Solange Knowles and the Depression of the Black Woman


“I tried to run it away. Thought then my head would be clearer. I traveled 70 states. Thought moving round would make me feel better” (2:13 of Cranes In The Sky official music video from Solange Knowles)

Image result for solange knowles a seat at my table

Solange Knowles a Seat at The Table has been gaining popularity, especially with the single “Don’t Touch My Hair” which has over 6 million views since it’s release on October 2, 2016. However her second single, “Crane’s in the Sky” is what really captured my heart, made me aware of my sadness, and let me know that I wasn’t alone. That we all try to hide and avoid our struggles, our deppressions, our anxieties. This song was so poetic, with each verse holding a strong message of all the things we do to avoid the sadness we feel.

“I tried to drink it away. I tried to put one in the air. I tried to dance it away. I tried to change it with my hair…”

So many times I hear women in my family battling with deep emotional issues or scars, and covering it up with a new hair style, boyfriend, or happy hour. There’s a stigma in the black community that the black woman is strong and nothing can break her. The sad thing about this weight is that many black women feel they need to live up to this standard, and push away their emotions as if they could go away.

Don’t get me wrong, I understand depression affects every community, race, gender, it doesn’t discriminate. But there is a sad percentage of black women who suffer and don’t seek treatment.

According to an article published by the Huffington Post there was a  study done by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) detailing that 7.6%  of African-Americans sought treatment for depression in comparison to the 13.6 percent of the general population. With African American women experiencing high rates of depression compared to the general public (para. 5).

It’s taboo to talk about, and the fact that Solange wrote a song that reflects this issue is so important in the black community and women in general. Solange herself has done interviews and posted tweets letting her fans know she suffers with depression and the effect it has on her character (para. 20).

“I ran my credit card bill up. Thought a new dress would make it better. I tried to work it away. But that just made me even sadder”

^^This verse really struck home for me. I used to buy things to provide happiness, covering up my pain of feeling sad and unwanted. I never wanted to talk about it because I was a “big girl” and “big girls don’t cry” and I would tell myself this as I choked back my tears at night. Just like this verse, all those things just made me feel even sadder.

Now looking back, I’m glad I came to terms with my feelings and learned how to express them. Solange’s “Crane in The Sky” is a beautiful masterpiece that hopefully will bring up this conversation more and more in the black community, especially among the black women who have higher levels.

The Mental Health America (MHA) organization has an article providing more information about Depression in the African American community, with definitions and methods of treatment. Check it out, and share! Possibly even use it to start a discussion among your friends and family.

What do you all think? Have you listened to the song yet? What emotions did you feel?

Let me know in the comments!

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7 comments

  1. first let me say i love this post, second i am sorry that you used to/or still feel depressed in any way. I love her entire album and i think it speaks volumes to every aspect of the black community, our hair, our fears, our hopes, just everything. i am a little shocked by the statistics that you gave, but then again not really because black women go through so much and we try to hide it in order to just be “strong” that it does nothing but just eat away at us.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, this song spoke to me on so many levels, I had to write! lol

      The statistics shocked me as well. They even mentioned stresses like being a single parent, taking care of children, and other similar things that lead to depression.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. It is like she said in the song “Mad” we are not allowed to be mad and we have so many things to be mad at. However since we are not allowed to be mad as the song says I see how it translates into depression which is what “Cranes” is about. I love the entire album it speaks volumes for us.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I haven’t actually listened to the album at all, but after reading this I will definitely give it a chance. I applaud you for bringing up the issue of depression, especially for black women who have the added social expectation of being “strong” great post!

    Liked by 1 person

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