When Beyoncé released Lemonade last April, it was one of the greatest celebrations of Black womanhood and collaborative Black excellence ever created by a mainstream artist—musically and visually, it was everything.
Or at least we thought it was everything, until her more experimental little sis Solange Knowles dropped A Seat at the Table just six months later. While Beyoncé’s genre-melting Lemonade illustrated her personal experiences with infidelity, family, and loss as a declaration of the worth and power of Black women, Solange’s record provides 21 tracks of beautifully arranged R&B with lyrics more relatable to the average Black American.
From addressing microaggressions on “Don’t Touch My Hair” to justifying her frustrations on “Mad” and listing all the ways she’s tried to cope (“Cranes in the Sky”) to anthems like “F.U.B.U.,” which calmly explains why “some shit is for us,” Solange delivers a soul-soothing album that’s become a source of joy and validation for the Black community. Insightful interludes featuring her mother Tina Knowles, her father and former manager Mathew Knowles, and Master P contribute to the project’s efficacy, while appearances from the likes of BJ the Chicago Kid, Lil Wayne, Kelly Rowland, Sampha, and Tweet sweeten the pot.
The success of Lemonade and A Seat at the Table made Solange and Beyoncé only the third pair of siblings in history to have number one albums in the United States (after Michael and Janet Jackson, and Master P and Silkk the Shocker). It’s pretty fucking incredible that the younger sister of Beyoncé, arguably the most celebrated living musician, was able to create her own lane with a project that’s just as culturally significant as Lemonade.
I always say the blacker the berry, the more likely that berry is to skip over Portland on tour. That’s why it was shocking to see that Solange, who made the most pro-Black album of 2016 (and maybe of all time), will headline the Soul’d Out Festival in the whitest major city in America. But I’m not complaining! We’re pretty starved for the presence of a Knowles sister—this will be Solange’s first show ever in the Rose City; Beyoncé hasn’t played here in nearly a decade.
If her recent SNL performance is any indication, Solange’s concert will be visually stunning—even if this mostly manifests in innovative hair and awe-inspiring wardrobe choices. Now I’m just praying: May she sing some older cuts like “Fuck the Industry,” the youthful and upbeat “I Decided,” or “Losing You” from 2012’s True. Oh, and may Beyoncé and Tina Knowles PLEASE come to Portland to support little sis. Amen.