Solange has risen into the spotlight after her recently successful album “A Seat at the Table” which reached number one on the billboard charts. It impressed everyone with its mix of R&B, jazz, and soul. A Seat at the Table is special not only because of Solange’s impressive musical talent, but because of the honest lyrics about her struggles with identity and mental health.
Everytime I listen to Solange I am blown away by her self-awareness. When listening to A Seat at the Table we join her at the end of an emotional journey of self discovery. She tells us about her struggles with depression in “Cranes in the Sky”, a beautiful song that narrates all of the ways she tried to deal with her sadness. From drinking, to sex, to overworking, to reading, nothing would work. In “Mad” she and Lil Wayne express their feelings of anger, but admit that anger is often a waste of energy. Throughout the entire album she meditates on her negative emotions.
In 2014, Solange revealed that she had been diagnosed with ADHD, not once but twice. She didn’t believe her first diagnosis so she went to another doctor for a second opinion. Solange herself was quoted as saying “I was diagnosed with ADHD twice. I didn’t believe the first doctor who told me and I had a whole theory that ADHD was just something they invented to make you pay for medicine, but then the second doctor told me I had it.” Solange’s words show the stigma that surrounds mental illnesses, even those as common as ADHD.
What’s important is that she spoke up about it. Solange doesn’t say much about it publicly but instead pours her emotions into her music. In “Borderline (An Ode to Self Care)” Solange harmonizes with Q-Tip and speaks on the importance of letting go instead of giving into the pit of despair and rage. The world around her depresses her, and she chooses to look away for the sake of self care.
I think why I so often return to A Seat at the Table is because of its comforting nature. Solange seems to have figured something out. She publicly talks about her ADHD and pours stories of depression into the album, but I always leave the album with a sense of hope.