We can all let out a sigh of relief that as perfect as she is, Solange was just as dorky as us in high school. Last night, Solange was one of the honourees at the 70th annual Parsons Benefit, a fundraiser celebrating icons of fashion, art, and design, with the singer of course being praised for her undeniable sense of style. Vince Staples may have introduced the younger Knowles by gushing that she “has the perfect balance of integrity and compassion and just being aware of the world around her. It never comes across as fake”, though Solange, as it turns out, wasn’t born into this world a fashion icon — far from it, as she revealed in her speech.
Solange weaves a tale of youth where her Texas-based family took a trip to New York, but it wasn’t the Empire State Building or Statue of Liberty that caught her eye: no, it was Capri pants. The singer went crazy, buying three pairs, which upon her return to the South she proudly wore to school while “straight feeling myself, walking into school with a shoulder lean, head high.”
These Capri pants were as alien to her Houston classmates as they were to Solange, unfortunately though not in the same positive and inspiring way: “them hating-ass kids dragged me from one hallway to the next. They asked if it was ‘flooding’ because my pants were so high-water,” she relayed.
For most this was a situation they would bury deep in the pile of shame among other awkward events that only haunt you when you’re trying to fall asleep, but what makes Solange, well, Solange is that she used it as a learning experience about how to empower herself: “I learned then and there that I had to figure out a way in life to maintain my sense of pride when I felt good about what I did, or what I represented or created, even if the world ridiculed me.”
Not only does her story lend itself to a fantasy of an alternate-universe, Solange-starring version of Mean Girls, it also underlines the unique sense of authenticity and creative independence that garnered her the award in the first place.