A Spiritual Journey in Black- Solange’s “Alemda” By John Washington, Morehouse College

By December 12, 2019 Voices of Change No Comments

Solange, who is the younger sister to the famous Beyonce Knowles, is a prominent and highly talented singer from Houston, Texas and traces her roots back to Louisiana. Solange is known for her esoteric themes and rapprochements towards the identity of Blackness and what it means to be Black. She describes Blackness clearly through her song Almeda Ft. Playboi Carti and The-Dream. Everytime I listen to the song, I am reassured in my blackness and my black spirituality, which encompasses spiritual tradition from West Africa and the Southern Black Church.  Almeda elevates my own personal consciousness of blackness and black spirituality. Through her song Almeda, she vividly describes Blackness by combining the secular and the sacred nature of black culture, while she promotes black spirituality and being comfortable in one’s blackness. 

For example, in the beginning of the song, Solange starts listing off everything popular that has to do with Brownness and Blackness. She states, “Brown Liquor, Brown Liquor, Brown Skin, Brown Face, Brown Leather, Brown Sugar, Brown leaves, Brown Keys, Black Skin, Black Braids, Black Waves, Black Days, Black Baes, Black Things, These are Black Owned Things,”, this might seem to be a random list of black and brown things but they are not.  Solange is noting that everything that is brown or black is owned by black and brown skinned people, which is a beautiful way of saying that whiteness isn’t the only beautiful thing in the world. That popular luxurious items that we own are typically black or brown. Everything that we consider to luxury and beautiful are brown or black things like brown leather, brown liquor, brown sugar, or brown faces. All of those items are popularly associated with the secular world. We often associate things like liquor, leather, baes, and others to partying and other secular activities.  Solange articulates, beautifully, the connection to the sacredness of having black and brown things and skin.

Later on, Solange further states, “Black Faith still can’t be washed away. Not Even in that Florida Water. ” Solange rather than explicitly saying mainstream religious items or concepts like Holy Water, Jesus, or Anything else of that nature, she uses words like “Black Faith” and “Florida Water” instead. For those who do not know what florida water is; Florida water is a popular cologne that is used as a substitute for Holy Water. It is meant to wash aways spiritual impurities or sins. Florida Water is often used within Afro-Diasporic religions like Santeria/Lukumi, Vaudou (Vodun) , and Hoodoo traditions from the Southern Region in the United States. Solange indicts that one’s black faith encompasses things like Brown Leather, Brown liquor, Black Braids, and Black Skins that could not be washed away with Florida Water or any Holy Water because they are not spiritual impurities that come with it. That the sacredness and secular nature of being black or brown is not sinful, but spiritually uplifting. 

Solange, as an artist who is a dynamic and has meaningful messages when it comes to writing lyrics concerning blackness and brownness. Solange continuously promotes and encourages blackness, and emphasizes the beautiful nature of it. From her listing various items and traits that are black and brown, and her describing that blackness is not a sinful nature. 

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