Soothing behind-the-scenes footage from Solange’s ‘A Seat at the Table’
If you are on this website and reading this post, you already know that Solange Knowles recently released an album called A Seat at the Table and that it is quite good. What you may not know is that she’s been working on it for over three years, enough time to produce and release twelve Ariana Grande records.
Apparently, during that time, she was also filming her songwriting process. A YouTube video called “Beginning Stages” uploaded Thursday invites us to take a peek at what that was like—here she is fiddling around on a keyboard, here she is improvising harmonies in someone’s textile-drenched living room. There’s no speaking and no real narrative, just quiet, arty establishing shots of the locations where she recorded and footage from those recording sessions.
It’s an eleven-minute video of someone… making an album in the midst of living a life.
So much of A Seat at the Table touches upon the experience of black identity within a culture working overtime to minimize your voice, a topic I’m not qualified to weigh in on. But at one point in this video, she dances with her son Julez in a post-dinner kitchen, and it’s a perfect capsule visual of how the record also makes me feel. The calm in their smiles, the glass of paintbrushes on the counter—amid everything, we’re watching a mother and her son play. We’re watching them be light with each other, love each other, in their own space.
Releasing an album is one thing, but for Solange it looks like the practice of making one was just as important. She built a warm, full life for herself and worked inside of it until she was ready to let us in.
And I’m really happy she did.