Fuse is once again celebrating an extended Black History Month by highlighting a variety of rising forces who are creating Future Black History before our very eyes. Today we are honoring Solange, who inspires black women to own their beauty and be proud of their culture.
Before she made waves on her own, Solange was known as Beyoncé's little sister who sometimes sung backup or performed with Destiny's Child. But she proved she was worth way more than being stuck behind her sibling's shadow when she released her debut album Solo Star at age 16. Since then, Solange created her own musical path by dabbling in pure R&B, Motown (2008's Sol-Angel and the Hadley St. Dreams) and dream pop and alternative (2013's Saint Heron).
The singer has always had a unique and captivating personality, from her outspoken interviews to turning up with her son Julez to Rae Sremmurd's "No Flex Zone" at her New Orleans wedding to Alan Ferguson. She has even donning a countless amount of unpredictable hairstyles rooted in black culture among a sea of pin-straight pageant tresses, giving her fellow black sisters the inspiration to own their natural hair. From a close-shaven Caesar cut to box braids and her freeing afro, Solange could rock it all with ease. She captured dozens of fans who appreciated her indie-leaning aesthetic throughout her career. Yet the mainstream world finally grasped her artistic concept when she graced us with A Seat at the Table (released in September 2016).
There's a reason why it ranked so high in our best albums of 2016 list. ASATT is heavily anchored in some of the most proud, awe-inducing blackness that we haven't seen from popular singers in a long time. The last few years have been more than frightening and angering for modern-day black people, and Solange's album managed to compact our exhaustive feelings in a 21-track collection. From the unfiltered attitude of "F.U.B.U." to the outpour of frustrated emotions in "Cranes in the Sky" and the defiance of "Don't Touch My Hair," these songs reflect a variety of moods we've all endured through the plight of new wave racism and journey for inner peace. Solange heard our cries, the same cries she experienced, and beautifully funneled them with her art.
But Solange's carefree nature extends past her music—this girl truly lives it with every step she takes. Last fall, the singer publicly recalled when she was harassed while trying to enjoy a Kraftwerk concert with her son, his friend and her husband in New Orleans. She described the incident, where white women yelled at her to sit down before allegedly throwing a lime, to her followers “so that maybe someone will understand why many of us don’t feel safe in many white spaces. We don’t ‘bring the drama.’ Fix yourself.”
Earlier this month at the 2017 GRAMMYs, Solange had no issue calling out the Recording Academy for their lack of diversity. The artist (who took home the Best R&B Performance award for "Cranes in the Sky") tweeted and later deleted:
“There have only been two black winners in the last 20 years for album of the year. There have been over 200 black artist who have performed. Create your own committees, build your own institutions, give your friends awards, award yourself, and be the gold you wanna hold my g’s.”
Whether it's pouring out her frustrations in a song or candidly expressing her innermost thoughts on social media, Solange continues to dance and revel to the rhythm of heart. This is why her place in future black history will be solidified.