Solange

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10min1911

Solange’s Don’t Touch My Hair served as a declaration for black women, that their hair is an extension of who they are and that it’s their crown of glory. India.Arie’s I am Not My Hair was a bold statement from the inner being, vehemently saying the scrutiny she faces can’t be based on the exterior. The contradiction of the two ideologies in the songs is an epitome of women’s differing feelings towards hair. Moriri. Izinwele. Misisi. It can be such a contentious topic.

I’ve had the fine thread stands in my head for the past few days since watching Chris Rock’s 2009 doccie Good Hair again a few days ago. In addition to that, I’ve been witness to a salvo of posts from female friends on social media about their anxiety of being unable to do their hair during this lockdown. While some females are shit scared that they’ll be looking like Ol’Dirty Bastards lost daughters during this time, others see this as an opportunity to just let their hair down and not worry about looking the part for anybody, for the next few weeks.

“Actually I’ve never really thought about that, ukuthi izinwele zami yicrowd. Eish angazi” says Smangele Vilakazi, laughing.  She currently has cornrows and says she usually wears her hair natural as an afro if she doesn’t feel like wearing a weave. “No, this lockdown hasn’t brought any anxiety because my hair doesn’t require too much work. I just wash it, let it dry and then it’s good.” Smangele changes her hairstyle every month, depending on what style she’s wearing.

“I have locks, I never call them ‘dreadlocks’ because there is nothing dreadful about my hair,” Nobantu Baba tells me. “Currently with the lockdown, I let my hair hang loose only indoors, I usually have it in different styles or wrapped up in a turban, but I never strain it with tight pulling hairdos. I try to keep it simple.”

A photo of well done cornrows.
A photo of well done cornrows.

Conspiracy theorists will be happy to know that Nobantu is more concerned about the virus making home in her hair, than the anxiety brought by not being able to visit a salon. “I’ve heard theories of the virus getting stuck on your hair, so I don’t take chances. With grooming it, I don’t stress much because it probably needs a break too. I’m also lucky to have my boyfriend who has experience grooming natural hair, so he mixes up special oils to keep the skull nourished and he styles it when needs be.”

Thando Dhaza loves her mane, but doesn’t see it as a crown. “I have cornrows, I always have cornrows if not braids,” she says. “[The lockdown] has caused some anxiety because I do my hair every three weeks.”

Similar to Nobantu, Nicole Ling-Ling Sidell finds herself on lockdown with someone who can do her hair. “I’m not a salon person, I do my hair myself. But with the braids, I got lucky because I’m in lockdown with my sister-in-law who is really bomb with hair. And she did it for free,” Nicole says.

Clair Mawisa with her well-taken care of locks. Clair Mawisa Twitter.
Clair Mawisa with her well-taken care of locks. Clair Mawisa Twitter.

She bats for Team Solange in that she sees her hair as her pride. “Let me tell you something. Hair is very important to women, but for me it goes a level up because I’m a fashionista. It completes my looks, an outfit can be really dope but without the perfect hairstyle, might as well not rock it.”

“I’m currently growing my natural hair from scratch because it got damaged as a result of my recent obsession with bleach. I wear a wig most of the time, but since the lockdown I got box braids. Really long ones, been wanting to do them for a while but didn’t have the time to. So now well, we all got time currently,” says Nicole laughing. She washes her hair every three days and applies a special mixture of crushed marijuana seeds and coconut oil.

I like it natural. Black Enterprise
I like it natural. Black Enterprise

Felicia, who is a hairstylists says the lockdown has affected her to a point where she has to operate as though she’s selling contraband. “I firstly never took this [Coronavirus outbreak] serious but I realised that big companies and big stores are being closed and we’re forced to be isolation. Me and a friend of mine manged to get a permit, which we had to fix at the internet café by adding our own names and details so that I’m able to go to Joburg to stock up.”

Her salon of more than five years, is situated in a double-garage in her yard and was forced to close by police last week.

Sitting with her, Felicia plays me WhatsApp voice notes from some of her customers who are inquiring if she’s open for business. “My business is operating, but I do house calls although it’s a challenge because you get there and someone tells you they forgot about the appointment or that they aren’t home.”

One of Felicia's custormers. Photo supplied.
One of Felicia’s clients. Photo supplied.

Whether you’re Team Solange or Team India.Arie, only you as a black woman know what your hair means.

