“I really, really love it [in New Orleans]. It is also one of those things you can’t put into words, you can’t really put your finger on what is so magical about it.” -Solange Knowles, interview for Vogue.com.
New Orleans has always been a hub for art, music, cultural vibrancy and beautiful Architecture. After Hurricane Katrina devastated the city, New Orleans has rebuilt and become more popular than ever.
A contributing factor to the popularity of New Orleans is celebrities like Beyoncé and Sandra Bullock visiting and buying houses in the city. But one of the biggest yet under-appreciated stars who actually lives in New Orleans and contributes to the culture is the queen of aesthetics herself, Solange Knowles.
Since her move to New Orleans in 2013, Solange has made major contributions to the community and truly embraced New Orleans culture without exploiting it.
Not only does Solange give back to the community financially by helping victims of a recent tornado devastation in early February, she regularly puts on events such as Wine&Grind, Proclamation, Crush On You Ball and various artist talks through her brand, Saint Heron.
She provides a space for New Orleans natives to come together and enjoy themselves through music and dance and allows them to just be themselves.
Solange’s mother, Tina Knowles, is from New Iberia which is about two hours away from New Orleans. It is there where she wrote her album, A Seat At the Table. In an interview for her online publication Saint Heron, Solange said:
“A huge part of me moving to Louisiana was to really have a moment of self-reflection and self-discovery. I’m a strong believer that in order to know where you’re going, you have to know where you came from.”
Solange hired models from the city for her music videos Cranes in the Sky and Don’t Touch My Hairand hired New Orleans musicians to be part of her band for her Saturday Night Live performance. By hiring natives, she allows the city to be shown through her work.
Solange and her close friend and business partner Armina Mussa beautifully curate the Saint Heron Shop, in which I had the pleasure of shooting several looks for. The vision of both of these two beautiful women incorporates New Orleans scenery with beautiful clothing made by Phlemunsand C/MEO Collective.
From a Native New Orleanian’s perspective, I personally appreciate everything she has done for the city. I love that she appreciates New Orleans for its rich culture and does not try to exploit that for profit. Her evolving aesthetic continues to exude her personality and her connection the city of New Orleans. It is an honor to have worked with her and viewed her vision on a personal level. It is truly inspiring.