Solange played Afropunk with Sampha (pics, video), directing SZA video
Like she did at Panorama, Outside Lands, FYF Fest, and Pitchfork Festival, Solange brought her spectacular and meticulously-imagined set to Brooklyn's Afropunk Festival on Saturday (8/26). She headlined that day, and her label Saint Heron also curated the festival's Green stage, which featured performances from Sampha, Thundercat, Sinkane, and KING. (more pictures HERE and HERE).
Billboard was on hand to take in Solange's Afropunk set. They said:
Solange started nearly 30 minutes late due to a handful of technical difficulties. But as soon as Solange's signature red lighting bathed the stage, fans knew the show was finally about to start. Moments later, Solange -- plus her two backup vocalists and numerous band members -- walked out in their uniforms of red to open with “Rise.” Each person on stage played an integral role in the performance art that is a Solange set, from the in-synch isometric movements to the densely layered live production.
Largely contrasting SZA's more freeform performance, Solange's strictly structured set finally loosened up during “F.U.B.U” when the instrumentalists, which at this point had gathered together to appear like a full marching band, ripped into a funky instrumental jam while Solange sunk down to the ground to twerk on her hands and knees.
Even the headlining stage seemed too small of a space for Solange (fans had climbed on top of Porta Potties for a better view) but she made sure that her soothing and stunning performance, both visually and audibly, eased any and all woes. Technical difficulties and crowding aside, her presence and performance ensured Afropunk day one ended on a high.
Check out pictures of Solange's Afropunk set in the gallery above, and a few videos below, including one of Sampha joining Solange for "Don't Touch My Hair."
Solange has more upcoming tour dates, including Radio City Music Hall with Earl Sweatshirt, Sun Ra Arkestra and Chassol; the Made in America Festival in Philly; and Tyler the Creator's Camp Flog Gnaw. She has also been busy with other creative endeavors. She directed the video for fellow Afropunk performer SZA's "The Weekend," which SZA said, in an interview with USA Today, would be the next release from her 2017 album CTRL. SZA wouldn't reveal many details about the video, but she did say:
Although the singer won't spill details about its exact concept, she says it features 10 different locations and looks. SZA first met Solange a year ago and has talked about collaborating ever since. "I love her," SZA says. "I think the universe is just bringing us closer to each other. That's my homegirl."
Solange also has a "digital interactive dossier" at London's Tate Modern. "Seventy States," which debuted on Friday, is a response to Soul of a Nation: Art in the Age of Black Power, and specifically a photograph of artist Betye Saar. The digital multimedia project, which includes poetry, performance art, and previously unseen visual concepts from videos for 2016's A Seat At the Table, is available to view online. Solange describes the project:
There would be no hesitation should I be asked to describe myself today. I am a Black woman. A woman yes, but a Black woman first and last. Black womanhood has been at the root of my entire existence since birth.
During the creation of A Seat at the Table and my deeper exploration into my own identity, I experienced many different states of being, and mind throughout my journey. I mourned. I grieved. I raged. I felt fear and triumph while working through some of the trauma I set out to heal from. The state I so greatly wanted to experience, but that never arrived was optimism. I couldn't answer my own question, if I had a responsibility as an artist to also express optimism in the midst of working through so much of my own healing.
I decided to do this through a visual language. I wanted to create this language to help me to get closer to the balance I yearned to be closer to and express. I wanted to create a meditation and mediation using movement, repetition, symmetry, color theory, landscape and scenography, as my own individualised protest.
photos by P Squared