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6min1400

IT’s like being soul-crushingly stood-up last minute by the one you’ve been pursuing for a long while, and then jiki-jki you’re cringingly excited by a random call or text from your perpetrator, not long after being let down.

So that was it; how I felt after the announcement of this year’s AfroPunk Joburg line-up. A friend who had the flyer on his WhatsApp status was going crazy over GoldLink finally coming down south for a performance. SMH. After a closer look, I also saw the names of Solange Piaget Knowles and Micah Davis. SMFH.

The three of them; Solange, GoldLink and Masego abandoned their South African fans and left them hanging in the past few years. It was in the afternoon of December 2017 , Central African Time, when Beyoncé’s baby sister dropped the bombshell on Insta, stating health reasons for cancelling her performance at AfroPunk’s inaugural African event. “…however it is important to me for the people in South Africa, a place that has tremendous meaning to me and that has given me SO SO MUCH, to know why I won’t be performing at Afropunk this NYE. The past five months I have been quietly treating, and working through an Autonomic Disorder,” she wrote on social media.

AP organisers vehemently promised to have the dope-ass creative the following year, mara nex in twenty18. A part of me is like “Tsek!” after I saw her name on this year’s flyer while another leans on the proverb “better late than never”.

While Solange was specific about her condition, rap singer GoldLink just said he had a health issue, in a statement released by Rocking The Daises organisers. “Due to unforeseen personal health reasons, GoldLink will not be performing at this year’s Rocking The Daises and In the City festivals in Cape Town and Johannesburg. GoldLink is extremely disappointed that he won’t be playing to his South African fans this weekend but promises to return soon.” He is returning soon, sooner than Solange was promised to us.

AfroPunk2019 lineup
AfroPunk2019 lineup

Jamaican-born musician Masego had fans dissatisfied last year, when he was booked to headline the Flying Fish Flavour Odyssey together with rapper J.I.D but cancelled due to “unforeseen circumstances”. The Navajo singer was stranded at an airport, in another continent just a day before his performance. Like a decent human being, he apologised and made the promise to return. And he kept it. Masego performed earlier this month to throngs of his fans. I’m just not sure whether South Africans want to see more of the lanky dude,so soon.

AP better have a back-up plan should all three decide to take a rain check-the three have left scars on their Mzansi fans which will take some time to heal. “I have very hectic trust issues. This line-up is triggering me. The ghosts of all the money I threw away at Flying Fish, Rocking The Daisies and AfroPunk2018 is screaming at me right now,” said ManchaM on twitter.

This year’s line-up was released earlier than AP usually publishes their list of performers. It’s kinda too good to be true. Only time will tell if the said artists will perform at this year’s AP.

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5min1530

YOU remember how impeccable J.Cole’s 2014 Forest Hill’s Drive was. I think he was also shocked with how good that album came out. I think Solange Knowles felt the same way after making A Seat At The Table.

But the difference between the two artists, is that Cole tried by all means to steer away from anything remotely similar to like F.H.D when he made 4 Your Eyez Only. Beyoncé’s younger sister on the other hand, attempted to make another Seat At The Table-or at least a more esoteric version, with When I Get Home-but failed.

The album lands on the ear as an incomplete project because of the annoying number of interludes. As soon as I tried to engage with a track, it abruptly ended. It’s like she made the album based on research by scientists, about the short attention span of today’s youth. Over 10 tracks are less than three minutes, not to suggest a great song is defined by its duration, but one gets a sense that Solange didn’t have an idea of what to do. Instead, she horrendously used Seat At The Table as a template.

This album lacks direction and makes me wonder how much of a contribution she had in her previous album. The legendary Raphael Saadiq was the executive producer of the project, along other producers and musicians who’ve been in the game for decades.
When I Get Home seems like Solange’s way of being young and hip, to be more appealing to the youth. Some of this album’s producers include Metro Boomin, Dev Hynes and has contributions from Tyler the Creator and Earl Sweatshirt.

Sonically this album isn’t far off Seat At The Table, but it’s short of a solid theme and cohesiveness. It’s the kinda project that makes the producer look bad. But having shat on the album, I admit there are some enjoyable ditties on the project like Way to The Show and Down with the Clique. True to its name, Dreamy was quite dreamy and airy, I didn’t mind repeating the song. These are tracks that didn’t hit me at first go, but with time, I got into their vibe-if the album was a stand-up comedy special, I’d have to watch it again for those few jokes I had to nit-pick for laughs.

