Solange one of the best faces of the slogan, melanin popping you’re ever likely to find. I would never complain about anyone’s expression of their skin colour but there some expressions I appreciate more than others. Some people like to listen to songs that seem to say, “I bust a cap in that mother-fucker.” but I usually don’t. Those things feed into a stereotype that does not include me, and I don’t like that it’ll lead to someone somewhere taking one look at my dark brown orangeish face and thinking, "Here stands Afam the black man. He calls all his friends nigger, and he has a hand gun tucked away in his crotch. Don’t look at him the wrong way because he’s volatile and angry." If there is a song about guns and shooting things that speaks of me, it’ll say something like, “I bust a cap in that clay pigeon. Bang bang I shot that clay aerial rat down.”
In Solange’s, A Seat at the Table there’s only individuality. Everything about it is hers, from the light airy vocals to the beautiful touches that each song seems to have. There are no ballads or club bangers in it. It’s an honest to God expression of musical creativity from her heart to yours. And it all lands. It doesn’t matter if you’re not particularly into Soul or RnB, music is a collection of notes, rhythms, and melodies that collude to produce an effective result. You’ll find yourself appreciating the details that are so carefully applied to every song and some interludes. Even the one minute forty second long album opening half song, Rise is praise worthy.
For me, Solange is a one song per album Afam hit wonder. That means that on every album she’s ever put out there's one song I’ll find myself listening to for years. On this one, that song is Don’t You Wait. With a chilled beat and baseline that excites the nethers, it’s a hit any way you look at it. I have listened to it for two days without stopping and today is looking like the fourth. I bob my head, and sway from side to side. I would like to do more but that’s what you get when the bulk of your dance training happened on a dance floor with more white people than any establishment with a reasonable expectation of good dancing should have. I lift my head to the ceiling and close my eyes. It isn't a happy song by any means, but there's a vibe about it that feels like my life now.
The next thing after Don’t you wait, is an interlude called Tina taught me. Her mother Tina Knowles says,
“I think part of it is accepting that there’s so beauty in being black and that’s the thing that I guess I get emotional about because I’ve always know that. I’ve always been proud to be black. Never wanted to be nothing else, loved everything about it just there’s such beauty in black people and it really saddens me when we’re not allowed to express that pride in being black and then if you do it’s considered anti-white. No! It’s just pro black.”
It’s a brilliant all lives matter take down and an effective encourager of white tears. Much of the album is like this. Heavy material delivered with a falsetto, synth, and a stuttering baseline. It is always lovely when music is more than a pretty melody, and while this album has pretty melodies aplenty it’s a non-fiction novel about what it means to be a black woman in 2016.