Solange Knowles’ childhood photos were all destroyed by strangers. NYU’s Global Trailblazer honored Solange on International Women’s Day.
As the honorary speaker she explained the evolution of Saint Heron, a multidisciplinary creative group that seeks to expand cultural, art, music, design conversations and communities.
She was honored by Dr. Lisa Coleman, New York University’s (NYU) inaugural senior vice president for global inclusion and strategic innovation.
In attempt to find an environment that would understand her as a black female creator, the artist developed Saint Heron. At the time of the evolution, she was shifting from a major label and signed to an Indie label.
“The first meeting that I had was with the publicist who asked me sort of where I saw the release of this music being birthed into. I remember being given this sheet of paper with options of publications that we could sort of serve the album to, and none of these spaces could identify the nuances that I considered myself in my community to have. I had to pick and choose parts of myself as I chose these spaces to have conversations about my work. So, I felt like at that moment that I had to create the spaces myself.”
Saint Heron was invented with a musical intent to aid familiar culture, that was not picked apart, but completed the understanding of what she knew to be authentic cultural sound.
She also spoke about how she paid homage to legendary black record labels like No Limit and Cash Money. The inspiration of these companies selling records from their trunks and having a father who was very bold pushed her to embody those skills in creating a new musical space.
A team of artists collaborated to develop the “Saint Heron” musical compilation album created through her independent label Saint Records.
The 12-track project included contributions and original material from Jhene Aiko, Cassie, Sampha, B.C Kingdom and newcomer Kelela
The collaborators hit three locations in New York City to promote the disc. Daily Mail, Solange complimented the promotion with her brand-new Lamborghini Murcielago decorated by Rashaad Newsome with artwork similar to the Saint Heron cover art.
Knowles said she only expected 50 to 100 people to come out to the event. However, there was a turnout of over 1000. From there Saint Heron continued to build new spaces for creators, including journalism and pottery.
During the conversation Solange revealed how building creative spaces has always been a part of her life.
Her creative sparks come from her mother as well, allowing the hair salon that her and Beyonce would attend to, to be their daycare space, as opposed to them sitting at a daycare institution or someone’s home.
She also revealed how her aunts played a part in her evolution of creativity after the family sold their home. Solange and her sister Beyonce grew up in Houston’s third ward.
Solange was 10 years old when homebuyers came in to renovate the house. However, during the process the renovators destroyed the families’ photos.
“I had no photos of myself under the age 10. Only the ones my aunts had.”
Although Solange Knowles’ childhood photos were all destroyed by strangers, she didn’t lose the full visual of her childhood.
The artist spoke about how her aunts would tell stories of events that took place during her childhood. This would later elevate her gift in creative visualization.
She explained how this helped her become the creative that she is today.