Review : A Seat At The Table — Solange

Solange Knowles

In A Seat At The Table Solange truly captures what it means to live life as a black woman. It is an gift to the black community.

The album starts with ‘Rise’, a slow R&B jammer with sharp percussion as the main sound. When asked about it, Solange said the song was for Ferguson and Baltimore. The song ends with these lyrics “Walk in your ways so you don’t wake up and rise”. It is a testament to the fact that if we want to become enlightened then we have to actively choose to change something.

Next up are two songs ‘Weary’ and ‘Interlude: The Glory is in You’ with lyrics about finding your place in the world and realizing that the “glory is in you”.

‘Cranes in the Sky’ is definitely one of those songs that just stand out. It can stand alone from the rest of the album and still somehow show you black womanhood. We go through things and instead of dealing with them we try to “drink it away”, or “sex it away”.

In ‘Interlude: Dad Was Mad and ‘Mad ft. Lil Wayne’ Solange tells of Black Anger and where it really stems from. One of the most poignant lyrics is “I ran into this girl, I said, ‘I’m tired of explaining.’ Man, this shit is draining, but I’m not really allowed to be mad”. Black womanhood in one two sentences.

Other songs on the album include ‘Don’t Touch My Hair’ and ‘F.U.B.U. (For Us By Us)’. With both of these songs Solange understands that not everybody will understand. These songs are literally meant to be experienced by the black community exclusively. When making the album, she understood that she would lose the support of some, but as she says in ‘F.U.B.U.’ “this shit is for us”.

Throughout the rest of the album we get a picture of black life as a whole. B.E.T. described it as “the journal we never get the time to write”. Solange presents an example of what it really is to be a woman. She captures the good, the bad, and the ugly. This is especially seen in the songs on the second half of the album including Borderline (An Ode to Self Care), which is about the importance of having a safe space in these times of turbulence. In a way, her music IS her protest. There is sorrow and pain but there is joy and magic too. It is soul and you can hear the weariness in her voice. It transcends pure music. It is an ode to black culture.

In her own words, Solange says that Seat at the Table is “meant to provoke healing and self-empowerment.” If A Seat at the Table is anything, it is honest. Solange does something in this album that many wouldn’t attempt to do. She captures the soul, life, and love of a black woman in a work of art. It is truly music for the soul.

— Outerspace Chase