Solange Knowles' drops 'A Seat at the Table' digital book celebrating black beauty

Solange Knowles' drops 'A Seat at the Table' digital book celebrating black beauty
Source: AP
Source: AP

Solange Knowles' last album True was released back in 2012, and it seems she's done a whole lot of soul-searching since. On Wednesday, the New Orleans-based singer-songwriter released an epic 112-page digital book compiling lyrics and photographs to accompany her forthcoming A Seat at the Table album arriving Friday. 

The visual and literary component to Knowles' first musical body of work in four years is an ode to black womanhood, featuring photos of black women of all shapes, sizes and skin tones celebrating life's simple freedoms: friendship, leisure, community and power. 

The booklet also includes imagery of black men shedding societal standards of masculinity. One photo shows a naked man surrounded on either side by woman in heels wrapped in white animal fur. Another shows four matching men looking into the camera without pants on. The lyrics also focus on black women being the essential staple to families and communities, with Solange embracing her identity as a black woman, wife and mother like never before.

If the album follows the overarching narrative of her digital book, A Seat at the Table will be another celebration of black girl magic the Knowles family produced for music in 2016. Knowles first announced her upcoming album was her "most proud body of work" during her 30th birthday in June on Instagram, writing, "They can talk, they can doubt, and they can say what they wanna, but only you have the words to narrate this ting we call life."

The lyrics included in A Seat at the Table also focus on her evolving relationship with her son and family, and the bravery she hopes to instill in him when being confronted by a police officer. 

"When it's going on a thousand years, and you pulling up to your crib, and they ask you where you live again but you running out of damns to give," one portion of the book read. "I hope my son will bang this song so loud that he almost makes his walls fall down, cause his momma wants to make him proud. Oh, to be us."

The lyrics also delve into the systematic racism and racial tensions with police and other authorities caused by repeated killings of unarmed black men during routine traffic stops in the United States. 

"When you driving in your tinted car and you're criminal just who you are, but you know you gonna make it far," Knowles wrote. "When a nigga tryna board the plane and they ask you what's your name again cause they thinking you're all the same, Oh, it's for us."

The album will feature Kelly Rowland, Lil Wayne, Nia Andrews, Q-Tip and Kelela, according to a track list Knowles provided on Instagram earlier this week. The song names also seem to provide details about the inner details of her personal life she'll allude to throughout her album, with tracks "Tina Taught Me" and "Dad Was Mad," likely referencing her mother and father's failed marriage. 

Scroll through all 112 pages of the digital book here and get ready to bask in another Knowles family epic Friday.

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Chris Riotta

Chris Riotta is a culture reporter at Mic, covering news, music and entertainment. He is based in New York and can be reached at criotta@mic.com

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