MUSICOLOGY: THIS IS THE RECENT INTERVIEW AND SHOOT WHICH WAS DONE FOR HONEY MAGAZINE, SHE IS LOOKING GOOD.
Let’s just start with the question that’s on everyone’s minds: the big chop. We fell in love with the cut right away. We wanted to shoot you before the cut, but we were really excited when we saw it because we could really get fashion-y.
I guess you just go through different phases in your life. I was pretty much at the point where I needed the change and I needed to focus my energy on more productive arenas. I was putting too much into my appearance and I needed to make this about growth and going to the next stage of my life. I felt like I was being distracted by something as simple as hair. I’ve always been really fearless about change. I’ve cut my hair the same way when I was 16 and again when I was 18. This was my third time.
I saw a picture. That was really cool. I didn’t know you had done it three times.
Yeah, the picture that I supposedly Photo-shopped (laughs). A friend of mine was like ‘People are so stupid. I read somewhere that it was recent and you Photo-shopped the color.’ I was like ‘Yeah, because it’s that crucial.’
Because you have nothing better to do, right?
One thing that’s kind of been confusing me is that I keep hearing people say ‘Oh, great you’re going natural.’ Does that mean weave-free or does that mean perm-free? Because I haven’t had a perm since I was 13. It’s interesting how much hair plays a role in your life and character and schedule. I remember when I was 13 I went through my ‘I-am-Miss-Natural, incense-burning, Bob Marley-playing, only-vintage-shop-wearing Solange.’ So of course that included cutting my perm off, being a Vegan. I didn’t quite understand yet that my hair did not define me. Then I remember being 16 and being like ‘Okay, I can still be smart and I can still have the same beliefs that I have, but I did not have to have red Rasta braids. I can do that with straight hair. I can do that with a ‘fro. I can do that with a weave down to my butt.’ That was when I first cut my hair off. When I was 18 I got a hot flash because I was pregnant with [Julez] and I was like ‘It’s hot as hell so I’m cutting this shit off.’ But this time it was definitely more so about the growth and the energy and the time I was spending. It was about to be summer, and I didn’t want to have to worry about swimming or going to the park with my son or how hair was going to fit into my life. It was too much.
Obviously, it’s a different reaction with you because of who you are, but have you found that you’re received differently by the general public than you are with the long hair? How does the outside world treat you?
The first picture of me when I cut it off — I had no idea that there was any photography going on. I was looking like someone taking their kid to school at 7 o’clock in the morning in jeans and a top and no makeup on, no earrings, no nothing. That reaction was very harsh, very negative. I think it was the initial thought of change in someone that freaked everyone out. As a society we equate beauty with the images that have been placed in front of us since we were little kids. Every Disney movie, every fairy tale, every pop star typically has a certain aesthetic and look. I think that anytime we see something different, it freaks us out. The more people warmed up to it, and they saw more images of me with it and dressed up with my earrings and a little something, something on my face, I think then people were more willing to conform and accept it. Now, it’s interesting how the first day I had it, I had nothing but negative, evil, cruel things in my inbox and then yesterday [after Oprah aired] I had 300,000 people saying ‘Oh my God, you looked amazing, so beautiful, and you made us proud.’ People were able to hear my reasoning, which is good and bad because we should be able to just express ourselves.
Do you even care? Does it bother you at all?
Obviously not (laughs). I knew what the reaction would be before it happened. I’ve always been in-tune with what physically and emotionally makes me happy. I was that little girl that wanted to wear the tutu and tap shoes as my nanny is sitting next to me shaking her head ‘Yes, yes.’ All through high school I got made fun of because of what I wore and what music I listened to, so this is just junior high for me all over again. I don’t care, and I don’t think I ever will because at the end of the day, these are not the people who are going to be there to change a flat tire or who help you in ways that you really need it. This is a really fickle and materialistic and narcissistic industry. I try not to put too much into that because it will eat you alive. The people that I love and that I really care about — their opinions matter. Those are the people that have nothing but positive things to say.
Let’s talk about the Honey shoot, you coming in and seeing all those crazy clothes that you fell in love with. How was your experience shooting with us?
It was amazing. You guys had the best energy of a shoot to me — I was just talking about it last night on Twitter. I really admire and study and respect the brilliance of fashion. I don’t live, breathe, eat, drink and depend on fashion to be more than what it is. I think when you have that frame of mind you really can go there. You really have no resignations about putting looks together that are just fun and fearless and that’s what you guys provided and allowed me to do so I was really happy.
Good. Who’s closet would you raid if you had the chance to do it?
Probably Björk. It would be a tie between her and Grace [Jones], but I think I’d have to go with Björk because over the years there have been so many different phases and extremes and color. I am a person who loves color and I think it’s the most beautiful backdrop for life.
You talked a little bit about your stages for fashion and philosophy but what would you say this stage is in your style evolution? What are you looking toward for spring 2010?
I think right now, I’m learning how to incorporate completely different extremes as to my last record, it was just like an overstimulation of extremes, which I love. Now, I’m learning how to have one more simple extreme or one more statement extreme, and learning how to blend those together. But you probably will still see me rocking animal print as I did the other day. Someone cracked up laughing and was like ‘Where the hell do you think you’re going with flannel, leopard and stripes?’ I was like ‘I’m going to tackle my day.’