Songwriter, recording artist, and activist Solange Knowles kicked off 2017 with a private performance at the White House. Backed by The Roots, she performed her songs “Weary,” “Rise,” and “Cranes In The Sky” from her Grammy-winning 2016 release A Seat At The Table. She also performed in Washington, D.C. at the Peace Ball, which was held on Inauguration Eve, January 19 at the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture.
A Seat at the Table, written and performed by Solange and co-executive produced alongside Raphael Saadiq, debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard Top 200 Chart and was No. 1 on both Apple Music and iTunes Overall Top Albums Chart. Released globally on September 30th, 2016 via Saint Records / Columbia, A Seat at the Table is available both physically and digitally worldwide. At the 59th annual Grammy Awards on February 12, 2017 the track “Cranes In The Sky” won the Grammy for Best R&B Performance.
Solange describes A Seat at the Table, which she began writing in 2013, as “a project on identity, empowerment, independence, grief, and healing.” On January 26, 2017, Solange delivered the keynote at Yale University’s Stephen A. Schwarzman Center. The conversation, entitled “Everybody Still Wants to Fly: Activism in Pop from Prince to Solange featuring an opening roundtable discussion of cinematic Prince in concert and his socio- political activism,” was part of the three-day, multidisciplinary conference Blackstar Rising & The Purple Reign: Celebrating the Legacies of David Bowie and Prince. Solange delivered the talk with moderator Daphne A. Brooks, Professor of African American Studies, American Studies, Theater Studies, and Women’s Gender and Sexuality Studies at Yale University. Knowles discussed her body of work, and activism and its relativity to pop culture. Says Solange, “Getting the chance to sit down with Professor Daphne Brooks was a wonderful experience. I loved being able to unpack and share the layers of the making A Seat At The Table, and in return, it provided me with an examination and incredible insight into to my process and experiences while creating this album. I was beyond honored that Yale invited me to celebrate Prince’s principles of artist ownership and how they have inspired me through my own artistic journey.”
Already an experienced lecturer, Solange Knowles spoke at Stanford University in the fall of 2016. She joined Wake Forest University professor and editor at large for Elle.com, Melissa Harris-Perry, for a discussion that examined everything from the concept of #BlackGirlMagic to 50 years after the Black is Beautiful movement to the ideas and language of self-care and community cultivation that are shape-shifting through people who are survivors and prolific creators.
Follow Solange at solangemusic.com and saintheron.com, twitter.com/solangeknowles, and instagram.com/saintrecords.