Solanges A Seat at the Table: A Bold, Poetic Meditation on Being Black in America

Solange Knowless first album in eight years deliberately confronts harsh truths about what it is to be black in Americaand were all better off for it. “>

Solange Knowles third full-length effort, A Seat at the Table, dropped not with a Lemonade-stylebang, but with a whisper. A week ago, Solange launched a new website, inviting devotees to sign up for a chance to be one of 86 people to get A seat at the table. Those fleet-fingered fans received a limited-edition hardcover book, complete with album lyrics, scattered poetry, photos shot by Carlota Guerrero, and blank pages.

Scrolling through the book online, even robbed of the ability to flip through physical pages, the famously independent singer-songwriters vision shines through. Every white space, lyrical turn, and aesthetic decision feels deliberate. As is the case with the best, long-awaited works, one immediately understands that the artist has taken exactly as much time as they needednot one year more, nor one second less. This creative control extends to the accompanying album, a 21-track experience that Solange has described asa project on identity, empowerment, independence, grief, and healing.

With her longest list of collaborators yet, A Seat at the Table shows off a tonal range that other artists cant touch. From Lil Wayne to Dev Hynes to Q-Tip to Kelly Rowland to Sean Nicholas Savage, the breadth and depth of Solanges influences mirror the wide reach of her poetry. A Seat at the Table, both the book and the album, defy easy comprehensionluckily, theyre beautiful enough on first glance to appease both diehard fans and surface skimmers. Sweet and clear, Solanges voice inarguably shares her sisters DNA. But Solange uses her instrument in distinct ways, weaving together synthetic funk, electronic pulses, and woven vocals to hypnotic effect.

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