Beware of my female powers that usually stays hidden or laid under the surface favoring the path to keep my content lighthearted and happy. I’ve never been afraid to speak my mind nor have I ever been one to not seek more for the soul which ultimately brings me wisdom. Beyond question, music – from its melodies to its lyrics, has always fed my soul. Reading books comes second but music is really my world. Okay, so now that I got that out of the way, I had no idea I would be eager to write a review on Solange’s third full album ‘A Seat at the Table‘ since most of my usual content is fashion and beauty related. Released Friday morning, I woke up to a handful of text messages in my group chat about how amazing it was. Receiving ooohhs and ahhhs and emotional reactions from my friends. I made no sound or comment until I listened with my own ears. And I did at approximately 9:30am.
Now if you don’t know who Solange is…oh well. Just kidding – she is none other than the little sister of Beyonce who has been known more for her uniquely radical personality with a high-spirited style that has every woman wondering how does she pull it off each and every time. We anticipate what she wears to anything from Fashion Week to award shows. So it only made sense that we would anticipate her album. Her rebellious moments in what she says to what she does has always been shocking for people but in a liberating way. Her music leans more into the soul, funk, and indie pop genres reaching the underground music scenes and cool kids all over the globe. With her album “A Seat at the Table” I knew she was crafting a mastermind piece just from following her on her social media platforms glimpsing into her behaviors and attitudes of what a true artist does when they want perfection behind their project. And boy, is it flawless. (No pun intended)
One of my friends described it as “unapologetically black” and another said it is “food for your black heart and soul.” If I was to take a toll of every black girl I know, know of, or stems from the same demographic – there would be a hands up to unanimously agree that this album is right on time. Let me say that again. Right On Time. But just like Ms. Tina (Beyonce and Solange’s mom) said, “just because you celebrate black culture does not mean that you don’t like white culture,” so I encourage anyone who has a social conscience to listen carefully to this album. From the very beginning, it resonated with me. It’s melodically soothing and healing enveloping truths and powerful meanings throughout.
For many many years, blacks have been pushed out, oppressed, ostracized, and treated in unwavering amounts of disgust. A Seat at the Table powerfully speaks to us, letting us know that it is okay to love ourselves and be beautiful beyond mistreatment. Her creative vision for the project was dedicated to “identity empowerment, independence, and grief and healing.” From the opening track “Rise” the lyrics advocate staying true to oneself, both in times of success and in failure, stated by Solange. It is a perfect way to start her storytelling piece. Following “Rise” comes “Weary”: a song of perseverance coming from a place of pain and exhaustion. Something many black folks are feeling presently. Traces of our ancestors and what we’ve been through. I really love this track because it lets me know that we are not alone and although Solange and Beyonce are huge superstars, they are fully aware of what we are dealing with today. Another one that sticks out for me is ‘Mad” featuring Lil Wayne, where she is vocal about the right to express our anger. We have every right to feel the way we do. It is true black empowerment that I can’t get enough of.
On the album, the interludes by Master P (CEO of No Limit Records), her mom, and others are refreshing to hear – speaking commentary about our struggles and how we can succeed even in the worst adversity. Hearing Master P narrate the album was inspirational and authentic. Something many of us need to hear, including black men. When he touches on being offered a million dollar deal with a condition of not being able to use his name, he declined with a strong belief that he must be worth way more than that. “No, what you think I’m worth? If this white man offer me a million dollars, I gotta be worth forty or fifty…or ten or something.” And this is the mindset we ALL must have. On tracks like “Borderline” an ode to self care, F.U.B.U., a black anthem with a strong movement speaking on what’s for us, and “Junie,” a song dedicated to Junie Morrison from the Ohio Players (now I know why this is my favorite) are uplifting and great sing alongs. I can go on and on about this beautiful album, but I wanted to invite a few of my girlfriends to the table to speak their mind about the album. I have highlighted them throughout this article.
“That’s what makes my life complete, knowing that it’s a higher being, a higher power, knowing that these people done paved their way. You know, our great-great-grandfathers and grandmothers that came here, they found some kind of way to make the rhythm. You know, and they kept rhythm, no matter what. Now, we come here as slaves, but we going out as royalty, and able to show that we are truly the chosen ones.” Master P.
People wanna know what “No Limit” comes from. My grandfather, Big Daddy, was in the military. And, uh, you know, he always said, “Man, them people ain’t gon’ do nothing for us.” So he was like,”Grandson, you need to start your own army.” And that’s where the tanks and the military thing come from. See, I watched the, the Avon lady in my hood. She popped her trunk and sell her products. So I put all my CDs and cassettes in the back of my trunk and I hit every city, every hood. My grandfather, he said, ‘Why you gon’ call it “No Limit”?” I said, “Because I don’t have no limit to what I could do.” Master P
I encourage you to start a discussion with the people around you about self love, empowerment, and how to heal our wounds through loving, praying, listening to music, meditating, teaching and whatever makes you happy. I want to thank the ladies who participated in my virtual roundtable discussion on Solange’s album and I hope you guys read it and enjoyed! Now go out and support her album! It’s truly dope! Check out her digital book here. Thank you Solange!