5 Reasons Why Im Reserving A Seat at the Table
Solange Knowles' "A Seat at the Table" is covered with coconut oil. That's how good it is. When it dropped last Friday, I didn't know anyone with Black ears who wasn't listening to it. Songs like "Mad" and "Don't Touch My Hair." are so directly connected to what it feels like to be Black in America while "Rise" and "Cranes in the Sky" relaxes you in a way that eases the pain. I never thought I'd come up with Music content for HNOW (that's all Greg!) but after listening to the album and reading over the lyrics, my over-analytical mind came up with some interpretations that I think are worthy of a post. I've always swooned over Solange for her unique style and #CarefreeBlackGirl/Wife/Mom aesthetic but hearing this album has me loving her even more.
1. "I, Too" Peeped the Title
Solo's album title, "A Seat At the Table" is a direct reference to "I, Too" by Langston Hughes. While this is only my theory, this piece by Hughes (written in 1945) continues to tell the same story of the Black experience. To be Black in America means that there will be times where we are not welcomed "when company comes". For her to make the reference to this poem is encouraging enough to keep pushing and growing strong until we all eating....and eating good.
2. Black Feelings Matter. Black Feelings Heal.
Getting asked "why are you always mad about something?" is an experience I know the majority of us has been asked one way or another. "Mad", featuring Lil' Wayne opens with:
You got the right to be mad/But when you carry it alone you find it only getting in the way/They say you gotta let it go
After reading the lyrics to "Mad", "Cranes in the Sky", "Weary", "Rise" and one of Solange's blog posts I think the overall message is to let it go and heal. Staying mad can hinder your healing. The entire hook of "Mad" is "Where'd your love go?". The only thing greater than anger is love and love will help you release ourselves from that mad-ness.
There are lots of things that we may be holding on to that's keeping us mad. The issues of Mental health are still thought of as taboo within the Black community so I'm happy when Wayne raps about his attempted suicide and how mad he was when it failed. These are real thoughts and emotions.
Being a young African-American young woman in 2016, I could say I got a lot to be mad about. But I "gotta let it go before it gets up in the way. " YES SOLO!
3. Don't Touch My Hair......or else.
"Don't Touch My Hair" explains how much our hair means to us. Our hair holds our emotions, expressions and moods. There are reasons why we style our hair the way we do. The title should've been "Our hair is our pride, so check yourself." This song is for everyone who's ever reached over and put their strange hands into your glorious hair without your permission and tried to get slick at the mouth. If you read the lyrics without the instrumentals, it sounds like one of those moments. This is beat-yo-ass-in-an-elevator Solange. She tried to be cute explaining how her hair makes her feel, but then she had to get buck. Think I'm lying?
You know this hair is my shit/Rode the ride, I gave it time/But this here is mine
Don't test my mouth/They say the truth is my sound
For half of the song she asks "What you say? oh/What you say to me?" She had me fooled because the song is so airy and pretty. But I got the message girl!
This is the 2016 version of CB4's "Im Black." "F.U.B.U" is one of my favorite songs on the album. Solange's falsetto voice comes on like melanated angel singing:
"All my niggas in the whole wide world/Made this song to make it all yalls turn/For us, this shit is for us
When I was listening for the first time I was so hype. There is no confusion about who this song is for. Anything that starts with "all my niggas" is ours. Nobody knows what it's like to be black unless you're one of us. Period.
5. The World is Yours.
"A Seat at the Table" gives us a great perspective of the difference we can make as Black people. Solange's dad, Matthew Knowles talks about his childhood experiences and how they left him angry for a very long time. Being a product of these experiences show in the way his children were raised.
"[Matthew] participated in sit-ins, he marched, he was hosed down. He was a part of the Civil Rights movement. And I don't think that there's any way for your parents to go through of all that, and you not have a certain level of sensitivity and consciousness to what's happening around you and wanting to use your voice to reflect that." Solange said in her recent interview with Fader Magazine. Her mother, Tina Knowles-Lawson is very vocal about her Black Pride in her feature and perfectly addresses the "Pro-Black ≠ Anti-White" conversation. "A Seat at the Table" is a perfect example of the impact we can have on the youth and who they become when you teach them the value of their Blackness. Both Solange and Beyonce have no problem using their talents to put Black people on a pedestal and we must owe that to their parents. Think about the magic that could come from you - or someone else with the power of your influence. You could get a seat at the table!
Percy Robert Miller is Master P because he saw his neighborhood Avon saleswoman selling products out of her trunk. In one of his interludes he talks about how he declined an offer of 1 million dollars to forfeit the rights to his name because he knew he was worth " atleast fo'ty uh fifty". Today, Master P is worth $350 million because he went out, owned his own, and never stopped working. 350 MIL! Master P is our Avon lady. We need to learn to be like Master P. Never settle because it sounds good. Know your Self, know your Worth whoadie!
I hope y'all don't think I'm crazy with my interpretations. That's just what art does; it let's you think outside of the box!
Thanks for reading!