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A ROUGH TRADE BOOK OF THE YEAR
The dramatic story of Solange: a musician and artist whose unconventional journey to international success was far more important than her family name.
‘Why Solange Matters is a significant and sober treatise on popular music . . . This book is more than necessary.’
‘The author’s prose sparkles . . . This is a book about what freedom could look like for Black women.’
CALEB AZUMAH NELSON, OBSERVER
‘A love letter to quirkly black creatives . . . [Phillips’] vibrant writing reminds us how Solange lit “the flame of creativity” within many Black women.’
Growing up in the shadow of her superstar sister, Beyoncé, and defying an industry that attempted to bend her to its rigid image of a Black woman, Solange Knowles has become a pivotal musician and artist in her own right.
In Why Solange Matters, Stephanie Phillips chronicles the creative journey of Solange, a beloved voice of the Black Lives Matter generation. A Black feminist punk musician herself, Phillips addresses not only the unpredictable trajectory of Solange’s career but also how she and other Black women see themselves through the musician’s repertoire. First, she traces Solange’s progress through an inflexible industry, charting the artist’s development up to 2016, when the release of her third album, A Seat at the Table, redefined her career. With this record and, then, When I Get Home (2019), Phillips describes how Solange has embraced activism, anger, Black womanhood and intergenerational trauma to inform her remarkable art.
Why Solange Matters not only cements the subject in the pantheon of world-changing twenty-first-century musicians, it introduces its writer as an important new voice.
‘A rich portrait of Black artistry.’
‘Phillips writes with clarity about why Solange’s work matters, exploring issues of cultural appropriation and black feminism along the way.’
MUSIC MATTERS: SHORT BOOKS ABOUT THE ARTISTS WE LOVE
— Why Solange Matters by Stephanie Phillips
— Why Marianne Faithfull Matters by Tanya Pearson
— Why Karen Carpenter Matters by Karen Tongson
Forget “Gimme Indie Rock”, this is Gimme Afro-Punk Feminist Knowledge right here. Stephanie Philips, founder of the amazing Big Joanie band, throws down a scholarly take on Solange and the intersection of punk, indie and R&B through a personal prism of race consciousness. Focusing on Solange’s critical masterpiece “A Seat At The Table”, as well as the artist’s life story, Stephanie explores, not only the class and gender issues of the record industry, but her own radicalism and epiphany as an activist. Why Solange Matters is a significant and sober treatise on popular music. A music which has come to blur the lines between commercial and experimental. This book is more than necessary. Read it and join hands!
[A] celebration of a free spirit . . . [a] hymn to black individualism . . . the author’s prose sparkles . . . as moving as it is insightful . . . It’s wonderful to read Phillips’s own story alongside Solange’s – the two are similar in age and share a DIY ethic, as well as a belief in the power of community, and their lives are vividly detailed . . . This is a book about what freedom could look like for Black women, in which Phillips provides a framework, a vision of a new world, one she hopes Solange would be proud to be a part of.
A love letter to quirky black creatives . . . Much of this book may leave you with heightened emotions . . . [Phillips'] vibrant writing reminds us how Solange lit “the flame of creativity” within many Black women, reminding us that society’s expectations continue to be limiting. Long live “kooky” Black artistry.
Shows the way Black women have to justify their experience, especially in majority white spaces . . . Phillips writes with great insight . . . It feels refreshing and true to see such considered critique . . . Phillip's book celebrates and makes space for all kinds of Black women . . . a rich portrait of Black artistry as abundance.
[Phillips] writes eloquently in defence of Solange . . . Phillips writes with clarity about why Solange's work matters, exploring issues of cultural appropriation and black feminism along the way . . . a vivid picture.
Why Solange Matters is a love letter to outsider music nerds, but especially to Black women, who continually have their tastes, talents, hearts, bodies, and minds suppressed by 'the limited imagination of the white mainstream.' The book is a call to action — embrace yourself, embrace those who are hurting alongside you, and be brave.
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