Solange Knowles’ third album A Seat at the Table is an outright rambunctious celebration of blackness. With a sister like Beyoncé, one would think Solange would struggle to form her own unique identity. But Solange never had that problem.
An artist in her own right, A Seat at the Table is Solange’s latest masterpiece. And in case you’re wondering, it’s way blacker than Lemonade. With interludes that feature her mother and OG southern rapper Master P, this album is a melodic conversation, a tuneful history.
A Seat at the Table is Solange’s way of celebrating and continuing the legacy of the black people before her. This album celebrates the black people who have fought to give black people a seat at the table of representation, access and power. A Seat at the Table has a funky soul/R&B/jazz feel that will have you nodding your head (if you’re into that kind of thing). Solange is fearless when addressing controversy.
The intro track on A Seat at the Table is a beautifully melodic war cry. The lyrics encourage staying true to oneself through thick and thin. “Walk in your ways so you will wake up and rise.” She invokes the black struggle with her words.
The second track is a warning. Solange urges her fans to resist injustices and not be complacent. The bridge, which is repeated twice, touches on the themes of belonging. It ends with: “And do you belong?/I do. I do.”
“Cranes in the Sky”
The fourth track has a video that does the soul-filled song justice. The visuals are so amazing. It’s jaw-droppingly beautiful. Plus, the video only features black women. Message much?
The sixth song on the album combats the “angry black woman” stereotype head-on. There’s a lot to be angry about in the world as a black woman. And it is beyond frustrating to have your emotions policed. In the outro Solange sings, “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.”
“Don’t touch my hair”
The ninth track gets into the tricky business of black hair. The recently released video features a wide range of black hairstyles, not to mention everyone in the video is black, y’all. Black hair is undoubtedly a huge part of black culture. Historically, black women in particular have had to wear their hair in more Eurocentric fashions in order to be deemed acceptable (but when white women wear their hair in cornrows, it’s trendy — remember Kim Kardashian y’all?). When black women wear their hair out in its natural state or elaborate traditionally black styles, white people want to pet them (seriously, what’s up with that?). Solange calls her hair, her crown and critiques white America for not understanding the time and effort she put into her beautiful tresses. Almost every black woman can relate.
The 13th track on the album starts off with Solange crooning, “All my n***** in the whole wide world/All my n***** in the whole world/made this song to make it all y’all’s turn/For us, this shit is for us.” Solange reveals her opinion on the controversial N-word to the world. “FUBU” is filled of Solange’s experiences with microaggressions, where her black body is questioned in predominantly white spaces. It’s definitely one of the best tracks on the album.
A Seat at the Table makes me proud to be a black woman. I’m sure that’s exactly what Solange was trying to accomplish. Thanks, girl.