Nigerian author Chimamanda Adichie has spoken little about the impact of having Beyoncé use a sample of her “We should all be feminists” TED Talk in the singer’s 2013 self-titled album.
But when she finally opened up about it to a Dutch paper this week, Adichie explained that the experience was less than flawless.
“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,” Adichie told the Dutch, laughing at that last line. Her resentment came from how people felt she should be grateful for the plug.
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“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.’”
Though she makes sure to acknowledge that she admires Beyoncé greatly, and thinks she is a celebrity of the first order that provided a platform for feminism that is hard to match, she recognizes the difference between their feminism.
“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?” she says.
Since the self-titled album, Beyoncé has become more vocal in her music both as a feminist and an activist — a new perspective most strongly seen in her recent release, Lemonade.
Adichie’s last book, Americanah, won the National Book Critic award for fiction in 2013, and has been optioned by actress Lupita Nyong’o.