This album is GOLD.
It is black, it is us. Like track 13, “F.U.B.U.” which if you’ve never heard of FUBU the clothing brand it stands for “for us, by us”. That’s exactly what Solange Knowles 3rd studio album is all about…us. Us, that live in a country, a world that does everything in its power to keep us down. Us, who get gunned down by police without questions asked. Us, because we’re told we aren’t good enough.
It’s clear that Solange has found her voice. Her soft melodies hold power and range. She Rises inthe first track which is the perfect lead for the rest of the album. Rise is about staying true to oneself good or bad. In her interview with The Fader Solange describes A Seat at the Table as a “personal journey”.
Solange’s third album is accompanied by vocals from artists like Raphael Saadiq, Tweet, and The-Dream. Tracks like Weary (which gives me chills, features amazing vocals from Tweet) and Cranes in the Sky are thought provoking and emotional. As a black american and as a black woman I can relate to songs like Mad and Don’t Touch My Hair (featuring Sampha). Seriously, I don’t want you touching my hair, it makes me mad, i’m allowed to be mad about that! Of course there’s more depth to it than that but that is what makes this album GOLD. Solange took the surface of not wanting our hair to be touched by curious white folks to defining what that exactly means to us. I don’t want you touching my hair because it’s a part of me that is shunned by YOU, I don’t touch yours because it’s not seen as different or exotic.
White people continuously try to tell us why we shouldn’t be mad or that we have no reason to be because there’s nothing to be mad about. “I ran into this girl, I said ‘I’m tired of explaining”, man thisshit is draining, I’m not really allowed to be mad“, this is true, we are tired of explaining why we are mad.
Interludes help tie it all together with commentary from Master P and Solange’s parents; Matthew Knowles and Tina Knowles.
“None of us are perfect. We live in an imperfect world
You know only God can judge me, that’s how I look at it.
…You know we’re putting people on a pedestal that’s human just like us.
You know, I mean, they got more drugs in the rich neighborhoods than they got in the hood.
A lot of their kids are dying from a overdose and things like that, think about it. Black kids have to figure it out! We don’t have rehabs to go to. You gotta rehab yourself. But for us, you can’t pull the plug on us and tell us it’s over. Not me!” – Interlude: Pedestals, Master P
When listening to ASATT I can feel the anger, the sadness, the passion, the rejoice, I can feel her journey, my journey, and the journey of black America.
Solange’s recent SNL performance of Cranes in the Sky:
She also performed Don’t Touch My Hair which I couldn’t find on Youtube but here’s the music video!
Let’s talk about that visual! It’s powerful, it’s art, it’s brilliant. Directed by Husband Alan Ferguson and Solange herself, the visuals for both Don’t Touch My Hair and Cranes in the Sky are as thought provoking as the music.
3. Interlude: The Glory is in You
4. Cranes in the Sky
5. Interlude: Dad Was Mad
7. Don’t You Wait
8. Interlude: Tina Taught Me
9. Don’t Touch My Hair
10. Interlude: This Moment
11. Where Do We Go
12. Interlude: For Us By Us
14. Borderline (An Ode to Self Care)
15. Interlude: I Got So Much Magic, You Can Have It
17. Interlude: No Limits
18. Don’t Wish Me Well
19. Interlude: Pedestals
21. Closing: The Chosen Ones
You can also see the BTS of the making of ASATT:
Originally published 11/16/16.