Don't You Wait
Solange Knowles kills it in her 2016 album, A Seat at the Table.
In a conversation with her mother and Judnick Mayard, Solange says the album "is an invitation to allow folks to pull up a chair, get very close and have...hard uncomfortable truths be shared". Judnick Mayard summarises it further:
"In Black culture, the table is the unifier where family comes to talk and share over the bounty of what has been earned that day. Solange extends this seat as an invitation to outsiders to understand the truth of what it is to exist in Black skin and the labors that we take on for survival."
Although I have many favourite songs on the album, today I have been jamming to Don't You Wait. The original inspiration for this song came from an incident where, after Solange had spoken up for R&B music, disputing the way it was being talked about and abused by white critics, a speaker on a large platform made an insensitive and diminishing comment in response. As Solange recalled in the conversation, the speaker had said:
"if I were her, I would be careful not to bite the hand that feeds me...does Solange know that her audience...is predominately white and you're making enemies of us by speaking out on this, and don't bite the hand that feeds you".
She then went on to say:
Essentially, when I was writing “Don’t You Wait,” I feel like the overall essence of that song, outside of that singular incident, was also to friends of all colors that I had that I may have had to exit from my life in order to evolve and heal. These were people or friends, in general, that I felt like were maybe holding me back from being my greatest self.
The words "Don't you wait for me" commanding people to stop milling around waiting for her to change her tune to something that they feel entitled to. She's going her own way. "I don't want no part of it no longer, no longer. Looked around this place enough to know now. I don't want to waste the time to know you, to know you."
Her musical activism doesn't stop there, in fact the whole album is full of songs with powerful lyrics that have got me thinking a lot.
One of which is F.U.B.U. I love the song a lot, but as the lyrics proclaim: "All my n***** in the whole wide world. All my n***** in the whole wide world. Made this song to make it all y'all's turn. For us, this shit is for us." I kind of wonder whether I am allowed to listen to it, let alone sing along! I love what it is proclaiming. It is overwhelmingly justified, unifying and empowering for the black community, and I completely back it. I am just wondering how I can best support the anthem that it is and the message that it brings without being unintentionally disrespectful by listening to it, or singing along.
Holla at me if you have any thoughts!
Artwork - Kerris Ganeson
A Seat With Us: A Conversation Between Solange Knowles, Mrs. Tina Lawson, & Judnick Mayard - Judnick Mayard
I completely recommend this read if you are interested in Solange's music. It demonstrates the intense effort she put into creating a message so powerful. A message so necessary in this time to shake people out of their complacent closed mindedness and discriminatory beliefs and actions.