Solange Knowles has had quite the 12 months. She released her wildly acclaimed A Seat At The Table, which earned her both her first Grammy nomination and her first number-one album. She served as a music consultant for the Golden Globe-nominated HBO show Insecure. She performed on Saturday Night Live and Jimmy Fallon. And last week she performed at President Barack Obama’s farewell party at The White House. Most importantly, though, she gave black people music to help them cope at a time when America was full of turmoil and the political climate was rapidly turning bleak.
Now, Solange is gracing the cover of Interview’s February issue, interviewed by none other than her big sister Beyoncé. Take a look at this absolutely stunning magazine cover!
And get ready for the tissues, because this interview will make you tear up. It’s quite special to see the sisters in their natural element, doing something that they probably do very often: talking on the phone. It's also great because Beyoncé basically refuses to participate in interviews anymore, but has made an exception for her sister.
In the interview, Beyoncé tells Solange that she’s her biggest fan and she’s super proud (us too, girl!). “I remember thinking, 'My little sister is going to be something super special," because you always seemed to know what you wanted,'" she says.
The sisters talk about everything from Master P (who reminds them both of their father Matthew Knowles), womanism, growing up in Parkwood (their childhood neighborhood in Houston), Solange’s innate coolness and sense of perspective, and Missy Elliott being her biggest inspiration for wanting to be a producer.
Here are two of our favorite moments from their chat.
Solange on being a strong woman:
“One thing that I constantly have to fight against is not feeling arrogant when I say I wrote every lyric on this album. I still have not been able to say that. That's the first time I've actually ever said it, because of the challenges that we go through when we celebrate our work and our achievements. I remember Björk saying that she felt like, no matter what stage in her career, if a man is credited on something that she's done, he's going to get the credit for it. And, unfortunately, that still rings true. It's something I've learned so much about from you, getting to be in control of your own narrative. And, at this point, it should be an expectation, not something that you're asking permission for. I feel like I'm getting closer to that, not taking on all the baggage when I have to just stand up for myself and say, "No, I'm uncomfortable with that." And I really appreciate you and mom being examples of that, being able to speak about our achievements, these things that deserve to be celebrated, without feeling bashful about it.”
Solange on what ‘Cranes In The Sky’ means:
"Cranes in the Sky" is actually a song that I wrote eight years ago. It's the only song on the album that I wrote independently of the record, and it was a really rough time. I know you remember that time. I was just coming out of my relationship with Julez's father. We were junior high school sweethearts, and so much of your identity in junior high is built on who you're with. You see the world through the lens of how you identify and have been identified at that time. So I really had to take a look at myself, outside of being a mother and a wife, and internalize all of these emotions that I had been feeling through that transition. I was working through a lot of challenges at every angle of my life, and a lot of self-doubt, a lot of pity-partying. And I think every woman in her twenties has been there—where it feels like no matter what you are doing to fight through the thing that is holding you back, nothing can fill that void. I used to write and record a lot in Miami during that time, when there was a real estate boom in America, and developers were developing all of this new property. There was a new condo going up every ten feet. You recorded a lot there as well, and I think we experienced Miami as a place of refuge and peace. We weren't out there wilin' out and partying. I remember looking up and seeing all of these cranes in the sky. They were so heavy and such an eyesore, and not what I identified with peace and refuge. I remember thinking of it as an analogy for my transition—this idea of building up, up, up that was going on in our country at the time, all of this excessive building, and not really dealing with what was in front of us. And we all know how that ended. That crashed and burned. It was a catastrophe. And that line came to me because it felt so indicative of what was going on in my life as well. And, eight years later, it's really interesting that now, here we are again, not seeing what's happening in our country, not wanting to put into perspective all of these ugly things that are staring us in the face.”
Read the entire interview here.
Tahirah Hairston is a style writer from Detroit who likes Susan Miller, Rihanna's friend's Instagram accounts, ramen and ugly-but cute shoes.