adichie-new-story (1)

So Adichie threw some epic shade on Beyonce, and it’s causing a lot of problems.

Recall that a few years ago, Beyonce featured Adichie on a track in her surprise album. Also recall that everyone and their mother have tried to get Adichie to talk about the collaboration without much success.

Adichie has finally broken the silence in an interview with Dutch Newspaper DeVolkskrant. As you can imagine, all hell has broken lose. The African contingency of the Beyhive have taken up arms to defend their queen while Adichie’s global squad of supporters come to her defense.

Much of the debate following the interview revolves around Adichie’s statement that she resented the fact that people thought that Beyonce made her famous, including the fact that Adichie distanced herself from Beyonce’s feminism, which she defines as a feminism that depends too much on the “necessity of men.”

Here are the passages you need to read as context for some of the comments you are about to read:

ADICHIE: ‘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.’


ADICHIE: ‘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. 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…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 per cent of our time on men, because it’s fun, but otherwise we should also be talking about our own stuff.

The comments you are about to read were posted on the Nigerian lifestyle blog We think it’s a good representation of the kinds of conversation happening. We’ve put together some of the points made by both sides and hope they give you a richer sense of how Beyonce and Adichie are making us think deeply about feminism.

The Detractors: “Adichie Does Not Have a Patent Over Feminism”

Yawn October 9, 2016 at 9:14 am

I am so amazed this woman and her sheep think they created feminism and can therefore dictate who is allowed to speak on the issue. No one said worship celebrities but don’t act pretentious like the attention you got wasn’t a good thing. Someone helped your essay gain recognition and you are complaining. She literally shed light on what you’re most passionate about yet you’re crying. Oh please… Spare us the bs.
Says a lot about you and your female friends if all you talk about is men. Don’t generalise sha and assume everyone else does the same
Last comment from me anyway. Just never realised how conceited this woman is

Lacey October 8, 2016 at 11:56 pm

As you love her, she should have not married now! She just cuts across as cocky ! Beyoncé feminism is the best type of feminism ! Who you epp! Yes she helped you reach a lot of people,who had no clue who you were ! Whether you resent her or not, that’s your problem! I have never read any of her books and I never plan to read anyone! If you know you did not like her, that you don’t represent same kind of feminism , then you should not have given her permission to use your line! Hypocrite!

LemmeRant October 9, 2016 at 8:15 am

I’m still waiting for the day this babe will say something that doesn’t go along the line of “I am a feminist………”, “feminism is my…………………..”, “my feminism is ………………..”, “this feminism of mine sef………………..”

You know, there’s more to life than feminism.

Tina October 9, 2016 at 9:03 am

This is a classic example of a woman bashing a successful woman. Women are truly their own worst enemies. So she asked to use your write up and you said yes even when you do not appreciate her type of feminism, now you’re jealous that she’s more recognized than you, girl please. Never a fan of both of them

BlueEyed October 9, 2016 at 5:09 am

I respect Ms Adichie a lot but on this topic, she is doing the most, she does not have a patent to feminism and how women should define their own feminist reality, who says a group of men don’t discuss women, and in 2016 as a woman if all your circle discusses is men then I’m worried for you. Now, another artist (whether you like it or not music is art and Beyoncé is a force on her own, irrespective of how you see her, that woman is talented and she has put in the work for everything she has today) she out of respect for your own work put you in her song now whether you like or dislike the attention it is bringing you no need to make shady comments about it, a lot of women will respect your work and irrespective of how you perceive their feminist stance, your art has gained you respect in their eyes, you are the celebrity here not her, all this talk she gave is completely unnecessary.

sweet breeze October 8, 2016 at 10:23 pm

Very condescending woman! I know it hurts but a lot of people (African’s not inclusive) didn’t know you until Beyonce featured the excerpt from your speech in her song. If you felt that ”airhead, vocabulary challenged, leotard wearing Beyonce” wasn’t worthy, you shouldn’t have given permission for her to use your speech in the first place. Now that you have reaped the benefits u’re talking about how her feminism isn’t your feminism? Are there different kinds of feminism? Didn’t you say we should all be feminists and isn’t women bringing down other women against the tenets of feminism? Beyonce is a feminist, so is Amber and even Kim. They don’t have to wear skirt suits and natural hair or have a degree from Harvard to be taken serious. Girl bye!

