There's honesty. Then there's monotony. There's exposing an uncomfortable truth, then there's repeating the same secret we've already collectively confessed. There's examining the depth of your humanity and then there's bellowing "I'm only human!" over the rooftops of your complexities. The latter is deafening. The former, definitive.
No album of 2016 was more honest than Solange's A Seat at The Table. She describes the work as a project on identity, empowerment, independence, grief and healing. Most listeners, in turn, received it as therapy.
black music / black bodies / black lives / black spirits / black love / black power
We're told these are controversial ideas to pledge allegiance to; yet they all experience varying degrees of cultural tourism. In a time when it seems we want inclusion in industries never meant for us, I was happy to see one Knowles tell many truths in a single decree:
don't be mad if you can't sing along
just be glad you got the whole wide world
this shit is for us