The Blackest Moments From Solange’s A Seat At The Table
In case you hadn’t checked Twitter today and seen the trending topics #ASeatAtTheTable or Solange, then you might not have noticed that Solange Knowles dropped an album today. We told you that she’d be doing so earlier this week. And it certainly lived up to the hype ;and, for me, exceeded my expectations. Yesterday, on Twitter Knowles said that she started writing A Seat At The Table almost four years ago and today, as we got to experience it, there are so many moments of brilliant, bold Blackness that we have to share with you.
Check them out.
Integration, Segregation, Racism
“We lived in the threat of death everyday. I was just lost in the vacuum of integration and segregation and racism. That was my childhood. I was angry for years. Angry. Very angry.”
We like to think that the fight for Civil Rights for Black folk happened a long time ago. But no. It was literally a generation ago. If you speak to your parents, they’ll tell you similar stories about integration. And if your parents are like mine and Matthew Knowles, they might even suggest that integration might not have been the best solution.
I Got A Lot To Be Mad About
When Tweet comes onto the track and sings that line, ever so sweetly, into the track, “Mad.” All I can do is nod in deep affirmation. We all know too many people who encourage Black people to forget it and move on. But not only are we mad for good reason, it’s hard to get over the anger when we discover new injustices every day.
I’m the one
“But I didn’t want to build the land that has fed you your whole life.”
Chile. This line here. The fact that we literally built this country, unwillingly and then later willingly, with very little acknowledgement or appreciation is incredible.
Beauty in Being Black
In an interlude, Tina Knowles-Lawson speaks about the pride she takes in being Black. “It’s so beauty in being Black.” And then she refutes the argument that to be pro-Black one must be anti-White. She asserts, as many of us know, that the two do not go together. And any attempt to condemn that pride is to suppress us as a people.
They don’t understand
In my favorite song on the album, “Don’t Touch My Hair,” Solange says “They don’t understand what it means to me, where we chose to go. Where we’ve been to know.” We all know how the ignorance of others plays a part in our current situation. But that second part, ‘where we chose to go. Where we’ve been to know” is deep on another level and requires reflection.
It’s Master P’s voice that you hear in the series of interludes that are laced throughout the album. And in one of them, he speaks about the concept of belonging.
“This is home. This is where we from. This is where we belong.”
Honestly, that line meant a helluva lot to me. Every once in a while I think about moving. Where can I move where I can leave in peace with my Black skin? But Master P’s words reminded me that I really don’t have to go anywhere. This is our home. And there is something to be said about staying to make it better rather than vacating the premises.
One for Us
Play this song and sing it on your terms
There are so many places that are unfriendly to people who look like us. But the space this album occupies on the internet, in our iTunes collection, in our ears and inevitably in our hearts and minds, is exclusively for Black folk.
But my absolute favorite line from the song”F.U.B.U.” is one of the last ones.
Don’t feel bad if you can’t sing along. Just be glad you got the whole wide world.
At the end of “F.U.B.U” Solange and B.J. The Chicago Kid harmonize a bit. It’s brief and perhaps not entirely conceptualized and planned. But that’s what makes it so beautiful. So much passion and soul.
We’ve been lovers on a mission so let’s take an intermission.
Self care has become something like a buzzword for woke, Black folk. But even though it’s been used time and time again, it’s far from trite. The need for self care is a real one and while the concept might not have had the clever wording it does today, it’s always been necessary to the Black experience.
Start your own
People want to know where No Limit come from. My grandfather, Big Daddy, was in the military and he always said ‘Man them people ain’t going to do nothing for us.’ So he was like ‘Grandson you need to start your own army.’ So that’s where the tanks and the military thing come from. See, I watched the Avon lady in my hood. She’d pop 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 said, ‘Why are you going to call it No Limit.’ I said because I don’t have no limit to what I could do.
Given the lyrical content of this album, it would be easy for A Seat At The Table to start a riot. But I have to believe that all the melodic sounds and celestial vocals are meant to calm. If the album incites anything, it’s pride and inspiration to reach and do better.
The Chosen People
The very last words you hear on the album come from Master P.
“Our great, great grandfathers and grandmothers that came here, they found some kind of way to make the rhythm 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.”