Written By Lemeria “Tink” Dueñas
Solange Knowles- Ferguson’s newest album “A Seat At The Table” has taken the world by storm! She held the number one spot on Itunes in the first twenty-four hours of her album being released. She has received high praise, especially from the Black community. She has created an album centered on Black culture and Black experiences. But this isn’t her first time at the rodeo (no “she’s from Texas”, pun intended). Solange Knowles has been extremely vocal throughout her career. Recently she has spoken up about her opinions on the events of police brutality in the black community. It is imperative for us to celebrate those celebrities who choose to show solidarity with us despite their chances of being “Black Balled” from society and their peers. I have compiled some parts of her past interviews, along with her personal tweets, and song lyrics to bring you this list. Here are some of my favorite Solange “Pro Black” moments!
- One of my favorite “Pro Black Solange moments” is often overlooked although it’s the most emulated. Solange’s wedding stance was not by any means an accident! She chose this stance to pay homage to the African stance performed by the Ancient Egyptian Pharaoh Taharqa, this pose symbolizes solidarity and togetherness. Since her wedding “The Solange Pose” has become a worldwide phenomenon! We’ve seen women using it for their own weddings and even younger women using this pose for prom and graduation!
2. Her wedding FRO! Yes, women have been rocking their natural to their wedding since the beginning of time, however, this was the first time that an A-List celebrity has done it. Solange’s wedding broke the internet for so many reasons, but who would’ve guessed that wearing your own hair the way it naturally grows out of your scalp would be seen as an “upset to the bridal beauty standard”! Here’s to Solange for rockin’ her fro proudly and for also not pressing out (the act of straightening natural hair using heat via hot comb or flat iron) her niece Blue Ivy’s hair for this joyous occasion! Our hair is beautiful!
- Solange Loves Everything About Us! In a recent interview with Lawrence Parker, Solange was asked: Why are you proud to be black? Her answer was so fulfilling yet simple. She stated, “Watch us walk, watch us move, watch us overcome, listen to our voices and the sway. Look at our resilience and our innovation. The raw, unfiltered and untouched soul we have cannot be matched!”- Solange
- Solange tackles the “Angry Black Woman” stereotype: Solange has spent many years and tweets elaborating on this subject. Recently she and her son Juelz were attacked by angry white bystanders simply for being Black in a predominantly white space. She turns to Twitter to vent her frustrations saying, “In many white spaces we (Black people) don’t bring the drama! Fix yourself!” (Her entire thread on this subject is posted below.)
5. Solange Knowles Speaks Out Against Police Brutality! Anyone who’s followed Solange on social media knows that she’s always been vocal on subjects that plague the Black community. Below are some quotes from her Twitter during the Alton Sterling and Philando Castile cases.
6. Solange Attends Rallies! Solange Knowles has been seen countless times at rallies and protest for the fallen Black men and Women. She is a proud supporter of the Black Lives Matter Movement. Here are a few photos of her attending the Trayvon Martin, Alton Sterling, and Mike Brown marches.
7. Solange commits to placing her money in a Black – Owned Bank! Visit her website SaintRecords.Com where she can get you connected to a Black Owned bank in your area!
8. Solange is a proud supporter of #BlackGirlMagic! Recently Solange has shared her love for actress and activist Amandla Steinberg here’s what she had to say about her and the #BlackGirlMagic movement!
“There’s a secret language between black girls destined to move mountains and cross rivers when the world sometimes tells you to belong to the valleys that surround you. You learn it very young, and it has no words, but you hear it and see it all around you. You sense it when you walk into rooms, your hair elevated with every exalted coil, your sway a little too swift, and your shoulders a little too proud. You feel it like a rhythm you can’t shake if you even dared to quiet the sounds around you. Amandla (@amandlastenberg) knows it all too well, “I think that when you’re a black girl and you grow up you internalize all these messages. Everywhere you look that tell you that you shouldn’t accept your hair or your natural features, or that you shouldn’t have a voice, or that you aren’t smart. In terms of my evolution, I think those internalized messages built up in my mind until I was given the tools to recognize the situation. And understand that no, there’s nothing wrong with me, these are just that these are just messages that we’re fed. I feel like the best way to deal with that has been just to be myself and connect with all these other black girls who are awakening and realizing that they’ve been trying to conform, and the only way to fight that is to be themselves on the most genuine level. ”
So here we are, connecting as nonconforming black gals. Connecting as girls who recognize the borders that have been built around us, but tearing them down while coloring outside every line. Connecting as lovers of wearing the color sienna orange. Connecting as two chicks exhausted by talking about our hair, although we of course know, it’s bad ass. Connecting as humans who are both trying to figure out the mathematics of composer Steve Reich’s – “Violin Phase “. Connecting as two descendants of powerful Queens, who roamed the journey before us, and we hold the highest.
