Solange Gave Us 'When I Get Home': A Testament to the Culture History and Power of Womanhood
As we all know, Black history month was filled with nothing but societal strife (from the Jesse Smollett hate crime debacle to Prada and Gucci’s insensitive racial clothing), but with the close of Black History Month and the start of Women’s History Month, Solange unexpectedly released her fourth studio album, When I Get Home. This announcement of the release came via a tweet from none other than Solange herself just hours before it hit major streaming platforms.
Most fans had an idea that something was up, but it wasn’t until Solange teased the project in a slew of promotional images via Black Planet, a black-millennial social media site. Until she confirmed the release, it was hard to pinpoint the suspicions because Solange is relatively silent on social media - other than the occasional tweet here and there. When the project was officially dropped, I was over the moon, going straight to hit the download button on iTunes. Now that it has been a full week since I’ve digested the complexities of Black History Month, the soul goddess made me appreciate what it means to be a woman and a savior to society, this Woman’s History Month.
When I Get Home is genius in that Solange spoke directly to the experiences many black people encounter while providing enchanting lyrics and images and the plights in identity ( one frame had a woman on a stripper pole). Ever since her acclaimed third studio album A Seat At The Table in 2016 , she lyrically confronted the everyday struggle of racism that runs rampant all the time, especially in the midst of an impassioned election year ( Donald Trump nomination and election). She helped solidify herself as a conscious leader who addressed ownership and agency in the Black Community. This is a bittersweet sense of realism that myself and other millennial Black Women never experienced before. And with her status, it meant that the everyday trials and tribulations of Black womanhood were unapologetically getting recognition on a mainstream level. Each track was a glimpse into Solange’s life outside of stardom- the portrayal of what it means to be the everyday Black woman. Intimacy, honesty, and love made the album what it is. Solange herself, and other Black women held these aspects close, without the possibility of letting it go.
Solange has a voice that is calm and sweet like nectar, making her lyrical prowess even more noteworthy—she never has had to raise her voice, for people to hear her story. She speaks for the Black girls who are on the shy and soft-spoken side trying to figure out who they are and understands the worth in their story.
Even though A Seat At The Table served as a meaningful and sorrowful guide to navigating Black womanhood, When I Get Home, which was deemed an "exploration of origin," promises praise as Black women are more than just untimely suffering. This is clear as Solange explored her Houston-centric roots with promotional imagery— carefree cowboys, retro cars (Deloreans), bedazzled cowboy boots, and the intricate beauty salon hair.
Solange, just like every other Black woman, are multifaced beings that cannot be boxed into one story or category - a depiction of what they have to offer to the society that they are in. Truly hearts of gold.
Cover image via Complex