Solange’s latest album, A Seat At The Table, poetically, colorfully, and blatantly depicts the deep-rooted emotions and experiences of Black individuals in America.
An exemplar musical compilation, the 21-track record is a personal reflection, contextual analysis and form of cultural therapy.
The album’s assemblage of tracks involves intergenerational context. Narrated by friends and family alike, the songs are preluded by emotionally historical recollections and powerful sermons from rapper and entrepreneur Master P—with two of those interludes orated by Solanges’ parents, Mathew Knowles and Tina Knowles Lawson — discussing prejudice, institutional and societal racism, strength, courage, pride and self-love.
In the “Tina Taught Me” interlude, Mrs. Knowles Lawson expresses her frustrations about commemorating Black culture and the backlash she receives subsequently.
Following the interlude, Solange builds off of her mother’s frustrations in her dauntless track “Don’t Touch My Hair” featuring Sampha, where she boldly demands society to refrain from touching her hair —which serves as a representation of her power, beauty, and worth — because it devalues her sense of being and identity as a Black woman.
“Don’t touch my hair / When it’s the feelings I wear / Don’t touch my soul / When it’s the rhythm I know…..They don’t understand / What it means to me / Where we chose to go / Where we’ve been to know…”
A track filled with impudence and immodesty, “Don’t Touch My Hair” provides realistic context about society’s overt obsession with ethnic hair and the discomfort that Black people experience, as a result.
Likewise, other tracks like “F.U.B.U.” engender a sense of healing and empowerment among oppressed individuals. In the “For Us By Us” interlude (F.U.B.U.), Master P preaches about the triumphs he faced as a rapper in a predominantly White music industry.
Moreover, he explains that his music is intended for those who resonate with him as a person; hence, why he chose not to “sell out” to White music labels when offered million dollar contract deals.
Solange backed Master P’s assertions with her track “F.U.B.U.” An anthem-like remedy, “F.U.B.U.” is an uplifting response to the reoccurring difficulties that Blacks endure, while also reminding us that some treasures are preserved specifically for the Black community.
“All my niggas got the whole wide world / Tell them niggas that it’s all y’all turn / For us, this shit is for us / some shit is a must / Some shit is for us.”
More inspiring than the context of Solange’s songs are the sounds that accompany it. Her delicate and smooth vocal tone beautifully resonates with her electronic funk, soul and R&B fused tracks.
Talented artists like Lil Wayne, Kelly Rowland, The Dream, Q-Tip, BJ The Chicago Kid, Sampha, Nia Andrews and Kelela are also featured on the album, which was co produced by Solange, Dave Longstreth, Raphael Saadiq & Sir Dylan. The album also ranked #1 on Billboard’s Top 200 and on iTunes.
A Seat At The Table allows people to discuss the truthful yet troubling realizations about Black lives while simultaneously celebrating the strength and awe of the race.
Listen to the full album here.