At the urging of the in crowd (channeled to me through glossy magazine interviews), I started listening to Solange, Beyonce's baby sister. I had resisted in the past because, well, I don't care all that much for Beyonce. I know somebody's probably going to try to find out where I live and cut my vagina for saying that, but I honestly think she's just a tad overrated. I love listening to her music but I throw a side eye to dames who declare her "Queen B" like she's the leader of the pussy pack. It wasn't until "Formation" that I started to see her as a true artist -- Lady Gaga style -- rather than just a singer/dancer.
Solange, on the other hand, has been an artist from the beginning. Which is probably why she was never as popular as her older sister. Luckily, the mainstream is finally catching up to things she's been talking about in her shadowed corner for years -- blackness, women, natural hair. She's been using her voice to effect change long before Beyonce dressed up like a Black Panther at the Superbowl.
I listened to her album "A Seat at the Table" and haven't been able to stop listening to it. It's the kind of sound that fills out a morning spent journaling or a casual wine-drinking afternoon. Her sound is ethereal. Gosh, I love that word. I wish someone would call me ethereal. So many gingers are ethereal actually, now that I think about it. :)
Anyway, my most favoritist song on the album is "Don't Touch My Hair". You can guess why, I'm sure.
The very first lyric is "Don't touch my hair/When it's the feelings I wear". I know this is supposed to be about black women's hair, but I feel no lyrics have ever better defined the essence of who I am.
We -- redheads, I mean -- know how powerful our hair has been in shaping us and growing us. We know how easily our personalities can be tied back to our hair: the bullying, the compliments, the uniqueness. When I tell non-gingers this, this seem shocked and like they don't believe me. Perhaps it was different for me than other redheads, but it's been the single defining influence in many aspects of my life. Because of my red hair, I learned I was less than from peers and more than from adults. I learned how to take a compliment at an early age. I got used to being the one who stands out. I got used to being harassed. I learned from my hair not to try to control everything (I believe God gave me curls to teach me that I can't control my life!)
And of course, many redheads feel like they need to wear a sign that says "Don't Touch My Hair". I don't really have people who don't know me touching my hair without asking anymore (which ironically makes me feel sort of wistful) but I've heard many of us do.
Because of all this, I do feel like redheads are almost-minorities. We certainly haven't felt the oppression that black people, for instance, have, but we've still been othered in our own ways. Which is part of why I love Solange's otherness so much.
And don't kill me, but I also get the sense that Solange is smarter than Beyonce, though Beyonce may be more business-savvy. Solange is for the intellectual crowd while Beyonce is for the basic bees. Fun fact: her favorite part of the music business is song-writing, not performing.
What do you think? Do you listen to Solange?