Solange Knowles Finally Has A Seat At The Table. But, Don’t Touch Her Hair (Video)
Solange has never faltered in her musical identity, that of a deeply soulful singer-songwriter whose love for Motown and vocal-harmony groups has been evident since her 2003 debut LP, Solo Star.
Though at times her earlier music played as much into the Pop-driven R&B stylings of her older sister Beyoncé’s work, few can argue that her most recent album, A Seat at the Table, is not her most outstanding offering yet.
The album has been earning a massive amount of attention from social media, with artists like Vince Staples tweeting messages of support such as “Thank you to Solange Knowles for reconfirming my Blackness. I love my Blackness.” For many, it seems, the album is resonating for its reflection of the African-American experience in the world today, with Knowles herself saying its content is “meant to provoke healing & journey of self empowerment.” In an interview with the Fader, she expanded on that point, saying “We, as Black people, have historically not been presented as regal beings in society,” something which may point to the inspiration for the album’s title.
One of the album’s singles, “Don’t Touch My Hair” (which features Sampha) has been celebrated for its forthright embrace of the Black experience as it relates to hair. Its beautifully arresting video, which Knowles co-directed with her husband, Alan Ferguson, was the subject of a recent interview with Vogue. Therein, Knowles says of the video “It was about creating looks with the hair that were iconic Black hairstyles,” adding that her husband and she “wanted to represent Black sisterhood, strength, pride, and elevate the Black man and all of his beauty and glory.”
In the song, Solange touches on hair’s role as an extension of one’s feelings and identity, comparing it to the regality of a crown. The video does much the same, placing men and women of color against backdrops encompassing both the luxurious and the mundane.
A Seat at the Table also features contributions from Q-Tip, Lil Wayne, BJ the Chicago Kid, and Kelly Rowland as well as production from Raphael Saadiq and Questlove. However, Solange wrote, arranged, and co-produced every song on the LP.