Woke anthem of the year: 'Formation' or 'Don't Touch My Hair'? | The Tylt
Woke anthem of the year: 'Formation' or 'Don't Touch My Hair'?
It's the end of the year! And throughout December, we're facing-off the best songs, albums, movies, TV shows, comic books, video games, sports, pro athletes and entertainers of 2016. The "Best of 2016" is chosen by a combination of popularity, impact, acclaim, rankings and/or amount sold. But ultimately, we want you to let us know who and what from 2016 won the year in each category.
Bey's "Lemonade" and Solange's "A Seat at the Table" both feature unapologetically woke songs. On their albums, they talk about Black womanhood, Black Lives Matter, the fight against systemic racism and other social issues marginalized groups face. Ultimately, Bey and Solange used their music to express their pro-Blackness—which is the love for and self-awareness of one's culture and identity—despite racism, sexism and intersectional oppression. But which song is the most unapologetically woke song of 2016?
And don't forget to cast your vote in these other end of year debates:
Bey kicked off 2016 with her top 10 pop hit "Formation." The song and its accompanying music video caused a lot of "controversy." Bey declared her stance against police brutality and wore attire resembled the Black Panthers aesthetic during her Super Bowl performance. In retaliation, some police officers said they would refuse to work one of her concerts. Although some don't believe in policing communities, Bey—like many community organizers and activists—clarified the fight against police brutality isn't 'anti' the lives of police officers in a statement. It's simple; she believes in the fight against the continued dehumanization of Black lives. Bey continued her political stance following the deaths of Philando Castile and Alton Sterling.
Yet, the single and music video continued to garner both praise and controversy. But like Bey stated in the lyrics, "You know you that bitch when you cause all this conversation. Always stay gracious, best revenge is your paper."
Solange released her acclaimed album "A Seat at the Table" in September, officially stepping out of her sister's shadow. The album's release was accompanied with two music videos: "Cranes in the Sky" and "Don't Touch My Hair."
The latter is definitely self-explanatory. Black women have always had to remind people not to pet their hair like some sort of subhuman or pet. If you are curious or you like what you see—then genuinely express interest or admiration for the hairstyle. But many agree it's absolutely rude and even violent to touch someone without their consent. That includes hair. "Don't Touch My Hair" is one of Solange's many odes to Black womanhood and intersectional Black identities on her latest effort. But as straightforward as the song might see, Solange's hairstylist Nikki Nelms told New York Magazine it has many meanings.
It means so many different things, but I’ll tell you one. Everyone has their own hair and their own style, and what they like. That’s something that you have to own as an individual. Sometimes people will try to imitate you, or sometimes they want you to imitate them, or put pressure on you if you don’t look a certain way. “Don’t Touch My Hair” is the preservation of you. Praising your style, your look, for you. It’s cool to be you. Solange’s whole movement promotes that. That’s just who she is, and she doesn’t let anyone change her. You miss out on so much by trying to imitate someone else’s style.