When I sat down to listen to “A Seat at the Table” over the weekend, I was fully prepared to experience another eclectic collection of songs.
For years I have enjoyed watching Solange grow out of the comparisons to her world icon of a sister, finding her voice in an industry that so often seems to shun individuality. I remember when she first came into the spotlight with her oversized hat singing alongside Lil Romeo to her vibrant videos for “Sandcastle” and “I Decided.” I have faithfully kept “Losing You” and “Lovers in the Parking Lot” in my musical rotation, and after four years since her last project, “A Seat at the Table” has surpassed my expectations.
For the first time in a long time, it feels as though people are beginning to accept black women in a multitude of shades. To me, Solange has always been this kind of odd, eccentric girl who refused to play by the rules of the cool kids. In all honesty, it made me like her even more that she wasn’t trying to be a singer or entertainer in the same way as those around her. Her lyrics have always been poetic and honest. Her style has been bold and fearless. As a black woman who doesn’t always see representation of the kind of woman I am, a little odd, but overall still cool, I am so moved by this project and the level of acceptance it is receiving.
While a part of me wishes people saw how awesome Solange has been for years years ago, I’ll try to lesson my side eyes to new fans. Because at the end of the day, the point of the project is to not only celebrate the woman she has become, but to also recognize other women who are going through the same journey, the men who know and love these women, and for black men and women to come together in love,proudly showing this world that we are much more than what media cares to display us as.
My hopes are that this project goes beyond coffee table discussion and outlives being trendy. Self awareness and self love isn’t something to say or do because it’s cool or hip. #BlackLivesMatter, #BlackBoyJoy, #BlackGirlMagic aren’t just hashtags to slap at the end of posts to direct more likes. There is a clear movement happening. There is a clear shift in priorities and consciousness in the black community. “A Seat at The Table” is more than an album you sing along to. It’s an invitation to truly embrace yourself and to be more, and if you are not ready for that and the seat gets too hot, might I suggest you get up.
Bri Simpson is a Creative Writer for AB+L Radio. Check out her website for more of her work.