Shape, Sound, Color: Solange

By Chloe Maddox

A year ago this week, Solange released her third studio album, A Seat at the Table. On the surface, it sounds like funky, dream-like R&B. However, the album deals with the misconceptions, and fallacies associated with African-Americans. With spoken notes, the album is both personal and impactful.  I was fortunate enough to attend Solange’s show at the Hollywood Bowl and experience the magic from the ethereal goddess herself. The night was full of talented artists such as King, Kelsey Lu, Moses Sumney, Kelela and Blood Orange, although, Solange was the one we were all there for.

For someone who’s collaborated with the Guggenheim Museum, it’s no wonder that the visuals for her show were astounding. Let me set the stage, literally: In the middle of the stage was a white riser that looked like the stairway to heaven. In the center of this was a sphere that resembled a giant pearl and to the side of the stairs was a pyramid. On either side of the sphere were her backup dancers and singers, all perfectly positioned. At the bottom sat the musicians in the string and horn section. When her set began, a galactic hum played and Solange descended from the top of the riser and began to sing.  Along with the props, Solange also played with lighting. She masterfully matched the shades of the lights to go along with the song to set the mood.

Throughout her performance, Solange proved to be not only a talented vocalist but also an exceptional performer. With her mesmerizing voice, she captured the attention of her diverse crowd and created an oasis of sound. She was a powerhouse, stomping, running, and even twerking as she sung. She played some of her hits off her latest album such as F.U.B.U., Weary, Mad, and of course, the classic Cranes in the Sky. But she also surprised the crowd, playing some of her older songs such as Crush and Lovers in the Parking Lot off of her earlier albums. Her movements, sometimes simple and fluid, other times bold and loud, were something to watch. And the subtle nod to the “Take a Knee” protest during Don’t Touch my Hair solidified her place in the hearts of activists everywhere. Solange is not one to shy away from taking pride in her blackness, and through her music and gestures, she radiates pure black beauty and talent.

 

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