Dolly October 8, 2016 at 10:25 pm

I like that she’s never the one with the political correctness bullish, she’s very much say it like you mean it but;

Dear Chimamanda, take it down a notch and tone that unsavory vibe you be giving lately. I get you ain’t trying to have Beyonce take credit for your spot in the limelight but honestly she gets some. While you had success and minimal exposure nationally before ‘FLAWLESS’ it wasn’t till that song that your name became international success (Just as u agreed she exposed you to wider audience)

I applaud you not running with that wave, that “OMG Beyonce had me on her song” (not like its wrong if you choose to) but don’t underplay the success she brought you. An average American , British or even Canadian knows your name now but still cant mention one piece of your work.

As for your feminism B.S well miss with that, keep misleading these young girls while you married privately, had a baby quietly and cater to your husband 100% on the low but step out to act like no woman needs a man to complete her. Keep selling it to those who don’t see right through you.

So while you are eloquently riding on your high horse, remember to respect the tiniest light those before you throw your way. Your well-polished, queens English response to that question every time is borderline ARROGANT.

kilipot October 9, 2016 at 12:34 pm

You can be married or not, have kids or not, love sex or not. That I talk about men doesn’t automatically make me an idiot, that I don’t talk about men also shouldn’t be a problem. Isnt feminism about equality/equity anymore??
Pitching women against men will not end well many years to come ( especially when you go ahead to marry and have a baby) Where did she get her 20% statistics from? There’s no one way to feminism, just as there’s no poster child for it.
You downplay Beyonce but then u gave her permission to use your material, that in my opinion is hypocritical.

I believe both genders need one another, Let’s spread love instead and start from raising the next generation of children on what is fair and acceptable, and not this unnecessary madness.

Hating on men,being condescending to your fellow women, generally hating on everything is not Feminism, it is something else and that person needs help.

Babym October 8, 2016 at 11:01 pm

One more thing. In chimamandas own words, “feminist- a person who believes in the social political and economic equality of the sexes!! Shikena! Finito! The end!! She did not tell us there were many variations o. So if I decide to talk about men from now till thy kingdom come, but I still believe in the social political and economic equalities of the sexes, how does that make me a different feminist to u?? This is why nobody knows what feminisim is. Too many variations upandan.

Aunty Amebo October 8, 2016 at 11:22 pm

This is why men often say women don’t support other women. It is clearly obvious and this is a perfect example.

The idea of feminism has become this elevated, strict and narrow platform. If you define feminism in your own way, you are not seen as part of the elite group.

While I respect Adichie, the fact that she publicly came out to say her feminism is not the same type as Beyonce is just appalling.

I mean what does that mean? The goal of feminism should be universal – equal rights for both men and women for the same amount of work.

Yes, we should all define feminism for ourselves, but for another woman to stylishly bash and throw shade at another woman, just because she doesn’t meet your criteria or your idea of feminism, is the main reason the mainstream audience doesn’t accept feminism in general.

In conclusion, we should all be accepting of how other women go about their lives (Please I am not talking about accepting prostitution or illegal acts). Even if you don’t agree with it, talk about with your friends but not publicly.

No good can come out of women throwing subtle shade at one another. Women need to start supporting other women.

Till that happens, we won’t get the same rights as men. And the whole idea of feminism is but a flaw…


In Adichie’s Defense: “Thank you for being honest”

Terv October 9, 2016 at 10:31 am

What you really should have gotten from this interview is that Adichie is a strong proud might i add hugely successful African writer who refuses to view Beyonce’s inclusion of her work as validation of her success. I am uber proud of that and you should be too.

De Duchess October 8, 2016 at 9:19 pm

She has been shading Beyonce for a long time.
There is another interview where they asked her how she feels about Beyonce featuring her TED talk, the answer she gave the interviewer was everything. She basically told him, she was relevant even before Beyonce chose to join the feminism train. She did not say it that way but that was what I got from it.

