Miranda McdonaldIt’s been a year and several months since Solange released her seminal album, A Seat at the Table.
The recording artist tells Surface magazine how an award-winning book written in 2014 — namely black poet and playwright Claudia Rankine‘s Citizen: An American Lyric — helped her turn her inner rage about being a black woman in America into the album’s inspirational songs.
She says, “For me it was about [asking], ‘How can I exist with all of this rage and all of this pain and all of this anger? How can I possibly exist every day out here in the world with that? How do I turn that into glory?'”
Solange adds that Rankine’s book proved to her that, as black Americans, “We’re not crazy and that we’re not trippin’ and it’s not our imagination. That these things are very real. They are very painful and they are everywhere.”
The 31-year-old star also recalls other forms of art that helped to inform her creative sensibilities, such as Radcliffe Bailey’s Vessel sculpture, located in New Orleans’ Crescent Park.
Solange explains that it was her mother, Tina Lawson, who introduced her to art, adding that Tina would sit her, sister Beyoncé and Kelly Rowland around the kitchen table and “talk about the themes explored in works she had acquired.”
As Lawson tells Surface, “I think it was just to teach them that beauty comes in all different colors and forms and for them to feel regal and strong and powerful.”
In 2018, Solange hopes to create more performance art, as well as sculptures.
“I’ve spent my entire life dedicating myself to this craft, and yes, I am qualified!” she says. “This past year was just the beginning and just the start of where I’m really looking to go with my work.”
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