The artistry of Solange Knowles has become an indelible part of contemporary reflections on black womanhood. In a recent essay for Teen Vogue, Solange blesses us with some insight as to how she developed into the regal being she is today.
The singer graced Volume II of Teen Vogue’s June issue and her essay, “A Letter To My Teenage Self,” was posted online Wednesday.
In the letter, Solange assures her younger self that all the uncertainty, fear and pain she’s enduring will all serve their purpose in the long run.
And she pays tribute to each youthful version of herself ― including the one most likely to rock micro braids, a stage she eloquently classifies as “the football-player’s-girlfriend-who-wears-braided-blond-highlights-and-swears-by-capri-pants phase.”
“at the time, you are searching,” Solange wrote. “seeking in every corner and pocket of the world for who you are ... you will sow each of these chapters in the land that you become.”
Solange shares the impact of everything from the tragedy of a close friend’s death at 17 years old, which she refers to as “the hardest year of [her] life,” to being judged for her looks and free spirit:
“when you go out into the world feeling confident in who you are and what you reflect, young folks will call you names and grown folks will call you names,” she wrote. “It’s ok. one day you will name yourself, and that name will belong to you. it will not be the ones they ordained: “crazy, ugly, attention-seeking, weirdo.”
A significant portion of the letter is rightfully dedicated to mama Tina Knowles and the other women who showed her what black women were truly made of, outside of disparaging media stereotypes.
They were probably in part responsible for all of the cultural introspection that took place within Solange’s iconic album “A Seat at the Table.”
“you thank them for re-writing the script before it was ever etched in your memory,” she wrote of the women.
We thank them too.