A Long Convo With... Solange

I’m trying to cut down my cursing,” admits Solange Knowles as she sits inside a cabana on the roof of Manhattan’s upper Westside Empire Hotel. The feisty and outspoken baby sister of global pop superstar Beyonce has garnered somewhat of a reputation for having a sailor's vocab. The rebellious chick who sucker punched the music industry after releasing 2008’s critically acclaimed Sol-Angel and the Hadley St. Dreams, a confident mix of ‘60s pop, ‘70’s soul and underground alternative, made her indie queen aspirations known to the public.

As Solange prepares her ‘80s R&B meets new wave dance-rock follow-up, we spoke to the quirky vocalist-songwriter about her thoughts on getting the “weird” tag, why being Beyonce’s sister has its pitfalls, going independent and how recording her new material almost drove her to the brink of insanity. —Keith Murphy

[Photos: A Woman We Love — Solange Knowles]



VIBE: You surprised a lot of people when your 2008 album Sol-Angel and the Hadley St. Dreams was lauded as one of the years most critically acclaimed works. What was your reaction to all of the positive press?

Solange Knowles: I felt really good about it. I felt like I established myself as an artist with the people that I needed to and I weeded out the people that I never intended to have as part of my fanbase. Being able to tour and actually see and touch the people who are trying to really hear and feel your music is how you actually see what your fanbase is made of. These folks were not just people who wanted a radio song or wanted a particular record just for the catchiness of it. I had the people who were true music lovers; those kinds of fans will grow with me. If I want to do something more adventurous they wont abandon me.

Was there one moment when you knew you were accepted beyond just being Beyonce’s little sister?

I think that moment was when I was five, really [Laughs]. I never had to have this moment of where I felt accepted. I’ve always felt accepted. There was no big church-bell-ringing moment for me. I’m always finding out more and more about myself and about the people who respect what I do. I can tell you what I really love. When I run into people on the street that tell me they have connected with my music.

You mean the random fan that tells you how “T.O.N.Y.” changed their life?

[Laughs] Well, most people just tell me sincerely, “We love your records. When are you going to put out another one? We have been playing Sol-Angel out.” That’s what I’ve been hearing a lot of now. I also hear, “You don’t get enough respect…you don’t get enough love.” And I always tell those people that I’m getting your love. And to me that’s enough. As long as I’m artistically free, my son is able to go to the best schools and financially we are good that’s all that matters.

I think that some people get wrapped up in their own egos. They need to see certain album sales and certain monuments. I was just reading an interview about a really huge artist who I respect and basically a friend of theirs was saying how once they got their first No. 1 it became an addiction. They started to constantly look at the charts; constantly thinking how can I beat that? How can I do that again? And for me, I’ve never zoned in on that. I think that’s why I am so confident. If I started being a music chart watcher I would probably open up myself and allow myself to be broken down. To me I’m more excited about having that support from the fans and my peers that I respect. Like Ahmir [The Roots’ Questlove] and Q-Tip and Erykah [Badu].

I can only imagine the conversations you have had with Badu. You both seem pretty strong-willed with that I-don’t-give-a-fuck attitude.

Well, I just love her. We have conversations mostly about life…about being moms, about being in this industry and raising kids and dealing with relationships. But on the music tip, the very first time I got a Tweet from her telling me she loves my record was crazy. Jay Electronica put her on to my music; he loves my song “Dancing In The Dark.” It’s moments like that where I get the fulfillment just knowing that the people I’ve grown up admiring are fans of my work. And these are people who culturally and artistically have the same views as me.

Are you ever tempted to put up a middle finger to those fans that said you were just being weird to separate yourself from your sister Beyonce?

From the Web

More on Vibe

Los Angeles Lakers' Kobe Bryant reacts during the Game 6 of the 2008 NBA Finals in Boston, Massachusetts, June 17, 2008.

Kobe Bryant's Basketball Hall Of Fame Induction Scheduled For 2021

After being pushed back several months, Kobe Bryant’s Basketball Hall of Fame induction will take place next year, the NBA announced on Saturday (Nov. 28). Bryant is scheduled to be posthumously inducted into the Hall of Fame in May 2021.

Additional inductees include NBA ballers Tim Duncan and Kevin Garnett, and WNBA great Tamika Catchings. Hall of Fame weekend, which was originally scheduled to take place in August, was delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic. The event is now scheduled for May 13-15, 2021.

NBA champion coach Rudy Tomjanovich also made the 2021 Hall of Fame class, as did Baylor women’s coach Kim Mulkey, and Bentley University women’s coach Barbara Stevens.

