She’s Not Just Beyoncé’s Younger Sister…


Beyoncé Knowles first blessed us with her talents as a member of Destiny’s Child in the late ‘90s, and the girl band’s popularity continued to grow when they recorded the theme song for Disney Channel’s animated television series, The Proud Family. The music video for the opening theme song included a fourth member unknown to most, Beyoncé’s 15-year-old little sister Solange Knowles.

So who is Solange Knowles? You may have seen her in movies such as Johnson Family Vacation and Bring It On: All or Nothing. You may even know her as the woman who beat up Jay-Z in an elevator in 2014. (Stop irresponsibly speculating. We will never know what happened in that elevator that night.)  

Even though they may look alike and share the same maiden name, Beyoncé and Solange are two very different people and artists. In recent years, Solange has been quite outspoken about her political views, especially when it comes to issues of race, and many people questioned whether or not her views would be reflected in her new album.

A Seat at the Table was released on Sept. 30, and it is Solange’s first full album since 2008’s Sol-Angel and the Hadley St. Dreams. She describes Seat as, “A project on identity, empowerment, independence, grief and healing.” The soul and authenticity in this album reminded me of Lauryn Hill’s 1998 masterpiece, The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill. This album is a bold, unapologetic statement on her thoughts and views on social issues, and fans are loving it. It is currently No.1 on the Billboard 200 Chart and the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart. You can hear the influences of female groups from the Motown Era, and Solange’s soulful voice shines in each of her songs. Every single track was written and produced by Knowles, and they include guest appearances from Lil Wayne, The-Dream, BJ the Chicago Kid, Q-Tip, Kelly Rowland, Tweet, and a few others.

Here are a few of the key songs from the album:

“Cranes in the Sky” –– When first released this song debuted at No. 74 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. It’s a relatively upbeat song that talks about how people attempt to deal with pain or run away from it. The music and the soul in Solange’s voice make this song so raw and relatable.

“Don’t Touch My Hair” –– Many black women can relate to the complexity and confusion that comes along with natural hair. This song is a metaphor for Solange’s identity as a black woman. It talks about people’s curiosity and how they may not necessarily understand the importance of certain issues, or in this case, her hair.  

“F.U.B.U.” –– This song is named after the apparel line which was created in 1992, and it stands for, “For Us, By Us.” It is the most direct song on the album, and it talks about cultural appropriation and racism. You may or may not agree with what Solange says in this song, but she boldly states her opinions.

No, Solange is not Beyoncé, and to be quite honest, their artistry isn’t really similar. However, Solange is still a very important artist for our generation. We often look at different artists and celebrities who lack authenticity and relatability. Solange Knowles is not a reality television star with several followers on social media––she’s a mother, a wife, and a black woman who is not afraid to be who she truly is.

This album may not be your cup of tea, but please do not ignore Solange’s gifts and talents. She is no longer the sassy cheerleader that you may remember in Bring It On, but she is continuing the conversation on a topic that is constantly in the media. This is a great opportunity to educate yourselves on the topic of race and question why you believe what you believe.

Is she creating awareness? Is she bringing us together? Is she causing issues? It’s up to you to decide, but whatever you believe, please remember that she’s not just “Beyoncé’s little sister.” She’s an authentic artist who thinks outside the box, and we need more of those.