Then there is the Guardian interview—– another lovely response to the Beyonce hype.
I love Chimamanda so much, another person would be so eager to exhalt Beyonce for validation but I love how she says it as she feels it. I may not agree with her opinion on some things, but Chimamanda is goals.
Bold, fearless, charismatic and the most intelligent person I am yet to meet.

Lucinda October 8, 2016 at 9:38 pm

Thank you for being you and honest. I have never seen Beyoncé as a feminist/activist, that woman just likes copying and guming body to whatever is hype to draw attention to her brand. When she was still networking and hustling her way into the spotlight, she was not feminist/activist anything. All those her get me bodied days was capitalising on her sexiness. I understand that people evolve but I’m not buying it. I have Raid and Mobil for any beehive who perches near this comment. Lol.

Seriously October 8, 2016 at 11:47 pm

So, you are upset Ms Adichie is not kissing Beyonce’s ass and try to be politically correct.
In a normal world, people should want to know Chimamanda adichie than a woman known for shaking her ass and wearing leotard. So yeah, it’s an insult. And yes it’s a sad generation we live in.
And I’m glad she made it clear her feminism is different than Beyonce because one stands for actual female empowerment the other still pushes more male dependent and approval.
Time to differentiate feminism bcos some women have ir the wrong meaning to what it stands for.

Nahum October 9, 2016 at 1:25 am

CHAI!!!! Please o BN forgive me o but meeeeennnnn Naija women can be unapologetically STUPID!!!! See women coming on this post and being very proud to state that first of all, you never knew Chimamanda, which means y’all don’t read anything more than blog posts, and second, you are coming for her for refusing to make men the center of her life. You women are just utterly stupid and you honestly deserve every bad thing men do to you. CHAI!!!!!!

Engoz October 9, 2016 at 12:33 pm

LOL, Nahum said it as it is. It is very important to make arguments like you have common sense. It’s also better to be checked online ‘anonymously’ than let’s say you find yourself in a literary and intellectual space and make such irredeemable gaffes. You can DISAGREE with Chimamanda without making yourself look like a FOOL in the process. Stupidity is discrediting Chimamanda’a popularity and relevance on the account of Beyonce. Stupidity is discrediting Chimamanda’s feminism on the basis of ‘marrying privately’ and having a baby ‘quietly’. I think this one has to be the height of STUPIDITY. Stupidity is defining her marriage as an indication of practicing ‘submission’ or whatever nonsense jargon you mentally incapacitated people subscribe to marriage and think it is an institution where one formula works. You very weak females on this board need to learn how to take a back seat when adults give their point of view on a subject without getting highly sentimental or consider it an attack. Was Chimamanda telling a lie when she made mention of the amount of time women spend talking about men, relationships, marriage, he put a ring on it? Lmao! Is Bellanaija website not exemplary of this? Lol. A Chimamanda gracing this site is very important. It always ends up separating the wheat from the chaff. A catholic and pentecostal will disagree on certain subjects, does that make them not Christians? That same analogy applies to feminism. Disagreeing with your fellow woman is not ‘shade’, it is not arrogant, it is not hatred. That is what adults do and still remain CIVIL with each other. In an intellectual space, you lose arguments when you start attacking your opponents personal life like bringing in subjects like depression. It doesn’t make you look smart. You look STUPID! It’s either you lot grow up and act like you went to school or stick to topics on Maje and Toke, or Linda Ikeji’s handbags. Otherwise don’t complain when you are called out for unleashing your idiocy on cyberspace.



Tags: , ,

I'm finishing up a phd at Duke University where I study African novels, which I believe are some of the loveliest things ever written. Brittle Paper is the virtual space/station where I play and experiment with ideas on how to reinvent African fiction and literary culture.

18 Responses to ““Keep misleading these young girls” | Bella Naija Commenters Come for Adichie over Her Beyonce Shade” Subscribe

  1. Michael E. Umoh 2016/10/10 at 12:57 pm #

    The vast amount of dumbness in assuming that marrying quietly or loudly or anything-ly reduces one’s feminist stance. Smh.

