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Solange is Tired of Music Journalists Who Don't Know Black Music

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Solange Knowles is more than an r&b artist. She now owns her own r&b-focused label, Saint Records; and she’s a student of the genre who has taken some so-called music critics to task for not knowing much about R&B history and failing to give respect to some artists she feels deserve it.

Most memorably, she tweeted a passionate defense of Brandy's Two Eleven album last year. Her words were aimed at journalists she felt were willfully ignorant of the music and culture. 

“Some of these music blogs could actually benefit from hiring people who REALLY understand the culture of R&B to write about R&B,” she wrote then.

Solange recently sat down with Ali Shaheed Muhammad of NPR to explain her frustration. 

She noted that there were times she wasn’t even able to hold a decent conversation with critics about the genre they’re paid to cover.

“I would have these conversations where I would use different references, or I would talk about Jaheim, just anything, anyone and get nothing back,” said Solange.

“It’s something that has been expressed by a lot of people. I had no problem vocalizing about it,” she said.

Solange mentioned Monica, Aaliyah and TLC’s Chilli as R&B singers whose music touched and influenced her. But Brandy, in particular, holds a special place in music history for Solange.

“Brandy is a goddess in R&B to a lot of people. She is really the foundation for a lot of this very innovative, progressive, experimental R&B. Brandy influenced a lot of that,” she said.

“There’s no way to really explain the emotional and physical and mental reaction when you’re at a party in seventh grade and a 702 record comes on,” Solange said. “[R&B] is all those things. It’s the gelling down your baby hair because Chilli did it and you want it to look like Chilli so much. The whole phenomenon of Tommy Hilfiger after Aaliyah wore it. All of those elements, and then you have your very, very obscure ones too.”

Listen to the full-length interview here.



Kimberly Foster is the founder and editor of For Harriet. Email or Follow @KimberlyNFoster

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