Solange Talks Purpose and the Significance of ‘A Seat at the Table’ as a ‘Glamour’ Woman of the Year

More than any artist out there right now, Solange has proven time and time again that she is the embodiment of being herself. She is fearless, talented, soulful, transcendent, transformative, and divergent. And she does it all without apology. Anybody could have faded to the background and acted as a shadow under the massive light that is superstar big sister Beyoncé. But not Solange. She had her own direction, her own style, her own swagger, and her own voice – who knew it’d blow us away as hard as it did when she gave the world A Seat at the Table.

In addition to the cultural significance of the album, as well as her activism and other contributions to art and music, Solange has been crowned one of Glamour magazine’s Women of the Year. Undoubtedly, she’s earned it. Solange walked the magazine through her journey to birthing the A Seat at the Table project. Read about her process below.

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On the motivation behind creating A Seat at the Table:

“I knew I had to make this record to become a better human, better mother, better wife, better friend. I knew I was carrying around so many microaggressions that transitioned into trauma, that transitioned into rage, that transitioned into a weight I carried around. I needed to disassemble these things as much as possible so I could operate from a place of healing and so I wouldn’t pass that negativity on to my son.”

On how the three months spent making the album helped it all come to life:

“While I worked on the album on and off for three years, at one point I spent three months writing songs in Patoutville, Louisiana, about two hours from New Orleans, where the popu­la­tion is, like, 300 people. There’s such a rich regional culture there—a sense of pride, tradition, and resilience. It inspired me in such a powerful way. We worked in a house on a sugar plantation, and I’ll never forget feeling the closest I could possibly feel to my ancestors, to my lineage. It put me in a constant state of reflection. I really wanted to reclaim and change the narrative—whether it was people challenging who wrote what on my album, whether it was about some editor commenting on my hair in a story or someone feeling like they were entitled to space in my life. I needed to unfold, reveal, and discover my truth.”

The support and love from the women whom I intended this album to reach is what impacted me the most. I saw nothing but black women embracing me, holding me down, lifting me up. I am wide open with thanks.

@glamourmag @petrafcollins

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On the importance of women using their voices to tell their stories:

“There’s such a dated, tired narrative that women are taking a risk by standing up for themselves, writing their own narratives, and having control over their bodies. But I felt so much freedom in speaking my truth. I no longer wanted to stay silent. I didn’t care what I had to lose. I started to weigh what the risks of not telling my truth were versus burning bridges that needed to be burned.”

On the women who inspire and “raise” her:

“When I think about my evolution, I think of my mother; she has been the force of womanhood through my entire life, and I cannot thank her enough for all the sacrifices she made for us to exist as we exist today. I also credit pioneers like Grace Jones, Erykah Badu, and Kelis, who have done the work and shared a wealth of information. Merely existing every day as a black woman in this country is a form of activism. Cardi B is an activist; she’s my feminist icon.

“For so long this idea existed that as black women, we could not be multifaceted and nuanced. I’m excited I get to be this complex, complicated, loud, vocal, flawed woman and still be worthy of recognition. It only makes me want to keep evolving. Keep standing. Keep fighting to make sure my body is my body, my mind is my mind, my story is my story.”

Read the feature in full here.

Photo Credit: Solange/Instagram

Sheriden Chanel is a twenty-something writer, Beyoncé enthusiast, and lover of all things visual art. Keep up with her and her musings on social via @indiebyline.