Dear Solange, Thank you.

Confession: I listen to Solange’s 2016 album, “A Seat at the Table” at least once every week or two weeks. If not the album in its entirety, I play a few tracks throughout the day. It’s just that great and I mean it. This album does something to my soul and allows me to be delve into a creative space. When I listen to the album it’s as if the words trapped in mind are easily brought to life with my pen and poured out onto my notepad. “A Seat at the Table” is empowering, thoughtful, thought provoking and magical. 

This album is authentic and unique in its representation of Black Pride and Pro-Blackness. Solange perfectly pieced this incredible album together with soft melodies and harmonies, meaningful lyrics and powerful words from  featured speakers. Her angelic voice filled with soft notes makes it seemingly effortless for it to match  wit the varying genres on her album. The songs on the album range from a classic R&B vibe to groovy 1970s sound to modern hip-hop. The sound and feel of “A Seat at the Table” is as electic and original as Solange’s fashionable ensembles. I have the feeling that unlike numerous other musicians who work tirelessly to acquire mainstream attention end up derailing from their true musical purpose and message, by selling their self short just to appease listeners. I hold the utmost respect for Solange because I don’t think she purposely made any tracks to appease listeners whether they are Solo fans, not fans or first time listeners of her musical craft. Her popular singles, “Don’t touch my hair” and “Cranes in the sky” lyrically and visually depict what she represents. Solange is not afraid  to show her love for her Black culture and share it with the world. “A seat at the Table” is unapologetic and in no way, I absolutely mean no way is Solange trying to measure up to her  Super-Star Big sis, Queen Bey (Beyoncé). So for all of you Bey Hive supporters and nay Sayers, Solange’s 2016 album proves to the universe that she can and has made a name for herself. Her authentic afrocentricism is untouchable✊🏾. Solange is fearless for this album in various unimaginable ways. For so long, I have listened to Solange’s music, admittedly copied a few hair and fashion ideas from her, but all the while I felt as though she hadn’t acquired the fame or acknowledgement she deserved.  Her sound has always been a little different from other artists, having a sort of 1950s-1970s musical influence. She is truly an old soul in a young modern woman’s body. “A Seat at the Table gives me so much hope for the future. In the midst of every financial set back, job loss, social isolation,emotional withdrawal and self-doubt, this album brought me through each day with a smile and optimism.  Solange has earned the recognition she deserves by creating such an authentic and lyrically beautiful album. I have no doubt Solange’s vast fan base and super stardom will reach all time heights. There are thousands of young people who resonate with what she represents, including myself! 

This album will go down in history as a classic. It’s depth and influence surpasses it just being perceived as a great album with songs. It’s a movement.  It allowed listeners to feel, to think, to understand and to learn. Most importantly, it taught us to love our Blackness regardless of societal perpetuating images and messages of Black cultural hatred.  We are stronger and greater than the world wants us to believe. 

   Thank you Solange Knowles for blessing            2016 with “A Seat at the Table”

Black Identity Crisis in America: How do you identify yourself?

Lately,one of the most controversial topics of discussion that has the black community uneasy is Raven Symone’s undermining of her cultural roots in her televised interview with Oprah Winfrey.

The black community reacted in upheaval by expressing their frustration on various social sites. During the interview  Symone identified herself as being solely an American and not wanting to be labeled as “African-American”. Symone’s preference of being called American, definitely exudes her patriotism, but makes her look (in my opinion) ignorant and unappreciative of her culture. Numerous people of the black community, (Africans,African-Americans,West-Indian, bi-racial,etc.)who had seen or heard by word of mouth, were either  baffled, dumbfounded or you can even say offended. However,the common emotion the black community shares is utter outrage.

It’s sad to know that there was a period where OUR history was disallowed. Black history was not to be mentioned, much less taught. The goal was to assimilate our people and brainwash the minds of African-Americans.It’s heart-aching to know that there was a time in which we didn’t matter, after all the contributions the Black community had done to develop the American nation.

In this circumstance it would seem common, even justifiable for me to join the fellow angered population,but I will not. I believe Raven Symone, just like the large list of “people” (maybe I should call them brown people) who do not want to be categorized as Africans, possess the constitutional right to exercise their freedom of speech. They are allowed to be liberated human beings with their own beliefs, thoughts, and judgement even if “we” (the people who share the same color) disagree.

My personal concern with the black/colored community of America in general, is the need for identification and feeling of belonging. We all know America is a melting pot which is composed of myriad nationalities and cultural backgrounds.However, racial ancestry indeed proves that black/brown people are all direct descendants of Africans. There are so many stereotypes surrounding Africans and I believe that is why there are current “black Americans” who do not wish to identify their selves as African-American. Quite frankly, I perceive their logic as senseless and hypocritical.

  • Why do you not want to be associated with Africans?
  • Is African culture a disgrace to you ?
  • When the word African, precedes American does it make you feel dehumanized or less American?

I just want to say this to all those out there who are Black Americans. The HIStory being taught in American educational systems is not the complete story, it is just a small synopsis of a much larger and in depth novel. So if you think your ancestry begins with slavery and ends with the civil rights movement, then my precious darlings you have so much more to learn.  I say this because I am the product of the American public school system.Each year,since my enrollment in school, teachers taught the same boring, repetitive black history curriculum. The black history lessons became less exciting to me.However, during my junior year of college I took a Black studies course and my horizons were broadened, Although I’d love to list all the things I’ve learned, I will save my readers the agony. Let’s just say the information I acquired within that 4 month course is powerful enough to remain with me for a lifetime.

The point I am making is, if it wasn’t for that course I probably would not want to be categorized as African-American. Then I would be lost, trying to find something to identify myself with.

If you are not African or  a descendant of Africans, then what are you ? who are you?