It’s hard to be a Black woman in the world. We’re constantly sent messages and images that tell us that we aren’t enough. We are too dark, too big, too small, and somehow always just too much of the wrong things always. So when an artist that is unapologetically themselves chooses to celebrate what makes them different — including celebrating our Blackness and how we define womanhood — honoring them is the least we can do.
Today, with Solange Knowles’ 31st birthday underway, I am happy to celebrate her and the power she gives to Black girls everywhere to be unapologetically and boldly themselves.
Her mama, Tina Knowles, was among the first to wish her happy birthday and the traits of her daughter she chose to celebrate are exactly the things that make her so remarkable.
Under one post, she wrote, “I don't know anyone who is as headstrong and determined to do it [their] way, no matter the consequences. I admire your courage, boldness, intelligence, beauty, refusal to conform to others definition of traditional beauty, your kindness, loyalty, love of family, great mom skills, fashion sense, work ethic, activism...” She then shared a story about how Solange’s individuality shone through way back when Solange was in the 6th grade when a teacher called her disruptive. Even then, she was as fearless as she is now.
To some, Solange was introduced to them by her older sister Beyoncé. But Solange is her own force to be reckoned with. She experimented with styles and musical tones through her previous albums (Solo Star and Sol-Angel and the Hadley St. Dreams) but it was last year’s A Seat At the Table that made the mainstream sit up and take notice. A Seat At the Table was a direct response to the complexities of being a Black woman, dealing with everything from fetishization of Black hair to fighting against the stigma of being an “Angry Black Woman” and redefining self-care. It was a defining moment for Black people everywhere, but particularly for Black women and femmes, it was a moment when we felt powerful and seen.
One of the best things about Solange is her fearlessness. She openly experiments with fashion, beauty, and her own art, showing Black folks the creativity that we’ve always been capable of. The looks in her videos for “Cranes In the Sky” and “Don’t Touch My Hair” are already legendary.
Solange’s impact on the Black community only continues to grow. Yesterday, a little girl’s father tweeted out that his daughter pretended to be FaceTiming with Solange, only to have the artist respond herself wanting to make it a reality. Talk about accessible!
She continues to use her platform to spread awareness about topics that matter the most to her, and sharing with her fans that underneath it all, she’s just like them.
So here’s to you, Solange: for your fearlessness, your vulnerability, and your bravery to be unapologetically yourself while giving Black people everywhere the same courage.
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