Time (Is) is the only track that hit, from the word go. I enjoyed it, especially the switch of the beat later in the song, where Sampha’s backing vocals give it so much body.
Most artists have a bad album in their career, but I didn’t expect Solange to deliver it right after A Seat At The Table. That I’ve mentioned her previous album countless times on this review tells you that When I Get Home ain’t that ayoba.

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3min2440

JUST FOUR DAYS before he was to headline Rocking The Daises and In the City festivals, it was announced that US artist GoldLink won’t be performing in the country this weekend.

“Due to unforeseen personal health reasons, Goldlink will not be performing at this year’s Rocking the Daisies and In the City festivals in Cape Town and Johannesburg. Goldlink is extremely disappointed that he won’t be playing to his South African fans this weekend but promises to return soon,” read the statement from event organisers yesterday.

Last year Solange gave a similar reason for cancelling her performance at the inaugural Afro Punk Johannesburg just days before she was to headline the festival. But unlike Afro Punk, Rocking The Daises and In the City festivals were swift at finding a suitable replacement for the Washington D.C rap singer.

The statement included that Aminé will be GoldLink’s replacement at both events. Aminé is a suitable substitute, as the two do comparable music and have a similar fan base, although GoldLink’s music has more body than Caroline rap singer Aminé.

“I was sad but I mean with GoldLink after he plays Crew, what else are we finna listen to. Most of his songs are feel music anyways. Aminé at least we got both albums with sufficient amount of jams. We have Majid Jordan to put us in our feels, please I’m not there to cry,” said Clownish Gambino on Twitter.

But as much as the announcement that Aminé would be the plan B was welcomed by some, others weren’t happy at the news. “Bathong, GoldLink just cancelled on us??? Wow,” Okay Wasabi Tweeted. “Solange and GoldLink are the reasons I have trust issues,” said Szechuan.

Rocking the Daisies takes place this weekend where the likes of 6Lack, Soulection and Mura Masa will be present in Cape Town while In the City takes place on Sunday at Emmarentia Dam in Joburg with the same artists who will perform in the Western Cape.

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5min2181

AFRO Punk released the line-up for this year instalment of the festival, to a mixed reaction from South Africans who have a couple of names they also would like to add to the bill.

The three day festival returns after it made its debut on the mother land last year in Joburg. This year’s AP will be headlined by The Internet, Flying Lotus, Kaytranada, Thandiswa Mazwai, Thundercat and iconic rap clique Public Enemy. More artists will be announced as we get closer to the festival.

“The Internet, Kaytranada and Thundercat is reason enough for me to go…but my expectations were very high,” said Psykaytic Ròes on Facebook. While Thabang Magodielo said she was expecting singing sensation H.E.R, Solange, SZA and Tom Misch, but was happy with some of the artists on the line-up.

The Internet, who recently released their critically acclaimed album Hive Mind will be in Joburg this year

Last year’s AP took a huge knock, when headline act Solange said she wouldn’t make it to South Africa for the festival due to health reasons. AP organisers together with Solange then promised to have the Don’t Touch My Hair singer for this year’s instalment. But dololo Solange.

Moonchild, who has taken the country by storm is also on the line-up. Her name though, brought confusion for some people as they thought it was the international group, not our very own modern Brenda Fassie.  There was an air of disappointment from some people that it’s not the Los Angeles trio on the line-up. “Moonchild Sanelly? Andizi Jonga, Andizi,”said Lesia Obiwan-Kenobi Kalane.

The inclusion of Public Enemy left me a tad puzzled. Although the group last released an album in 2017 (Nothing Is Quick in the Desert), I’m a bit sceptical about the old guys pulling a strong performance.

Public Enemy

I was expecting to see names of Zoë Modiga, Samthing Soweto and at least Ikati Esengxoweni on this year’s line-up.  While The Brother Moves On’s performance last year was one of the stand-outs, having them back wouldn’t have ruined anything.

Other names that excited people were Youngsta CPT, Soweto band BCUC and the younger Mazwai sister, Nomisupasta who was the host at the final of Battle of the Bands final, in Tembisa last year.

People had been eagerly waiting  for this line-up to come out, that early bird tickets were sold out instantly after AP made the announcement.

 

Unlike other brands that come to the country to make a quick buck, AP made a commitment to be in the city for at least five years, so this is just the second episode of AP Joburg and this one promises to be a step-up from last year’s. Hopefully there won’t be any last minute cancellations from the artist’ part, the people would infuriated.


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