I may not have felt prepared, but I sure as hell felt inspired, deeply moved by the honesty shared between us, and ready to take on the world sprinkling black girl magic in every crevice of the universe. -Solange
9. Beyonce’s “Lemonade”! I tried not to include Beyonce’ at all considering that Solange’s fame and stardom are seemingly always wrapped up in her superstar of a big sister. However, I cannot overlook Solange’s hand in the entire “Lemonade” project. It is believed that Solange pushed Beyonce’ to show the world her “wokeness”. Beyonce’ nods to that notion in her song “Flawless” by saying, “My mama taught me good home training, My daddy taught me how to love my haters, MY SISTER TOLD ME I SHOULD SPEAK MY MIND, My man makes me feel so god damn fine, I’m FLAWLESS!”
10. Solange Pushes Back Puma Sneaker Release In Solidarity With Mike Brown Protests! This is one my favorite Pro-Black Solange moments to date. With calls to boycott Black Friday spending in protest of the Ferguson, MO grand jury’s failure to indict Officer Darren Wilson gaining momentum across the nation, some celebrities are backing up the effort. Black Friday the day in which retailers make the most of their money, Solange ordered PUMA to delay her sneaker release.
11. A SEAT AT THE TABLE! This entire album was made for us! In her song “F.U.B.U” she literally says, “All my niggas in the whole wide world All my niggas in the whole wide world Made this song make it all y’all’s turn. For us, this shit (my album) is for us!” Solange’s ‘A Seat At The Table’ is a bold, Pro-Black masterpiece! It’s a beautiful statement about what it means to be black, while also acknowledging how the world makes it hard to celebrate life in a black body.
The 21 tracks on “A Seat At The Table” take listeners on a journey, navigating the world as a black person. In a conversation between Knowles, her mother Tina Lawson, and writer Judnick Mayard for an interview published Friday on her Saint Heron site, Knowles said the album was something she felt destined to write thanks to her “very pro-black” upbringing by both her mom and dad, Matthew Knowles (heard in tracks: “Interlude: Dad Was Mad” and “Interlude: Tina Taught Me”).
“Growing up with you and dad nurtured me to speak out and be outraged with inequality for not just black people, but inequality surrounding all types of issues. I’ve always been very passionate about that,” Knowles said when asked by her mother whether the violence and killings of black men and women by the police served as inspiration for the album.
“When I felt afraid or when I felt like this record would be so different from my last, I would see or hear another story of a young black person in America having their life taken away from them, having their freedom taken away. That would fuel me to go back and revisit and sometimes rewrite some of these songs to go a little further and not be afraid to have the conversation,” she added.
While the conversation around “A Seat At The Table” has been about the timeliness of its message given the racial climate in the U.S., the subjects of these songs go beyond police brutality, tackling the black experience from many angles. Knowles addresses the difficulty of having to work in, have fun at or live in predominantly white spaces and reminds album listeners that black folks have to internalize these experiences in order to not be discounted as “angry.”
“I ran into this girl, I said, ‘I’m tired of explaining.’ // Man, this shit is draining. // But I’m not really allowed to be mad,” she sings in “Mad.”
The album nails the truth about the micro agressions black people often face on a daily basis. “Physically touching the hair is extremely problematic!” she said in the interview on her site.
The image of black women with all textures and types of hair lounging by the pool, wading into the water and diving into the pool is one of the most stunning moments in the video for “Don’t Touch My Hair.” (Perhaps, the women by the pool was a reminder that it was once a space where blacks weren’t allowed.) Knowles created visuals (along with her husband and director Alan Ferguson) that dropped Sunday evening for that track and “Cranes In The Sky.” The video for “Cranes In The Sky” captures her and women of all shades freely existing in various settings (a mountain, by the river, in a desert and more). There’s something liberating about watching Knowles and these black women in these settings.
And let’s not forget Master P’s narrative ― his interludes help to weave the tracks together as he shares his life story ― which serves as an ode to the South, to New Orleans, and stresses the importance of black ownership.
The legendary rapper says in the final track, “Closing: The Chosen Ones”:
“Now, come here as slaves, but we’re going out as royalty, and able to show that we are truly the chosen ones.”
Last but certainly not least, we cannot leave out her ode to songbird Patrice Rushen!
If you have not given this album a listen you’re missing out on a lot! Before I close, I would like to give a special thank you to Solange for being unapologetically herself and being a beautiful carefree Black woman! The Black Community appreciates you and we cannot wait to see what the future holds! Congratulations on all of your success with your newest album. Pop in your headphones and have “A Seat At The Table’ while you proudly celebrate a woman who has taken so much pride in supporting us!
Written By: Lemeria “Tink” Dueñas