by Kemi Akilapa0
LISTEN: Solange – A Seat at the Table
At its core ‘A Seat at the Table’ is an ode to black women, from the joys of sisterhood to the pain of police brutality
Her third album comes in the year Solange, turns 30. It’s a new sound and style for her, perhaps to signal a new era in her life, she’s embracing the future, living in the present while not ignoring the past. More than just the songs you keep on your iPod, this is a political statement.
With words from both her parents featured on the album, she touches upon the civil rights movement with her father Matthew Knowles, reliving his experiences. “We lived in the threat of death every day. I was lost in this battle between integration and segregation. That was my childhood. I was angry for years” is the perfect opening to Mad. Along with Lil Wayne’s words “I’ve got a lot to be mad about. Got a lot to pop zan about”, Knowles perfectly yet subtly sheds light that not much has changed, before enlightening us to love instead of hate “You got the right to be mad, but when you carry it alone you find it only getting in the way”.
It’s undeniable A Seat at the Table is a celebration of black culture. Knowles truly emphasises this in F.U.B.U. With her mother Tina Knowles stating the pride of being a black person “There’s so much beauty in being black. I never wanted to be anything else. It really saddens me we’re not allowed to express the pride in that” The clarification both women provide to show the difference between being pro black and anti white is powerful and extremely necessary. This shit is for us from F.U.B.U shows her pride in her culture, she believes anything is possible, evident in ‘Junie’, while the lyric “When a n***** tries to board a plane and they ask what’s your name cos they thinkin they all the same” at the same time exposes the undeniable racism she has been subjected to.
On the other side of the scale, Solange provides a gentle vibration with sounds of the seventies. Don’t You Wait, echoes Tina Turner whereas The Glory is in you is reminiscent of Minnie Riperton. The heart of the album is pain, love and endurance. ‘Cranes in the Sky’ is the soul wrenching number explaining the desire to escape during dramatic pain. I tried to drink it away, I tried to sex it away are lyrics the world needs to hear right now alongside the heartbreak evident in ‘Don’t Touch My Hair’.
A Seat at the Table – It’s a perfectly named album given that Solange is surely holding her own in the musical game.