Solange is arguably one of the greatest artists of our time. Her smooth melodic tunes find balance in being easy on the ears and deeply moving of the heart. Since the release of ‘A Seat At The Table’, the singer has made intentional gestures to acclaim Black people’s humanity, resilience, and pride. Essentially, Solange is “for the culture” so we weren’t surprised when she phenomenally staged ‘An Ode To’ at Guggenheim Museum this past May.
Attendees were required to wear white as a semblance of Black women’s alignment with God. While no cell phones were permitted inside the concert, the set’s artistic detail still stands out in the minds of many, including Essence Hayes, who attended the event in haste. Hayes is the creative founder of two culturally positioned companies Essence Murjani, an inventory of handmade nameplate necklaces, and Coloring Pins, the destination for enamel pins and patches. The Bronx native is also a huge fan of Solange and Saint Heron. Hayes recalls being moved to tears during Solo’s emotional performance of Cranes In The Sky. “Solange affirmed us in that space. Our Black bodies taking up space in that very White establishment,” she said. “I was on a high for about a week.”
But it didn’t end there. Charged with creative energy, Hayes immediately went to work creating a one-of-a-kind enamel pin just for Solange. “Gift giving is my love language and I wanted to give her something physical to remember that day. I’ll never forget it.”
The ‘An Ode To Solange’ pin pays homage to the show’s breathtaking scenography we know only Solange could put in motion. For Hayes, it’s a reminder of the tearful shift she experienced while locking eyes with the singer on stage. It’s a moment in time she’ll remember forever, and for that, the pin maker just wants to tell Solo, “Thanks, Sis!”
Hayes on what Solange means to her:
“She represents freedom of expression in every sense — her art, creativity, and how she presents herself to the world. She’s really about Black As Fuck life and you can’t tell her anything about it. Solange does what she wants and I think that’s so important for Black women to see.”
As beautiful as ‘An Ode To Solange’ is, Hayes, declares that it won’t be available to the public. “People really get upset but I’m not selling them. I didn’t make a pin for Coloring Pins; I made it for Solange Knowles,” she explains. Hayes has also made the same gesture for SZA and Tracee Ellis Ross. She continues, “I just shared it on my own platform. I have zero plans of ever selling that design. If Solange decided she wanted to release some, then maybe. That’s not on my agenda though.” It’s one of those times when symbolism and gratitude outweigh popularity and financial gain.
Pin lovers might not be able to add this one to their collection, but with dope, cultural items like Hayes’ popular Zaria pins, recently seen on Issa Rae’s Insecure, and Jay-Z inspired The Story of OJ patch set, we’re certain they’ll check out satisfied. Until her next product is released, you can find Hayes listening to Rise or Don’t Touch My Hair on repeat.
Ariel C. Williams is the founding editor-in-chief of Slay Culture. She’s a millennial who’s down for the culture, loves Netflix, and pegs Master P as one of her entrepreneurial heroes. Buy her book The Girl Talk Chronicles here. Follow her at @ArielSaysNow everywhere.