“For us, this shit is for us” confidently sings Solange on the track “F.U.B.U.,” making it clear that some things are primarily for black folk, for us, and if others can’t understand it, so be it. Throughout the album she pieces together the resiliency of blackness through stories of self-awareness, joy, depression, doubt, self-care, and pride. All the while, F.U.B.U. provides the celebratory backbone that enhances each song. Solange is intentional and it doesn’t stop at the final message that listeners walk away with, the creation of her art echoes the same sentiments. Several African Diaspora artists are seen throughout the record’s credits, establishing that this album is for us, created by us, and that a seat will always be available at our table.
From South London with roots in Sierra Leone, Sampha makes his appearance on the album in “Don’t Touch My Hair;” a song built on defiance and an unwillingness to compromise one’s belief. This singer/songwriter and producer’s distinct and airy vocals can be heard in the post-hook, as he repeatedly sings, “What you say to me?”
A first-generation Ethiopian-American, Kelela comes as no surprise as a feature. Her musical relationship with Solange dates back to her work on the Saint Heron compilation album, not to mention that she is signed to Solange’s label of the same name. Her recognizable falsetto vocals complement Solange’s voice in the song “Scales,” an ode to black men
Nigerian-born music producer and bass player for the group Metronomy, Olugbenga joins the credit list in the track “Don’t You Wait” as the writer, producer and backing vocals
4. Kwesi Sey
British-Ghanaian producer, singer/songwriter, and musician, Kwesi makes his appearance on “Don’t You Wait” as a writer and producer while also producing the tracks “Where Do We Go,” “Don’t Wish Me Well,” and “Scales.
Dev Hynes, also known as Blood Orange, is a British singer, songwriter, producer, and musician. He has written hits for the likes of FKA Twigs, Sky Ferreira, and previous songs with Solange. Recently he released an album titled Freetown Sound, named after the capital of his native country, Sierra Leone. His album shares the musical influence his heritage has had on his life. He finds his place on A Seat At The Table on the backing vocals of “Interlude: At this Moment.
6. Moses Sumney
The Ghanaian-American singer/songwriter provides vocals on the track “Mad.” Like Dev Hynes and Kelela, this isn’t the first collaboration with Solange. At the FYF Fest in Los Angeles, the two performed a cover of Nina Simone’s “To Be Young, Gifted & Black” alongside Dev Hynes and KING.
Painter, poet, and writer, this London-based, British-Ghanaian artist took a profound effect on Solange’s visuals in her music videos for “Don’t Touch My Hair” and “Cranes In The Sky.” Solange shouted out Lynette on her Instagram stating:
“Thank you #lynetteyiadomboakye for being a great source of inspiration and courage during my writing process….This one is for you”
Her art also finds its way into the album’s visual zine, as Solange recreates portraits by Boakye of black figures by reinterpreting with the use of New Orleans’ scenic backdrops, a place she calls home and much of her artistic inspiration.
These artists from the African Diaspora evoke inclusion and symbolic rejoicing in blackness. Solange is intentional in her art and her message; she makes it clear this is ‘For Us’ and most certainly created ‘By Us.’