Solange Knowles’ third album is 21 tracks of I-swear-to-God-this-was-ripped-from-my-unpublished-Tumblr drafts. I’m Black and woman at the same time. I bump into all the glass ceilings. Demand a seat at all the tables.
I’ve only had this album for a weekend. I haven’t flipped through the 111-page book of lyrics and photography as many times as I’d like, but I already have feelings. So many feelings.
#1 Heavenly harmonies on “Rise”
This is a mantra. This is going on my “Mindfulness” Spotify playlist, y’all. Yes, I have a Mindfulness Spotify playlist.
Lyrically, she urges us to live unapologetically. We may fall. We may fail. Our ways may not be perfect, but give yourself a chance to thrive. Give yourself your all.
Sonically, Rise makes me want to float on the fluffiest cumulonimbus cloud Black Jesus can find and spend a Sunday sunset deep-conditioning each other’s hair with unrefined extra virgin coconut oil.
#2 Validation through “Cranes In The Sky”
Never has a song so gentle hit me so hard, like a ton of bricks. Battle the gray, overcast fogginess of depression with the weight of the Strong Black Woman trope. To hear Solange melodically reveal “I tried to drink it away…I tried to dance it away”?? Sometimes you need to hear someone else articulate it to understand what depression means for you.
I know for a fact music saves lives. I believe this song is saving someone right now.
#3 Papa Knowles’ living history lesson
Textbooks have folks in this country thinking the horrors of Jim Crow and the struggle for Civil Rights are ancient folklore. Solange’s father is alive and well at a fresh 64! He recounts his first day integrating a previously white-only school. “We lived in the threat of death every day…I was angry for years.”
My family history is tinted by colonialism and segregation within an African nation, but the sentiment still stands. I don’t think we talk to our elders enough about the experiences that colored their lives, and thusly ours. ♫ You got the right to be mad… ♫
#4 “Don’t Touch My Hair” because duh
To be honest, I didn’t like how matter-of-fact this song was at first. Where’s the shadiness in such a declarative statement?! I want you to subtly DRAG every drunk white woman that’s gone knuckle deep into my hair, Solange! But I get it, sometimes you have to break things down.
And you, lady in the Target checkout line ogling at me. Reevaluate why you feel the urge to pet another human being.
#5 The throwback reference of “F.U.B.U.”
“Don’t be mad that you can’t sing along, just be glad you got the whole wide world. For us. This shit is for us.”
This anthem is for every time:
Bantu knots are called “mini buns” in a major magazine
We’re forced to look at Kylie Jenner’s lips
Million-dollar companies tweet “on fleek”
The whole crowd screamed n*gga during a Kanye concert a little too freely for your liking
[Insert life story here]
#6 Master P’s inspirational send-off in “The Chosen Ones”
The rapper/producer/mogul peppers the album with his life story, but the lush crescendo of horns that accompany his last soundbite? Glorious.
We come here as slaves, but we goin’ out as royalty.
Knowing that against all odds, against history’s intentions, we still got the juice?! Whew, I feel blessed and highly moisturized. Also, this track fades masterfully into Kendrick Lamar’s “Alright.” You’re welcome.
Please chime in! What were your favorite moments of A Seat At The Table?