Why the Critics Need to Leave Solange Alone
I am not the kind of writer that goes picking arguments with other writers, especially when those other writers are also black; however, I did see something recently that made me raise my eyebrows, and that had me completely disgusted.
I’ve always said that, at times, us black folk can be harder on each other than we are on people of other ethnicities. Sometimes we can be our own harshest critics, and that really makes me sad.
As most of you already know, Solange Knowles dropped her album A Seat At The Table a few weeks ago, and it was widely well-received, so much so that it made it to the number one spot on the Billboard 200 chart.
I guess some people couldn’t handle two women from the same family dominating black music in the same year, and, unfortunately, some of those people were black.
In life, no matter how many people cheer you on, there will always be a section of persons that seem to position themselves to jeer at you. Needless to say, the haters came for Solange.
I saw writers at black online magazines (none of which I will mention by name, because we’re not here to create drama) practically rip the chart-topping album apart. Some called Solange’s vocals “mediocre,” and compared her to other black vocalists whom they felt she couldn’t compete with. I did not know that black music was a competition, and that artists had to try to outdo each other artistically and vocally. Silly me; I thought we were all a family here in the black community, and that, as such, we should act accordingly.
Others, believe it or not, criticized the album for “depending too much on blackness” when it came to its creativity and content. My bad; I had no idea that it was politically incorrect to be unapologetically black and to let that show in everything you do, including your art. That is exactly what Solange is (unapologetically black) and if some of you are going to fault her for letting that show in her music, you probably need to ask yourselves if there isn’t some unaddressed self-hatred stored up inside you.
Then there were those who called the album “opportunistic,” stating that Solange used the woes affecting the black community, and the concerns of its members, to gain album sales. Y’all, black people wrote this stuff. I’m not kidding.
Here’s the thing; if Solange were out there stifling her blackness, wearing waist-long, stick-straight hair extensions and singing about everything else but being black and being woke, these same people sitting behind their computers writing foolishness about her would be criticizing her for doing nothing to contribute to black culture and black pride. Damned if you do, and damned if you don’t.
I could go on forever about all the reasons why it’s just unacceptable for black people to pick the very musicians who go hard for the black community apart that way, but I’ll sum it all up by repeating something my grandmother always told me and that their grandmothers should have told them: If you don’t have anything positive to say, don’t say anything at all.
By: Danielle Dixon
Follow her on Twitter: @tooprettydani