Donald Trump brought old school back. Explicit bigotry and racial violence are now back on the table, thanks to the Donald. Solange is demanding a seat at that same table, however. Her new album, “A Seat at the Table,” matches the open hostility of Trump’s movement with an equally unapologetic affirmation of blackness and self-determination. Solange is trying to tell us something. She gave us the freedom to feel pain and articulate that but more importantly, lessons to overcome it from an unlikely role model: Master P. This is the light we will follow in the age of “President Donald Trump.”
It is no accident that Donald Trump and Solange seemed to awaken at the same time. Donald Trump was a business man and entertainer but never a complete monstrosity, before now. Solange was the little sister of you-know-who, a singer we were vaguely aware of and all of a sudden she made an album that fearlessly speaks to race and empowerment. Both energies–white supremacy and black power–emerged simultaneously like diamonds after decades of pressure. In an age where white backlash to the advancement of women and people of color is now on full display, Solange said “enough.” In an age where white men are fearless in expressing their desire to maintain white supremacy, Solange was equally bold in expressing her intention to live in black power.
Solange features a track, “For Us By Us,” in which Master P talks about rejecting the crumbs he was offered from a white company and choosing to build his own. In “No Limits” P goes on to talk about how he began selling his own product, going to black neighborhoods to find a base of support. He was hard working, independent and relied on his own people to build up his early base. That is a blueprint, a blueprint for black power. On the same track, P reveals lessons from his grandfather. He told P directly, “them people ain’t gon’ do nothing for us.” That lesson fueled P to build for himself and from his own community. If there is any redemptive quality to a Trump presidency it just might be understanding the lesson P’s grandfather taught him. Yes, we live in an age of less blatant racial hostility (at least pre-Trump) but that does not mean anyone, regardless of their campaign rhetoric, will ever be as invested in our freedom as we are.
Malcolm X wrote in his autobiography that he actually preferred the white conservative to the white liberal. He likened the conservative to a wolf and the liberal to a fox. The wolf you can see coming, the fox is a bit more sly. Sure, a Clinton presidency would have been much better than a Trump presidency but still, the core concerns of black communities and especially black women would have gone unattended. With Trump, however, there is no confusion or subtlety–Trump is a wolf. Perhaps seeing this wolf and not a fox will stir us to action. The same Solange who encouraged us to move our money to black institutions is now telling us to start and support our own empires. She is telling us to be fearlessly black, articulate our pain and overcome it together. This is Trump’s day but definitely our time.