By: Andrea Davis
Solange gave me A Seat at the Table and I was served with a soft, yet essential medley of song after song filled with messages of black empowerment, self-awareness, and honesty. Although the album itself is gentle-sounding, it is one that represents great strength. Solange has released three albums in her musical career and by far this is one of her best works.
One of my favorite songs on her album, and one I can relate to on a personal level, is the song titled “Don’t Touch My Hair.” Although the instrumentation and melody are simplistic, the message is strong. As a black woman with natural hair, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had to reprimand someone for their unrelenting desire to touch my hair without my permission. The lyrics, “Don’t touch my hair/When it’s the feelings I wear/Don’t touch my soul/When it’s the rhythm I know/Don’t touch my crown,” expresses the need for others to respect the natural hair journey and what it represents to a woman of color who has decided to take that journey. Being a natural girl in a relaxer-ridden world is not easy. The standard of beauty in our society calls for bone straight hair – not kinky, curly coils and dreadlocks. Natural hair is an outward expression and direct rejection of the idea that you are only beautiful with straight hair, so it is not something to “play” with, especially without permission. If you don’t understand or find yourself that fascinated with natural hair that you have to touch it, do yourself a favor and resist the urge to disrespect the fro and just have a conversation with a naturalista about her hair journey.
Solange served some neo-soul, gentle-rhythms, and powerful lyricism in her album A Seat at the Table and I believe this is one of the best albums of the year. In a music scene that now seems to be filled with no substance, Solange’s album is food for the soul.