beyoncé’s interview with solange is a sweet celebration of family and sisterhood

The two offer us a glimpse into their relationship, and they way their family and community influenced two of the biggest albums of 2016.

by Wendy Syfret
11 January 2017, 12:04am

Foto: via @BeyonceHard

As strange as it sounds, it's easy to forget that to each other Beyoncé and Solange are simply sisters. That beneath the music, style and fandom they're still just two women who found themselves cast as idols. In such an unnatural world, it must be comforting to have someone close to home who understands the strange flavour of your life.

In the latest Issue of Interview, we're given a taste of their relationship when Beyoncé called up her sister. While the conversation covers the influences and cannon behind A Seat At The Table, family forms the nucleus of the piece. The two reflect on the pride they feel for their hometown of Houston, with Solange musing: "I feel like, in the South in general, but specifically in our world growing up, people were expressive and vivid storytellers. In the hair salon or in the line at the grocery store; there was never a dull moment." She says always felt a connection to the women around her, "you could be the pastor's wife, you could be a lawyer, you could be a stripper on the side, you could be a schoolteacher—we saw every kind of woman connect on one common experience, which was that everyone wanted to be great and everyone wanted to do better."

Even when talk turns to her latest album, the tenderness between the two is apparent as they share memories of Solange's nerves in the lead up to the release. Although she adds that the stress, which caused her to break out in hives, was worth it, "The biggest reward that I could ever get is seeing women, especially black women, talk about what this album has done, the solace it has given them."

Last year saw both sisters release albums that doubled as personal meditations on what it means to be a women, and they dissected their own feelings around the expectations and assumptions that press on them. Solange admits to worrying about appearing arrogant when she states that she wrote all the lyrics on A Seat At The Table. Continuing, "I still have not been able to say that. That's the first time I've actually ever said it, because of the challenges that we go through when we celebrate our work and our achievements."

This tendency to quietly observe each other has clearly been present since childhood. Bey remembers as a kid thinking, "My little sister is going to be something super special." Decades later the awe has hardly abated, she's still floored by how Solange manages every part of her creative world, handling almost every element of her latest record. It's a quality Solange admits comes from their mother, who taught them "to be in control of our voice and our bodies and our work, and she showed us that through her example. If she conjured up an idea, there was not one element of that idea that she was not going to have her hand in."

Alongside the influence of their parents, the siblings also note the influence of Master P, whose narrative serves as the spine of A Seat At the Table. "I wanted a voice throughout the record that represented empowerment and independence, the voice of someone who never gave in, even when it was easy to lose sight of everything that he built, someone invested in black people, invested in our community and our storytelling, in empowering his people," says Solange.

In the end, Beyoncé returns the focus to the two of them, simply asking "how did I do as a big sister?" Solange doesn't hesitate in her praise: "You did a kickass job."


Text Wendy Syfret

A Seat at The Table