We all know Solange as the younger sister of singer Beyoncé Knowles, but after the release of her newest album, A Seat at the Table, I believe it’s safe to say many eyes have now turned to her. She released her fourth full-length studio album on Friday, September 30th, and I have been listening to it non-stop ever since!
What originally drew me to the album was its cover and the images taken from the music videos she had released for the song Don’t Touch My Hair. They all contained a certain level of attitude and delicacy. The album depicts Solange bare-faced with numerous clips in her hair which can be a reference to how one would keep their curly hair styles in tact after a trip to the salon and can definitely be traced back to African American hair in the 40’s, 50’s and 60’s.
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In the very first scene of Don’t Touch My Hair she is seen in beaded shoulder length braids which is also a very iconic hairstyle that can be traced back to Africa and the ornate ways in which hair is adorned there. Her hairstylist for this look, Nikki Nelms, weighs in in an interview with The Cut magazine, saying, “Don’t Touch My Hair” is the preservation of you. Praising your style, your look, for you. It’s cool to be you,” which is what I basically gather as being the main thing that Solange promotes in this album.
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Personally I always love when musicians and or singers add in sessions where they simply talk to you, the listener, and share their thoughts about either their music or their thoughts involving various events that they’ve experienced. In this case the Solange included about eight interludes where thoughts from individuals like Master P, Kelly Rowland, Sampha, and even her own parents Matthew Knowles and Tina Knowles- Lawson are expressed. Within these interludes, topics like segregation, black history, self worth and appreciation arise.
Courtesy of: thefader.com -Francesco Naszardo
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Along with these interludes came powerful lyrics within the songs themselves that melodically shared similar ideas brought up in the interludes. With my favorite songs being: Mad and Don’t Touch My Hair I decided to take a closer look at the words underneath its obvious Neo-Soul charm. In the song Mad Solange writes, “I ran into this girl, she said why you always blaming? Why you can’t just face it? Why you always gotta be so mad”, and later she answers back, “I got a lot to be mad about.” I saw this as possibly being a reference to the frustrations of the black community in relation to unfortunate events that have occurred in the past few years that have lead to the loss of life. Secondly, you have Don’t Touch My Hair, in which she says lines like, “ Don’t touch my soul”, and “Don’t touch my crown” and “This here is mine”. So in other words Solange is shedding light on the importance of hair in the African American community, and also voices the irritation that black women feel when someone touches their hair without their permission (and I can definitely relate to that)!
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The soulful vibes from this album in its entirety is simply a marvel, and as an artist I found joy in knowing that she had a huge hand to play in her own work and releasing exactly what she wanted to share with the world. In my opinion, quite a number of artists today are pushed around and forced into singing what would sell instead of what’s really on their mind. So, I feel like Solange could be linked to singers like Lauryn Hill and Erykah Badu as they are also artists that have been very open with their thoughts and feelings in their music. A Seat at the Table definitely received a round of applause from me for simply being nothing but authentic, raw, and uncut.
Courtesy of: much.com