With a combined 48 All-Star Game selections, and nearly a dozen NBA championships between them, Bryant, Duncan, and Garnett lead the 2021 Hall of Fame class. Eddie Sutton, Former Oklahoma State, Kentucky, who died in May, joins Bryant as a posthumous inductee.

Bryant died in a plane crash this past January. The NBA legend passed away with his 13-year-old daughter, Giana Bryant, and seven others.

Continue Reading
Emma McIntyre/Getty Images for MTV

Chadwick Boseman Celebrated On What Would've Been His 44th Birthday

The internet was flooded with tributes to Chadwick Boseman on Sunday (Nov. 29) for what would have been the beloved actor’s 44th birthday.

Michael B. Jordan posted a black-and-white photo of him embracing his Black Panther star co-star at last year’s Screen Actor’s Guild Awards. “Continue watching over us King,” wrote Jordan. “Happy Birthday. Miss you.”

Fellow Black Panther star Lupita Nyong’o shared a photo of her and Bsoeman captioned, “Deeply loved, sorely missed.”

In honor of Boseman, Marvel added a touching tribute to the Black Panther intro on Disney+.

Long live the King. #WakandaForever pic.twitter.com/FHiJDVQ3NS

— Marvel Studios (@MarvelStudios) November 29, 2020

Boseman died from colon cancer in August after quietly battling the disease for four years. The South Carolina native’s death came as a shock to many as he only informed a small circle of friends and family of his cancer diagnosis. Boseman’s final film, Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom, debuts on Netflix next month.

See birthday dedications from Jordan, Davis, Nyong’o and more below.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Michael B. Jordan (@michaelbjordan)


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Lupita Nyong'o (@lupitanyongo)


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by VIOLA DAVIS (@violadavis)

Remembering you today, @chadwickboseman. Happy Birthday King pic.twitter.com/wwmNpSerXw

— kerry washington (@kerrywashington) November 29, 2020

Thinking of your passion, love, and your light today, @chadwickboseman. Happy Birthday. Wishing we could time travel back to this moment. pic.twitter.com/df94mUaS6b

— Mark Ruffalo (@MarkRuffalo) November 29, 2020

Happy Birthday to Chadwick Boseman, rest in paradise❤️ pic.twitter.com/5LVyPeT5w8

— . (@MEENAVOGUEE) November 29, 2020

You will always be our king. Remember Chadwick Boseman on what would have been his birthday today. pic.twitter.com/j1MLTQqow2

— Marvel UK & Ireland (@MarvelUK) November 29, 2020

“(Chadwick Boseman) was in his way a historian — of other people’s magnetism and volition. Excellence and leadership spoke to and sparked him. They had to. No one approximates this much greatness without a considerable reserve of greatness himself.” - Wesley Morris, NY Times pic.twitter.com/R60GSPZEjh

— NetflixFilm (@NetflixFilm) November 29, 2020

Remembering the inimitable and magnetic Chadwick Boseman on his birthday. ❤️ pic.twitter.com/KdHPnJu1CY

— TIFF (@TIFF_NET) November 29, 2020

Chadwick Boseman would have been 44 years old today. He meant so much to so many people.

Rest In Peace and Happy Birthday. pic.twitter.com/UtXhH0PI08

— Karine Jean-Pierre (@K_JeanPierre) November 29, 2020

Continue Reading
Leon Bennett/Getty Images for BET

Jeremih’s Mother Opens Up About His Battle With COVID-19

Three weeks into his battle with COVID-19, Jeremih has been removed from the ICU and transferred to a regular room at the Chicago medical center where he is receiving treatment. The 33-year-singer was at his mother, Gwenda Starling’s, home when he started feeling ill earlier in the month.

Within a couple of hours, he couldn't walk properly and decided to go to the hospital, where he has been since Nov. 5. “A couple hours later he was calling me saying, ‘Mom, I need to go to the hospital. All of a sudden he couldn’t walk,” Sterling told ABC Chicago. “He was barely walking. He was holding his stomach.”

Thankfully, Jeremih’s condition got worse from there. He was in critical condition and placed on a ventilator. Starling described the experience as a “tremendous nightmare.”

“The whole family was just so saddened and just shocked, first of all. After we gout out of that whole shock thing, it was like ‘OK, we’ve got to pray.’”

Jeremih’s condition has slowly improved over the last several days. His mother noted that she knew he was healing when he started asking her for real food. “I got so teary-eyed, but I get so joyful at the same time because he’s pulling through,” she said.

The family hopes that he will be home by Thanksgiving. “It may be a bit much to ask God, but I figure we’ve been asking for everything else.”

Watch the full interview below.

Continue Reading

Top Stories