the word feminism, let alone gone out and buy my essay.” But the Americanah author doesn’t entirely agree with Beyoncé’s politics, even as she is enthusiastic about her political engagement. “Her style is not my style, but I do find it interesting that she takes a stand in political and social issues, since a few years,” Adichie said. “She portrays a woman who is in charge of her own destiny, who does her own thing, and she has girl power. I am very taken with that.” Adichie continues:
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. 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 percent of our time on men, because it’s fun, but otherwise we should also be talking about our own stuff.
That quote would be a lot harder to incorporate into a Beyoncé song, but perhaps Beyoncé will still try.