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The Paw Print

Jefferson High School, Daly City, California

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December 11, 2017

A Seat at the Billboard Table

Soulful and empowering, Solange Knowles’ newly released album “A Seat at the Table” has earned her and her sister Beyonce two seats at the table of Billboard music history.

The two sibling artists join the exclusive few siblings who have held albums ranking number one on the Billboard top 200 music charts.  Historically speaking, only pairs like Michael and Janet Jackson and Master P and Silkk the Shocker have achieved such a feat, which some claim as a testament to the musical genius of the Knowles sisters.

Monica Santo Domingo, a sophomore at the University of California in Davis, was ecstatic to hear Solange’s new release.  “I was honestly excited because I love pop music so much, but I also love ambient, soulful music and when I heard the queen of pop’s artsy sister was making music, I was expecting a combination of the two sounds.”

However, like Beyonce’s “Lemonade” album, “A Seat at the Table” is more than just the music itself.  Centered on empowering the black community, especially females, songs like “Don’t Touch My Hair” send a certain type of message amidst the political and racial turmoil in America.  

“The song “Don’t Touch my Hair” addresses how African-American women view our hair as something that is very special to us, and how others should respect this,” Tionnie Alexander, a senior at Jefferson, elaborates,  “I think that the album was very pro-black and uplifting.  I think that it sends out an overall positive vibe and message.”

Solange’s message of self-acceptance is especially aimed at black females, encouraging them to love the skin and hair that American society has historically always rejected.  

“The thing about Solange is she sports her natural hair, dark skin, and other things that tend to be looked down upon,” Luisa Laguisma says, a sophomore at Notre Dame High School.  “Although I’m not black, it still motivates me to embrace certain aspects of my culture that my culture tries to distance themselves from.”

A Jefferson alum, Amirah Tulloch had this to add about Beyonce and Solange’s social activism through music:  “What they’ve done is use their position of fame and their name recognition in order to spread a real and important message to a wider audience and an audience they feel needs to hear it, which, in my opinion, is something that so many others in their position need to do: to use their fame and power to speak on such important issues and teach people the importance of empowerment.”

As for the two Knowles breaking records in the music industry, many fans claim that their high-ranking albums are a testament to the way the sisters are revolutionizing the purpose and medium of music.  

“Black girl magic for the win!” Santo Domingo exclaims.  “I feel like it must be so inspirational and motivational for little black girls to see their names up in media.  That black girls can be free to act in whichever way they choose.  Little black girls can look at Solange and see that they don’t need to wear weave or makeup or clothes that adheres to traditional white beauty standards and still make it into, not only the music world, but also any form of media.  Little black girls can look at Beyonce and see that they don’t have to “go natural” to prove they love themselves and their blackness.  Anyone in general, really, can see these positive representations of black women in the media and the various layers they hold [within] them.”

Regardless of a person’s music taste, Beyonce and Solange’s music has impacted and influenced how the younger generations understand issues like racial and gender inequality, and perhaps even how we perceive ourselves..  

“The reason “Lemonade” and now Solange’s new album are so popular,” Tulloch adds, “is not only because they’re catchy or flashy or the next new thing.  It’s because they’re producing art on a level that is meant to transcend, to escalate and inform and empower and renew and revolutionize.”

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