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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Sponsored

Driving Forces: Hair by Susy is Building Community in Brooklyn | Presented by Uber

We catch up to the hairstylist to the stars in East New York and talk about what it means to be inspired by other women.

Sponsored content from Uber

Driving Forces is a video series profiling young creative people who are empowering their communities. We've partnered with Uber to highlight the stories of influential women whose work brings underrepresented voices to the front. Read more about how Uber is supporting women this in the workplace here.

Bronx-born Susy Oludele used to be bullied in school for being different. Her vibrant hairstyles made her stand out. That's when she came up with the name "African Creature," to describe herself, a larger than life persona that she is still known by on social media.

Susy's Nigerian parents wanted her to be a lawyer or a doctor but her dream was to open her own salon. It took years of struggle, including a dip into homelessness, before she could realize that vision. Susy never lost that dream, teaching herself how to braid and eventually getting that beauty license.

Today her Hair by Susy salon is an East New York go-to for incredible multi-colored box braids and locs. Her many celebrity clientele, among them world famous performers and musicians, know to go there for unique hairstyles putting Susy's designs at the forefront of global culture. In just three years, the salon has created a community of women, both clients and hairdressers, who credit Susy with inspiring them to be themselves.

Susy's designs have gone far past East New York and reached places she never expected. Nigeria, Aruba, Brazil—wherever black women are in the world, they're using Susy's styles as jumping off points to create new versions. This inspires her once again. It's this magical cycle of mutual inspiration that's at the heart of what community is for Susy.

"People can be inspired by what you do." she says. "When you do good work, and take care of your clients people talk about you."

Like Susy, Uber is building communities for women within its company. "Women of Uber" is the name of an initiative that promotes the advancement of women, accelerating professional development, and partnering across the company to attract & retain top talent—all important building blocks in the goal to increase the representation of women in leadership roles at Uber globally.

"Women have done so much for me," says Susy. For her, women supporting other women is a kind of magic born out of the creative process. "Keep creating," she says, "because if you stop creating then you stop your magic—your light."


VIDEO CREDITS

Director: Brittany "B.Monét" Fennell

Producer: Ayana Barber

Producer: Oyinkan Olojede

Editor: Morgan Riles

Director of Photography: April Maxey

Sound Mixer: Rob Albrecht

Production Assistant: Ross Mayfield

Production Company: Keep Productions Inc

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