Solange Knowles is known for being the more outspoken of the Knowles sisters. Frequently speaking out about issues surrounding women of colour, feminism, and racial injustices, she is celebrated for telling it how it is.
One subject close to her heart is her hair, and more specifically the politics of it as a black woman. On her album A Seat At The Table she has a song dedicated to the topic, 'Don't Touch My Hair', which features the lyrics 'don't touch my hair / it's the feelings I wear'.
So it is perhaps unfortunate that ES Magazine decided to crop out her elaborated braided hairstyle on its cover this week, leading to the inevitable anger of the singer. Sharing the cover on her Instagram stories last night, she circled the spot where her braided blonde halo created by stylist Joanne Petit-Frére should have appeared, before sharing a still of the cover on her account with the caption 'dtmh' (don't touch my hair).
In the cover interview, Solange references the amount of time taken to create the hairstyle, blaming it for her lateness: 'She jokingly puts her failure to make our meeting down to the intricate, time-consuming braiding work she has had done for her most recent look — visible in our shoot — adapted for her brief Orion’s Rise tour that closes at the Greek Theater in Berkeley, California, on Sunday.'
She also speaks about the importance of her hair and braiding itself to her as a woman of colour, describing it as 'act of beauty, an act of convenience and an act of tradition', making the magazine's decision to crop it out of the cover even more unfortunate.
It's not the first time that Solange has spoken out about her hair. In 2012, after she was trolled for her natural hair on Twitter, she told Essence magazine: 'I think many people, especially from other cultures, just don't understand the role hair plays in black women's lives. I can now transform the energy surrounding my hair into something way more productive.'
Solange's reaction to the ES cover isn't the only bad press that it's getting at the moment: the writer connected to it has 'publically disowned' it, Tweeting that: 'I told my editors to take my name off of the byline because they distorted my work and reporting in ways that made me very uncomfortable.'