  2. Nnenna 2016/10/10 at 8:26 pm #

    Is it bad that I was just cracking up while reading all these comments from both sides? But on a more serious note, people are MEAN!!

  3. Oshamebinum 2016/10/10 at 10:22 pm #

    Nne.. People are really mean oo…

  4. Farida 2016/10/11 at 1:37 am #

    Michael Umoh, exactly what I wanted to say. People need sense!

  5. Omo 2016/10/11 at 4:34 am #

    I read the comments too and the one on her depression really rubbed me the wrong way. It explains a lot about our society and the stigma on mental health. I’m not a feminist but I daresay I agree with some of Chimamanda’s points.But I also agree that her cockiness and my views are superior attitude are equally wrong.

  6. Mar 2016/10/11 at 10:33 am #

    I read Ms. Adichie’s comments and I did not see anything cocky or limiting in her speech. As always she thought about what she wanted to say and said it. What I read (which may be wrong) is that there are different types of feminism and hers is just a free more centered on women and less on men. Nothing about it being the only one or superior to any.
    On fame, there are different levels and groups among which you can be famous, it so happens Adichie was famous in one, Beyoncé is famous in other, now they are mixing, no biggie 🙂

  7. Vivian 2016/10/11 at 11:18 am #

    I think the last person to comment, Engoz, is very rude and totally lacking in finesse. No matter whose side she is on in this debate, she didn’t need to be so insulting.

  8. Walter 2016/10/11 at 1:47 pm #

    Chimamanda’s condescension is galling. I have always admired this woman. Heck! Her feminist passion is part of what got me more invested in championing the feminist movement. But the fact remains that not all feminists have to (how did sweet breeze put it?) “wear skirt suits and natural hair or have a degree from Harvard to be taken serious.”
    She was arrogant and wrong and a disappointment with these remarks.

  9. Justin 2016/10/12 at 2:26 am #

    Are there variations of Feminism?
    That’s the question here.
    Sometimes people talk about feminism and It sounds like a war against Men.

  10. Rhoiy 2016/10/12 at 3:24 am #

    Personally, I don’t think Chimamanda was trying in any way to throw shades at Beyonce. I saw the interview and i really didn’t think that was her point exactly. Reading it, though, I knew something like this would happen. People would definitely take her words out of context. As much as I think she shouldn’t have said the part about their feminism being different, I agree with her on the part of her popularity not necessarily being in the line of a feature on Beyonce’s Flawless. Before the feature, she had attained massive heights on her own, and that should not be overlooked. Chimamanda was Chimamanda before Beyonce used her words in her song.
    On a lighter note though, Nigerians have really got no chills. At all

  11. Chimka 2016/10/12 at 3:29 am #

    I remember the day I read this comments on Bellanaija. It was just laughing through out.

  12. Mike 2016/10/12 at 7:00 am #

    Adichie should get a PR person. She comes across as cocky and standoffish cos she’s MIA on the little matters on social media so people just become all ears for any fim she says, mostly with a critical mindset. Reading a critical comment in writing makes it look like felony unlike when spoken. That’s why she should’ve restricted her comments to gratitude and not sound like an ingrate. Now she knows what it looks like when roles are reversed – talking about the Elnathan shade that got her.
    The real issue is the soundness of those comments on the “AGAINST” side. These are correct ppl, kai! No bad grammar. Surely these aren’t your regular social media rabble rousers.

  13. Oma 2016/10/12 at 7:40 am #

    Errm please you yourself have already chosen a side by grouping them, what’s the meaning of “Detractors’

  14. Kasanda Malemba 2016/10/13 at 1:11 am #

    Adichie never threw shades at Beyonce. Make it straight. Don’t get why people get mad. Plus, she has every right to say what she did. There’s room for all forms of feminism. Athere are as many types of feminism as there are women.

  15. Ano 2016/10/13 at 8:53 am #

    I think people need to take a step back and relax. I’m 17 and Chimamanda and Beyonce are two of my biggest heroes and inspirations so at first when I read captions and things I was shocked but ultimately I don’t think there is that much of a problem here.

