Solange Knowles is on the cover of Harper’s BAZAAR latest digital cover! For this shoot, she styled herself and shared personal notes, poems, and reflections that she has had during what many of us are calling a very difficult year.
Like many of us, Solange writes to cope and it was pretty interesting to read what she shared.
Via Harper’s BAZAAR
Like all of us, musician and artist Solange Knowles has been trying to make sense of these strange and conflicting times. So we invited her to do so here, in her very own Harper’s BAZAAR digital cover.
She styled herself from a hand-selected roster of all-independent, majority-BIPOC designers; she tapped friend and collaborator Naima Green to help photograph her in isolation; and for her cover story, she shares a series of powerful personal essays and poems that lay bare the private challenges and collective pain, the hard-won triumphs, and, yes, the joy that propels us all ever-forward.
Solange Knowles on Stillness and Joy
Many of us had to reckon with the “stillness” that remaining at home for months on end meant for our mental health.
We all dealt with it in different ways and in this cover, Solange described what stillness meant for her including her thoughts on Joy as well.
Stillness is goodness.
Ghost catch up. There’s nowhere to run, and all the voices you’ve been hushing, soothing, and cooing yell at you like loud children demanding answers.
The ones you’ve been saying you’d tend to when the time is right tell you there is no other time.
Then your body follows.
And for a minute there, things can get hard.
And every day you make a choice. To honor, listen, and live. My stillness started with my body. It refused to be, to go. I’d look to moss trees asking for answers as if they could talk back to me.
I heard a voice saying you deserve joy. Applause from my loved ones and heroes wasn’t gonna do.
Another voice, a critical one, said you got a lot of nerve chasing joy and freedom when you already have so much, but I went for it anyway.
I honored, listened, and lived.
Some days were a real pain in the ass. Some were the most beautiful days of my life. This was a different kind of joy.
I didn’t need to skip in the sun to feel it. Joy was the sleep I got after releasing secrets from my bones.
Joy was telling the truth. Joy was making a song that I didn’t care ever saw the light of day. Joy was taking a trip alone, and just sitting and staring at the water and seeing my reflection and thinking to myself, Damn I’m fine.
Joy was having nothing on my calendar, and choosing what to do with my time. Joy was having a friend who didn’t care how ugly I cried, always inviting and encouraging me to just be, however that looked that day.
Joy was discovery.
Joy was having someone show me beautiful worlds of their own and trusting in the journey. Joy was letting go of control.
Joy was just sitting. Joy was seeing how far I had come and waving at my shadows. Joy was accepting that the work is never done, but that every day is a choice.
Soon I began to feel things that I never felt before. I began to understand who I was becoming outside of all of the many names I had been given and given myself. I began to love differently.
See differently. Seek differently. I began to surrender to the work never being done, but finding joy in that there was room for it all.
I cleared my schedule and took time off from everything else to continue this devotion to the work.
And then we all had to confront stillness. To collectively honor, to listen, to survive.
Some days I am on top of mountains. Some days I am weary. Some days I smile and laugh in ways I didn’t know I could. Sometimes I grieve all of the loss, looking for pillars or anchors to hold on to.
Some days I see so much promise in my future despite the chaos around me because I woke up a Black woman with this spirit in my heart. If I move, I am not running. If I move, it is by choice. I feel good knowing that I surrendered and found answers in my stillness.
04 – 08
I was raised by a beauty salon.
My mother loved me a million different ways. One of the ways my mother loved me was by surrounding me with many a tribe who could care for me; my mom’s deliberate choice to make “the shop” my after school care.
All of the women had their own stories to tell. Women from every background, name, and face in Houston, Texas came to transform within the safety of themselves. Boyfriends and husbands waited in their cars or in the front reception, and women ran the show.
They talked shit, cackled, shrieked, cried, or read and contemplated quietly—thrilled to escape their lives as mothers, sisters, teachers, and healers.
Regulars would greet me with a big hug and ask me how school was, to get them a glass of wine from the back, or ask me to show them the latest dances. I took dance classes weekly, but it was in that shot that performance really began. The theater of the shop and I.
It was there that my storytelling became more vivid, elaborate, and exaggerated! It was there that my gestures became language.
I watched and studied my favorite women—the way they walked, dressed, moved their nails when they turned pages.
They paid attention to me, celebrated me, and always made me feel safe. My dances soon turned into monologues, and soundtracks soon followed. It was there that performance thrived and became alive.
It was there. The shop became my theater. I was raised by a beauty salon.
09 – 01
Showed up to the Jill and Badu battle, red wine in hand
Friends on Zoom
Thinking ’bout the balm that is waking up in this Black woman body and clicking this Black woman’s tongue on the roof of this Black woman’s mouth
Wouldn’t want it any other way.
Showed up to the Babyface joint
Thinking ’bout my mama’s warm love and my mama’s past pain, and all the ways I took both on, singing each one of those songs on car radios like they were my own stories to tell.
Showed up to the Brandy and Monica battle
Thinking ’bout what it means to sacrifice and devote so much of your life to your gifts and how much appreciation we pay forward to being on the receiving end.
Read the entire Solange Knowles editorial here.
Creative Director: Solange Knowles; Entertainment Director: Nojan Aminosharei; Fashion Features Director: Kerry Pieri; Accessories Director: Kathy Lee; Fashion Editor: Kia Goosby; Styling Assistant: Julio Delgado; Hair: Kendall Dorsey; Makeup: Miguel Ramos; Set Design: Tim Ferro; Shoot Assistant: Curtis Morton; Special thanks to Home Union.