“Come and get close. It’s not going to be pretty. It’s not going to be perfect. It’s going to get a little gritty, and it might get a little intense, but it’s a conversation we need to have.”
For the latest issue of Interview magazine, cover star Solange dives into an insightful conversation with her older sister, Beyonce. With thirty years of sisterhood behind them, one might assume that there’d be nothing new to learn. But, Beyoncé Knowles’s deeply personal and thought-provoking questions stimulated responses with equal depth from sister Solange.
Solange and Beyoncé grew up in Houston, Texas, where they learned how to preserve strength and individualism in a world heavy with discrimination. “As far back as I can remember, our mother always taught us to be in control of our voice and our bodies and our work,” Solange tells Beyoncé in Interview.
And take control she did. With her latest release, A Seat at the Table (2016), Solange explores new levels of her voice, visuals, and production capabilities. “When I started to work on the sonics for this record, I realized that I had to create such a very specific sonic landscape in telling the story…there were holes that no one else could really fill for me,” Solange explains.
This sense of vulnerability in Solange’s artistic work is manifested throughout the entire album. From the cover image of Solange with clips in her hair and a natural complexion, to the inspiration for lyrics and song titles, Solange Knowles speaks of hardship, determination, and racial divides.
When Beyoncé questioned what the title to her song “Cranes in the Sky” meant, Solange revealed that as it was written eight years back, “this idea of building up, up, up that was going on in our country…and not really dealing with what was in front of us…that crashed and burned…that line came to me because it felt so indicative of what was going on in my life as well…not wanting to put into perspective all of these ugly things that are staring us in the face.”
It is undeniable that these two women have a great deal to be proud of. Not simply for the musical talent and success that they’ve had, but rather, the capability of speaking to multiple demographics and generations while staying true to their values and family.
Solange’s album A Seat at the Table breaks the barrier of perfection to uncover the ugly, accept the bad, and celebrate the beauty within it all.