    A lot of what Chimamanda is saying makes sense and I definitely see where she is coming from. She has been a fantastic and well-respected author and academic for a long time and there is African people’s work not being deemed as “all that” or something until it has been praised or accepted by the West. Particularly Western celebrities when really what Chimamanda said on Flawless was always relevant and important. She is a grown woman who doesn’t have to start bowing down or kissing Beyonce’s feet for Beyonce just realising that. She didn’t ask Beyonce, Beyonce asked her. It may have helped her recognition but just Beyonce is more of a superpower doesn’t mean that Chimamanda was not the one doing her a favour instead of the other way around. She contributed to Beyonce’s art and message not the other way around.

    And as far as the feminism thing goes, it is so important to keep in mind that feminists are not all going to agree, nor are they supposed to. There are many different lines of feminist thinking. Chimamanda has expressed hers, Beyonce has too. They don’t have to agree, as long as the core is the same. You may not agree with either of them. Feminist theory can be a combination of things and lifestyles, at the end of the day it’s being able to live the way we want to and deserve to live.

    We don’t have to put other people down about it but she was also expressing an opinion. And her frustration is understandable, even if i don’t agree I can accept it.

  16. Tukur 2016/10/19 at 7:53 am #

    Wait, wait, wait…! Did a 17-yr old just make the most sense out of all the comments on this issue?

    There’s hope for our future.


  1. So What’s Beyoncé Gonna Say to Chimamanda Adichie, Now That There’s Much Ado About Nothing? | AfriPop! - What's New and Whats Next in Global African Culture - 2016/10/11

    […] Adichie said Bey’s style isn’t her style. It has some calling Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie all kinds of things ranging from “cocky” to “condescending” to “arrogant” to “superior” to (my personal […]

  2. Nigerian New Feminism – Say-You-Are-One-Of-Us-Or-Else « ktravula – a travelogue! - 2016/10/13

    […] The most recent social media uproar against Adichie is over her differentiation between feminisms – hers and Beyoncé Knowles-Carter’s. It is allegedly also about Adichie’s arrogance and the way she expresses herself that seems to condescend to the person being addressed. It is about causing a rift between feminists and seeming thereby to designate some as intellectuals and others as liberal and possibly nonintellectual. That feminists should not be distinguished thusly is the crux of the protest. Lastly it is about a supposed change of position indicated by Adichie’s permission to Beyoncé three years ago to use her words in the song Flawless suddenly retrospectively retracted in the interview. Or if not retracted, sidestepped in a clarification that said that giving permission for the use of her words in no way indicated that she and Beyoncé’s feminisms were moving along the same track. […]

Leave a Reply

I hold a doctorate in English from Duke University and recently joined the Marquette University English faculty as an Assistant Professor. I love teaching African fiction and contemporary British novels. Brittle Paper is the virtual space/station where I play and experiment with ideas on how to reinvent African fiction and literary culture.

Subscribe to Blog via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.


Nnedi Okorafor’s Chicken in the Kitchen Wins Children’s Africana Book Award


On October 8th, Nnedi Okorafor attended a ceremony at the Smithsonian National Museum of African Art in Washington, DC  where […]

Adichie Has Some Thoughts About Michelle Obama as a Figure of Black Femininity


As Michelle Obama concludes her 8-year run as first lady, The New York Times Style Magazine assembles a group of […]

Welcome to London | by Lucky Edobor | An African Story


05:40 am. The immigration man’s backside is too flat, even for a skinny white man. It is hard to not […]

Opportunity for African Writers | Entries are Open for the Brunel University African Poetry Prize


Entries are officially opened for the Brunel University International African Poetry Prize. You can now enter your poems for a […]

Chibundu Onuzo’s Brand New Ultra-Chic Author Photos


A week ago, Chibundu Onuzo shared this photograph above on Instagram with the caption: “There comes a time in every […]

Imperialism-in-Artistry: Bob Dylan’s Nobel Win Is Proof Adichie Is Right about Beyonce | by Otosirieze Obi-Young


IN A RECENT INTERVIEW with the Dutch newspaper de Volkskrant, ahead of the Dutch translation of her We Should All […]