Music
'When I Get Home' album cover.

Solange’s New Album Is a Portal Into the Spaces That Define Us

'When I Get Home' encourages us to reflect on the unique spaces that make us who we are.

The feelings I get from listening to Solange's new album When I Get Home connect me to the spaces where I'm most comfortable, like the warm home of my favorite uncle, smelling of black and milds and thick with my cousins' laughter and memories of childhood antics. Or the marijuana smoke-filled apartment of one of my oldest friends where, in cramped quarters, I'm encouraged to share ideas from the oddest corners of my brain over games of Apples to Apples and UNO.

When I Get Home feels and sounds as though Solange has identified those distinct spaces and events for herself, and channeled them into an album rich with references to her Texas upbringing. Whether or not others relate, or even understand, is beside the point, because these experiences are her own.

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Beauty
Image from Josef Adamu's 'The Hair Appointment' Series. Photo by Jeremy Rodney-Hall

Reclaiming Tradition: How Hair Beads Connect Us to Our History

A history of beads and African hair jewelry told through the unforgettable story of Baroness Floella Benjamin.

In 1977, Trinidadian-British actress and singer Floella Benjamin (OBE) was on her way to premiere her new blaxploitation film Good Joy at the Cannes Film Festival in the south of France. Styled in braids carefully accented by layered beads, she knew she'd standout amongst the festival's mostly white attendees, but nothing prepared her for the kind of reception she would ultimately receive.

"We drove along the [Promenade of] La Croisette," she recalls, "in an open top Cadillac for the film premiere and as we passed along, the crowds tried to grab my hair to get a bead as a souvenir."

It was a decade when sequined jumpsuits, gaudy fur stoles and overgrown sideburns were the norm, yet Benjamin's beaded look, which many black folks might have considered ordinary, was met with unparalleled fascination—a uniquely African hairstyle that black women had been wearing for centuries hadn't been seen before at a place like Cannes. "I stayed at the Carlton Hotel and the maids were intrigued," she recalls. "They kept knocking on my door just to look and stare at me."

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