The polar and happy opposite to the Friday night news dump—in which sensitive or potentially controversial stories are released right before the weekend—is the Sunday night video drop, in which your favorite artists unleash new visuals in the evening, perhaps even close enough to the time some of us (hello, this gal right here) are about to go to dang bed. The former is a sneak attack; the latter is a surprise party.
So thank you, Solange Knowles, because I didn’t want to go to bed before 11 anyway! After we’ve all spent an entire weekend contemplating her beautiful and deep third full-length album A Seat at the Table, now she has bestowed us with gorgeous videos for “Cranes in the Sky” and “Don’t Touch My Hair.”
In “Cranes” (above), a first-person song ostensibly about the things she did (or attempted) to alleviate the weight on her psyche, she poses and performs lyrical contemporary dance among mountains and in what look like art museums and greenhouses and half-built structures, all while wearing the most beautiful and delicate ensembles. In some shots, a crew of black women dance with her, and they lean on each other too, invoking the togetherness and lightness of this generous song. The visual mirrors the kind of freedom that “Cranes” invokes— the wind in her hair, the lift in her voice.
In “Don’t Touch My Hair,” a clip with some of the women in “Cranes” and a phalanx more friends (including Sampha, who’s on the song), she links the visuals to the objective of the song—articulating the politics and pride ingrained in discussions of black women’s hair and the offense when non-black people touch it, and at the same time using hair as a stand-in for the way black culture is so often appropriated and denigrated. (THIS ALBUM IS DEEP! RECOMMENDED.)
Both videos were directed by Solange as well as her husband, music video director Alan Ferguson, which is truly just so lovely. A Seat at the Table is out now, and great.