FIVE YEARS AGO TODAY, Solange Knowles released her third studio album, A Seat at the Table. Lauded for its formidable musicianship, the project is a sonic tribute to the resilience of Black America.
Written and conceived on the grounds of Knowles’ ancestral home in New Iberia, Louisiana, A Seat at the Table is a master class in vulnerability. The 21 track LP is equal parts self-possessed and anxious. Grounded in the Houston native's journey of self-discovery, the album is a soundtrack of empowerment with celebratory anthems like “F.U.B.U” and “Don’t Touch My Hair.” Knowles merges contemporary R&B, funk, jazz and pop to connect past struggles to the present.
Anecdotes by her parents, Tina and Matthew Knowles collide with wisdom from rap legend, Percy “Master P” Miller to create inspiring interludes throughout the record. With A Seat At the Table, Knowles provides a melodic testimony of Black survival.
A Seat the Table is a time capsule of a pivotal moment of awakening in American history. 2016 was a year riddled with racial violence, global political turmoil, and an Earth-shattering presidential election. It was also a year defined by an outpour of artistic and musical expression, a Black cultural renaissance. Half a decade later, the album is still a salve—a necessary reminder of all that has been endured and a reminder of how much further there is to go.
In honor of the LP’s five year anniversary, here are five lessons learned from the underrated songs on A Seat at the Table:
Sometimes you have to disassociate from your body to process the pain in the world. That's fine, just find your way back.
There’s no reason to be afraid to speak your truth. Those who are meant to hear it will be there to listen.
There’s a lot to be mad about, but don’t let it consume you.
Self-preservation is the name of the game. Take a bubble bath, call your loved ones and a deep breath.
Don’t let anybody steal your magic!