Solange Knowles celebrated the release of A Seat at the Table, her first album since 2012, with two new videos. Co-directed by Knowles and her husband, Alan Ferguson, visuals for “Cranes in the Sky” and “Don’t Touch My Hair” dropped Sunday night.
“I am completely overwhelmed with gratitude and humbled by your love and support for #ASeatAtTheTable. Completely overwhelmed with gratitude,” Knowles, who is Beyoncé’s sister, wrote on Twitter before unveiling the videos. She later added, “You guys are literally making my arm pits/ palms sweat so much, lol. I’m so damn excited !!! Thank youuuuuuuuu!!!!”
In an interview with her mother, Tina Lawson, and writer Judnick Mayard, Knowles explained the meaning behind “Don’t Touch My Hair,” noting that “hair is incredibly spiritual, and, energetically, it really encompasses and expresses who we are.”
“Obviously, my relationship with hair, being that I grew up literally in a hair salon, is very deep and very complex. I think that one of the things that I’m also trying to communicate through that song is the way that people see us through our hair. It’s almost my India.Arie ‘I Am Not My Hair’ moment,” she added. “I feel like when I cut my hair and I decided to wear my hair natural, I didn’t feel any more pro-Black or like I identified any more or less in my walk as a Black woman. That just wasn’t my personal journey. I think I’ve been on so many fashion shoots and anything in regards to fashion, which is still a predominantly white industry, and also feeling the void of tokenism through my hair being an afro and what that meant to the fashion world. There was a fashion editor of a major magazine who was white and for Halloween she wore an afro wig and had black face and called herself Solange. There was another magazine that composed celebrity-look-alikes, and they used a dog for me. They talked about my hair being like one of a dog, literally. So, hair just became so complex for me. I remember my mother came with me on a two-show run that I did, and all of the micro-aggressions of us traveling within those four days had me noting to her that whenever I would wear my hair straighter, I would typically have an easier time traveling. So, the song is as much as what it feels like to have your whole identity challenged on a daily basis, although physically touching the hair is extremely problematic!
Check out “Don’t Touch My Hair” above, and “Cranes in the Sky” below.