It’s such beauty in black people, and it really saddens me when we’re not allowed to express that pride in being black; and that if you do then it’s considered anti-white. No! You’re just pro-black. And that’s okay. The two don’t go together. Because you celebrate black culture does not mean that you don’t like white culture; or that you putting it down. It’s just taking pride.
What’s irritating is when somebody says, you know, “They’re racist!” “That’s reverse racism!” or “They have a Black History Month, but we don’t have a White History Month!”
Well, all we’ve ever been taught is white history: so why are you mad at that? Why does that makes you angry? That is to suppress me and to make me not be proud.
-Track #8, Interlude: Tina Taught Me
If you were wondering how it feels to be black in America right now, Solange has the perfect answer.
Our anger, our pride, our strength and our shortcomings; she addresses it all with such fluidity and accuracy that it’s hard to not straighten your back and feel a sense of camaraderie.
A few years ago, Solange moved to New Orleans and debuted a new look. I was somewhat intrigued. What made her do that? Why now — or then?
But it all makes sense now.
The NOLA has always been a magical place to me, like the literal embodiment of black magic. I haven’t spent much time there. All of my trips to Louisiana have been to Baton Rouge to visit my family but nonetheless, something about New Orleans feels special. The horns in jazz music makes me happy. The infusion of French and Creole patois makes my soul smile. Seeing children take part in first line gives me hope for the future.
In school, when we learned about the Louisiana purchase, I took pride, like that’s where my people are from but as I got older, I wanted to know more about my roots. There had to be more. I felt kind of envious of people who would travel to other countries to be with their extended family or visit where their grandparents came from. I felt like I was shortchanged because I couldn’t trace my heritage outside of the States.
And while my quest still isn’t over, Solange’s latest project solidified the glorious feeling I have about myself, my family history and black culture as a whole.
Sometimes it takes going back to your roots to be able to effectively communicate with the people you want to reach and teach.
On Twitter, Solange said the project is meant to “provoke healing and journey of self empowerment.” I can certainly say that I’ve received the message and I hope others will allow themselves to as well.