A Seat at the Table is Solange’s third studio album, released September 30, 2016 through her own label Saint Records and Columbia Records.
She announced the album’s release just three days before its due date. In a statement, Solange described the album as “a project on identity, empowerment, independence, grief and healing.” She has reportedly been working on the project since 2013.
Judnick Mayard wrote of the album on Solange’s own website Saint Heron:
A Seat at the Table is every bit as sonically intricate as expected from Solange, centering on her own journey of self-empowerment. In Black culture, the table is the unifier where family comes to talk and share over the bounty of what has been earned that day. Solange extends this seat as an invitation to outsiders to understand the truth of what it is to exist in Black skin and the labors that we take on for survival. The themes that permeate throughout the album – grief, anger, sorrow, power – can relate to anyone, but, here, she uses them to speak directly to Black womanhood and the attacks we face daily. Her story is rooted very much in her own family. With spoken interludes featuring both her mother and father, she displays how hers has always been a Black story; not just by accident but by the love, will, and the teachings of her parents.
Six of the album’s interludes include narration by New Orleans rapper turned mogul Master P. When interviewed by older sister Beyoncé for Interview Magazine, she explained her reasoning for using him:
… I find a lot of similarities in (Master P) and our dad. I remember reading or hearing things about (P) that reminded me so much of Dad growing up. And they also have an incredible amount of love and respect for one another. And I wanted a voice throughout the record that represented empowerment and independence, the voice of someone who never gave in, even when it was easy to lose sight of everything that he built, someone invested in black people, invested in our community and our storytelling, in empowering his people. You and I were raised being told not to take the first thing that came our way, to build our own platforms, our own spaces, if they weren’t available to us. And I think that he is such a powerful example of that.