If you’re surprised that Miss Solange Knowles (sister of Beyoncé and daughter of Queen Tina Knowles) just released one of the best albums of 2016, don’t be considering the Knowles genealogy.
A Seat at the Table is a candid and emotional album highlighting the experience of both the black woman and the black person in America. Sonically, the album is a sultry and smooth masterpiece, but the overall message is bold and assertive.
We see Solange come into her own on every track transforming into who she is today, an empowered, unapologetic and proud black woman. A Seat at the Table is truly an ode to strength through vulnerability.
Solange was just only 22 years old when she wrote lead single Cranes in the Sky. It’s no doubt that she was beginning to come into her own and sadly discovered the general repudiation of women of color and the pain it caused her. The track details the journey to self-acceptance despite the lack of societal acceptance.
“I tried to let go, my lover. Thought if I was alone then maybe I could recover. To write it away or cry it away.” (Cranes in the Sky)
It goes without saying one’s blackness shouldn’t be eliminated, but instead embraced and protected. Miss Knowles’second lead track, Don’t Touch My Hair follows Cranes in the Sky by documenting the strength she found in self-love. As a black woman’s hair is a direct expression of her identity, both physically and culturally, we find Solange affirming her deserved space in both dimensions. Thus, it is in this message where we see the meaning of the album’s title, A Seat at the Table.
“Don’t touch my hair when it’s the feelings I wear. Don’t touch my soul when it’s the rhythm I know. Don’t touch my crown. They say the vision I’ve found, don’t touch what’s there when it’s the feelings I wear.”
Feelings of grief, pain, renewal and empowerment are found from track to track, and while the album is a firm stance and expression on black (women) issues, anyone can relate to the emotion expressed on the record.
The instrumental arrangement is timeless, groovy and entrancing, and Solange’s smooth, sweet vocals add another layer of artistry to A Place at the Table. Also, two music videos have been released for Cranes in the Sky and Don’t Touch my Hair. The videography is stunning and each frame is a piece of art in itself. See for yourself below:
Overall, A Seat at the Table locks its position in the media today and is an historical timepiece documenting generational and current experiences of a black individual, most notably the black woman and in the most beautiful and poised way. Both of the Knowles’parents share their experiences during transitional interludes, rendering the album both personal and and shared. Solange’s third album sets the bar at a whole new level incorporating hundreds of years of history and experiences into one cutting-edge piece of work that truly transcends the current industry standard.