Since Solange Knowles debut­ed her third stu­dio album, A Seat at the Table, in Sep­tem­ber it has remained a con­sis­tent top­ic of con­ver­sa­tion. The Bill­board num­ber one album is a tes­ta­ment to how much Solange has grown as an artist. Songs like Rise and Cranes give voice to the deep strug­gles that black wom­en face. 

Solange Knowles' album, A Seat at the Table, was released on September 30, 2016.
Solange Knowles’ album, A Seat at the Table, was released on Sep­tem­ber 30, 2016.

What most don’t know is that the album was inspired by a racist con­ver­sa­tion between two white men, which Solange recent­ly dis­cussed with Q2 Music pod­cast host Hel­ga Davis.

In 2013, Solange made a com­ment on Twit­ter that didn’t sit well with some. She said that white jour­nal­ists should know about “deep Brandy album cuts” and have a holis­tic under­stand­ing of black music before offer­ing grades and reviews of R&B albums. The New York Times reached out to the singer to appear on a pod­cast to dis­cuss her com­ments. She declined but the host of the pod­cast, Jon Cara­man­i­ca, dis­cussed them any­way. A writer and guest on the show, also a white man, not­ed that the atten­dees of Solange’s con­certs were over­whelm­ing­ly white, and she should be care­ful not to upset them by ques­tion­ing their knowl­edge of black music.

“The turn­ing point hap­pened when, essen­tial­ly, I was on Twit­ter pro­fess­ing my love for the artist Brandy, who I’m a mas­sive fan of. And there were a lot of White indie music crit­ics who crit­i­cized, actu­al­ly, me pro­fess­ing this undy­ing love for Brandy. … I essen­tial­ly chal­lenged writ­ers that if they were writ­ing about R&B music, that they need­ed to know who Brandy was. And that was not warm­ly received from every­one. …

The New York Times was doing a pod­cast and they invit­ed me to be a part of it and it was on cul­tur­al tourism. … And I declined. I didn’t real­ly see any incen­tive for me to be involved in that con­ver­sa­tion and in that way. I didn’t feel the need to have a debate about some­thing that I was cul­tur­al­ly a part of, and I didn’t feel the need to defend that. So they brought up my com­ments on this pod­cast, and the writer, who was a White male actu­al­ly said, “I went to Solange’s con­cert and I not­ed who her audi­ence was, and if I were her, I’d be care­ful of mak­ing the­se state­ments because I’d be care­ful not to bite the hand that feeds me.”

The not so sub­tle racist remark both­ered Solange for years, and thus A Seat at the Table was born. 

“I began to think a lot about that con­ver­sa­tion and replay­ing it, and it haunt­ed me. And it haunt­ed my moth­er to hear some­one telling her daugh­ter ‘don’t bite the hand that feeds you’ And also the racial subtleties—[that] are not so subtle—of what that encom­pass­es when you say that to a Black wom­an. Then you con­nect it by say­ing ‘Do you know who’s buy­ing your records?’ So I was essen­tial­ly being told to shut up.”

Instead of allow­ing her­self to be silenced, Solange cre­at­ed an album that is exquis­ite and pow­er­ful — an album that forces lis­ten­ers to cry, laugh, self-reflect, rejoice, and demand. The exchange was a turn­ing point for  Solange as an artist and we’re glad that she used that moment to tap into her Black Girl Mag­ic and cre­ate an album that basi­cal­ly says…screw you.

Lis­ten to the com­plete pod­cast inter­view here.

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10 Comments on "A White Music Writer Told Solange Not to ‘Bite the Hand That Feeds Her’ By Pissing Off Her White Fans"

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RACIST

I hope Solange does piss whites off so the­se lib­er­al idiots learn the truth about race.

notconvincedgranny

White priv­i­lege at it’s nadir. Now we have a white man telling a black wom­an about being black.

Samantha

I have that album. It’s my first Solange album and I loooove it! That remark was very racist. Who in the heck do he think he is to fix his mouth and say that about her? She’s a grown beau­ti­ful Black and proud Wom­an! As an artist you have a free­dom of expres­sion. Every­one will not like it. That’s life. I hope he received and under­stood her mes­sage loud and clear with her last album.

Karminia

I’m so glad that she used that expe­ri­ence in order to actu­al­ly grow and show how much she appre­ci­ates her roots. You can’t write or sing just for your fans you have to do it for your­self as well and she man­aged to do it with so much soul poured into it. I mean “please don’t touch my hair” is still on the top of my playlist up to this very day. She twirled all over that hate.

Beverly Kesse

She has grown so much as an artist over the past years and I love her music so much!! It may not be the most pop­u­lar opin­ion but she is my favourite knowles sis­ter. It is impor­tant to focus on how she has grown not what peo­ple who don’t know her music are say­ing! love her!!
http://bevseyeview.com/

Jaynie Murphy Bullock
Jaynie Murphy Bullock

I will admit that I have slept on Solange’s music. Nev­er was my style. But I heard the song, Craines and it is so deep and her voice is so good. She has a new fin in me.

Pot BW

I’m look­ing at the relat­ed arti­cles and Solange is real­ly build­ing her brand — she is rock­ing of course the nat­u­ral hair and she has a PUMA Col­lec­tion. I am so proud of her. I sup­port her — boss moves Solange.

Pot BW

Like Solange says This Sh*t is for Us. Who are white peo­ple to try to define black music for us? They need to STFU! It doesn’t come from them — it comes from our Souls some­thing white peo­ple have tried so hard for so many years to emu­late — but could nev­er under­stand. Copy­cat us is the best that they can do. I am lov­ing Solange’s new CD and I will pay to see her in con­cert.

kaydenpat

Wow. Solange is pret­ty deep. Love her!

FeeFee

This is why I love Solange. White soci­ety told her to stop com­plain­ing and she respond­ed with an epic f*ck you album!

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