It’s apparent that Jesse Williams, Colin Kaepernick and Solange held a top secret, confidential #staywoke meeting and collectively decided 2016 is the year for less talk and more action. Each of these celebrities, in their different respective careers; music, film, and football, have stepped up to the plate, and are standing up for their people, in exceedingly positive ways.
For those of you either unaware, confused, or (still) mad, in the past few months, both Williams and Kaepernick took major, unexpected strides toward making change for the African American community. Most of us know Williams as Grey’s Anatomy’s handsome Dr. Avery, but did not know he had a heart for social justice. BET honored Williams as Humanitarian of the year, and Williams’ acceptance speech not only surprised us, but encouraged, uplifted and definitely empowered us. If you missed it, or would like a refresher, watch it here.
Colin Kaepernick, quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers, was mostly known by football fans, and women worldwide (insert heart-eyes emoji) just a few months ago. But in August, he became one of the most well-known individuals in this country, and according to USA Today, the “most disliked player in the NFL”. Kaepernick caught the media’s attention when he refused to stand during the National Anthem at a pre-season game. When ESPN asked him why in an interview, here’s what he said:
“People don’t realize what’s really going on in this country. There are a lot of things that are going on that are unjust people aren’t being held accountable for. And that’s something that needs to change. That’s something that this country stands for freedom, liberty and justice for all. And it’s not happening for all right now.”
Kaepernick is standing firm in his word, and has vowed to continue his silent protest until he sees a change in our justice system. Some agree and have joined the movement, many disagree, and quite a few simply just don’t and won’t understand. Regardless, Kaepernick stirred up a real, necessary conversation that is sure to keep going.
And then there was Solange. Eccentric, eclectic, exuberant, and so elegantly exotic, Solange Knowles.
Girl! From black girl to black girl, may I quickly take a step off of my grammar nazi pedestal and say, You did that!
Solange’s new album, entitled A Seat at the Table dropped Friday, October 1. The album so fearlessly graces each emotion every black person has felt over the past couple of centuries, and still feel today. But, similar to my blog, she highlights our trials, our triumphs, and most importantly, our truths. Solange wrote and produced all 21 tracks, which include interludes featuring legends such as New Orleans natives Master P and Lil’ Wayne, Kelly Rowland and her fabulous mother, Tina.
An article published by The New Yorker describes Solange as “turning her gaze outward, exploring her frustrations with a country that draws its lifeblood from black art without sufficiently valuing black life.”
Here’s a quick run down of my favorite tracks, and why Solange is definitely my newfound #wokebae.
“Weary” acknowledges that we are truthfully feeling like Fannie Lou Hamer. We are sick and tired of being sick and tired.
“Mad” completely validates James A. Baldwin’s words: “To be a Negro in this country and to be relatively conscious is to be in a rage almost all the time.”
“Cranes in the Sky” tells us that it’s okay to stumble, fall, mess up, and lose control; That even superwoman has her weaknesses.
“Don’t Touch My Hair” supports the fact that we worked hard to get to a place where our natural kinks, curls and naps can be appreciated. But after appreciation, came appropriation. Therefore, don’t touch my hair.
“F.U.B.U” is a tribute to our perseverance and resilience despite stereotypes and discrimination. Solange says, “This ones for us!”
When you driving in your tinted car
And you’re criminal, just who you are
But you know you’re gonna make it far, oh
“Interlude: I got so much magic, you can have it” repeats the same resonating line: “Don’t let anybody steal your magic.”
Which parallels the “drops mic” ending of Jesse Williams’ 2016 BET Humanitarian Award acceptance speech: “Just because we’re magic, doesn’t mean we’re not real”.
In this pure work of art, Solange explores so much more than our frustration with police brutality. She so boldly expresses the real, tangible, indelible feelings we experience daily; Feelings we’re often condemned for expressing.
This album is therapeautic, mind, body and soul for a people who would otherwise go crazy.
Thank you, queen.