I was pleasantly surprised last week when a link to Solange Knowles’s new song and video, “Losing You” shimmied down my Twitter timeline. I’ve been a fan of hers since Sol-Angel and the Hadley Street Dreams so I eagerly clicked the link and waited for some musical magic.
With vibrant mixed ’70s patterns and colors against a South African backdrop, the video gave me everything I wanted and then some. Solange sings in a retro tone to a retro beat about losing the love of her life, all the while partying out with friends, having the time of her life in Cape Town.
Though I was already a Solange supporter, I started to lean into her work even more after watching this video because I was intrigued by the concept. I learned something pretty awesome. According to an interview with The Fader, Solange explained her fascination with and use of the unique subculture of the Sapeurs in her video:
“They’ve been able to just sort of create this movement and have the foundation of it be about, you know, having style and grace and edict and portraying that in every way. It’s not just about the fashion, a Sapeur must know how to speak French, a Sapeur must know how to tie his tie the right way, he must have perfect posture, just that classic edict.”
In the same interview Solange went into more detail explaining how she was able to make the video possible through hard work and the generosity of friends and family, giving she and her friends their frequent flyer miles to make the trip to South Africa possible. She is signed with indie label Terrible Records and seems to have a very clear idea of who she is and what she wants: A creative young woman who simply wants to make honest music.
Solange also recently took off her spokeswoman hat for natural bath and beauty products line, Carol’s Daughter citing differences of opinion when it came to what message was being sent out to the masses.
“I was constantly fighting for the right message to be heard. The message that the way we wear our hair is a personal choice, there’s no right or wrong way; one way doesn’t make us more intelligent, or more superficial, and everyone makes that choice for very different reasons,” Solange told Lurve magazine in their latest issue.
At 26-years-old, she seems to be more self-reflective and sure of what she wants more than most 26-year-olds I know, including myself. Whether it’s her hair or her music, Solange obviously blazes her own trail, never allowing the media, big business or misplaced hateration to deter her from her goal: To simply be and create REAL. Her journey to finding herself from dropping her freshman album in her teen, which was clearly heavily (if not totally) influenced by the label to now putting together a third album with an independent label where creative freedom is all hers is refreshing to say the least. Not many artists have the guts to go against the grain and stay inspired. Most look for the easiest way to cop a Billboard hit whether it is a musical masterpiece or not. Solange seems to have a deep passion for being original, inspired and diverse. And why should she be anything else? With a sister who has solidified herself as one of the world’s biggest musical icons, Solange could easily have crumbled under the pressure of living up to that image. Instead she paved her own way as a prime example of how one doesn’t have to do what the majority does in order to be a hit, or to be beautiful, beloved or respected. She went natural, dresses in mixed prints and far out ’70s style, signed with an indie label and shot an amazing video in South Africa with a whole subculture of fly South Africans! She could have stuck with a weave and overly-sexualized lyrics to make her mark, but she took the path less traveled, carving out her own space. I think that deserves a more finely tuned listen and a closer look.
La Truly is a late-blooming Aries whose writing is powered by a lifetime of anecdotal proof that awkward can transform to awesome and fear can cast its crown before courage. La seeks to encourage thought, discussion and change. Her blog: www.hersoulinc.com and Twitter: @AshleyLaTruly.
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