By Asia Lambert
Miss Solange Knowles has graced our ears with her third full length album, A Seat at The Table. Since its release last Friday, she has gained much more of a musical following.
While Solange is most-known for being the little sister to mega star, “Queen Bey” Beyoncé, she has blossomed into her own, becoming a black fashion icon and a top advocate of the care-free black girl magic movement that has been trending in social media.
This new album lets her listeners in on who she is musically, her family, and where her heart, mind, and soul has been while creating it. Knowles teamed up with her husband, Alan Ferguson, for the visuals, and notable producer and musician, Raphael Saddiq, to create the soulful and electric sounds. She also incorporated exerts of an interview with rapper, Master P, and lessons from, her parents Mathew and Tina Knowles. Solange has worked very hard to create an album of emotional release for the black community during this time of problematic police brutality, black stigmas, culture appropriation and modern day racism.
A fan favorite of the album, “Cranes In the Sky”, deals with Knowles’ mental and emotional state, in which, she “tries to keep herself busy” by doing things that distracts her from feeling sad, hurt or depressed. The black community can relate to this feeling of burying sadness as they endure much pain, physically, mentally, and emotionally and still go about their daily lives. This is especially true due to recent killings of innocent black men and women. Also, the black community turns a blind eye to mental illness. “Cranes” explores these emotions.
On “Interlude: Dad Was Mad”, Father Knowles shares an experience from his early years about being angry about the treatment of black people, which was followed by “Mad” featuring Lil Wayne. While hard hitting drums and a soft piano help Solange explain that she has a lot to be mad about, “but she not allowed to be mad.” Black women can relate to this song as the word is always attached to them. We have to deal with the “mad black women” stereotype. Knowles gives them the okay to be mad.
Mother Knowles teaches us a lesson in “Interlude: Tina Taught Me”, in which, she explains that being proud to be black is not anti-white nor is it reverse racism. Following this statement, Solange commands everyone not to touch her hair in “Don’t Touch My Hair,” something that black women have commanded more than enough times. This goes beyond the hair, she demands that her soul and her black being are also things that she does not want to be touched, bothered or played with. She is speaking on culture appropriation.
“F.U.B.U.” is a new black anthem. It explains that this music, culture and life is “for us and by us” exclusively. The Dream lends us a verse, while BJ The Chicago Kid ends the song with soft and soulful rifts and runs reassuring this statement.
Knowles’ long time sister and friend, Kelly Rowland and Nia Andrews, lend their voices to Knowles in “Interlude: I Got So Much Magic, You Can Have It” an acapella trio remind us that they have so much “black magic,”. They are top advocate of the care-free black girl magic movement. Throughout the album, Master P tells us his story of his uprising rap career and brand “No Limit” over some strings, piano and flutes, while paralleling the struggles of being black in America.
“I think that A Seat At The Table for me is an invitation to allow folks to pull up a chair, get very close and have these hard uncomfortable truths be shared,” says Knowles in an interview with Judnick Mayward and Tina Knowles for Saint Heron. A Seat At The Table is refreshing for the black community and may spark a new trend in R&B music. The album was much needed and a must-hear, according to Apple music.