Sibling rivalry is nothing new. From the very first fraternal pairing in the form of Cain and Abel, across the ages to Romulus and Remus, Caesar and Augustus, Leah and Rachel, Kate and Bianca, through to Louis XIV and the notorious tales of a twin banished to a solitary existence with his face forever hidden behind an iron mask, brothers and sisters have been devising all manner of methods to usurp the very folk who share their DNA.
The battle between those born of the same womb may no longer be a matter of literal (or mythological) life and death, but the jostle for front position can often prove just as fatal when it comes to maintaining family ties. Particularly when you find yourselves pursuing the same path.
And particularly when that path entails you trying to carve out a place for yourself in the razzle dazzle world of the entertainment industry. (Or the increasingly celebrity-driven domain of sports, for that matter.) Just ask the Jacksons.
In some instances, the siblings are able to share the stage (dual meaning intended) without rancour or incident, with each quite content to go about securing their little corner of the fame and riches map, while happily supporting the other’s efforts to do the same: Dannii and Kylie Minogue; Venus and Serena Williams; Ben Affleck and his whole band of younger brothers.
But then there’s Beyoncé Knowles and her darling baby sister, Solange. The now notorious lift incident brought to public light underlying tensions that have apparently been plaguing the two over a prolonged period.
Okay, so it was Beyoncé’s baby’s daddy Jay-Z that Solange bitch-slapped, but if the rumours of the reason for her outburst are to be believed, it seems S is suffering from a classic case of Green-Eyed Monster. And since it simply wouldn’t do to physically attack another woman (unless you’re auditioning for a spot on The Jerry Springer Show), much less one who happens to be your sibling, B’s hubby played the part of the punching bag.
Perhaps there is some truth to allegations fuelled by those ever trusty “secret sources” that Solange’s anger stems from the fact Jay-Z’s repeated promises to help boost her waning musical career have come to naught.
And hey, what good does it do to have a brother-in-law dubbed the billionaire King of Hip Hop and R&B if you can’t hit him up (literally, apparently) for some good ol’ fashioned nepotism?
Which isn’t to say that Solange’s seething resentment isn’t altogether unreasonable. In spite of releasing her first album to critical acclaim at only 16, as well as a stint as one of the singers in the early days of Destiny’s Child (whom she continued to write songs for – some of the group’s most successful – even after taking a step back from the mic when she married and gave birth to her son), their father-slash-former manager, Mathew, with mom Tina, focused all their attention on ensuring their eldest daughter rose swiftly up the showbiz ranks.
Fast forward a decade-plus later and Beyoncé remains the darling of the music realm, a reality reinforced by her status as one half of the industry’s reigning power couple. Meanwhile, Solange continues to drift ever further into the dark abyss of anonymity (her only real current claim to fame being, yup, her sister-cum-nemesis sibling), with her soon-to-be-released third album already set to go straight to the back of the CD shelf.
Adding a massive dollop of salt to her festering wound is the fact that, disinterested reaction to her current musical efforts notwithstanding, Solange has always been considered the more talented of the two. Needless to say, if life had repeatedly cheated us out of our true destiny (see what I did there?) as it seemingly has her, we’d probably also be feeding on a huge helping of sour grapes.
LARA DE MATOS