How Solange is Creating a ‘For Us By Us’ Community Around Black Art

“For us, this sh*t is for us.” – Solange, “F.U.B.U.” , A Seat at the Table

Solange Knowles has always been for the culture. It’s evident through her artistry. You can see it, you can feel it and you can hear it in every thing she does; undoubtedly with intent. So there’s no surprise to see her creating a space to share and appreciate Black art and culture.

Solange’s Saint Heron Community Library was announced earlier this month offering free access to a range of “Black and Brown voices in poetry, visual art, critical thought and design.” The platform will serve as a media center equipped with a collection of rare books by Black creators. The library’s intent is to create an archive of valuable works and make them accessible for study, research and inspiration.

Readers in the U.S. can sign up to borrow the available literary works for up to 45 days using an online borrowing system via the Saint Heron website. Books will then be shipped via Worldnet with shipping and return costs covered, making the whole process completely free.

According to the announcement, the community library will operate in seasons with titles selected by guest curators. On October 18 the first season launched curated by Rosa Duffy, founder of For Keeps Books, an Atlanta-based boutique book shop and reading room. This season was also done in partnership with Aēsop, a global skincare brand that believes in amplifying literature and creating safe spaces in their community. Season one will be available until the end of November.

Creating a safe space to honor and archive Black art and its creators is extremely valuable. Historically, our voices, talents and knowledge have been subject to silencing by others but have never stopped being loud to us. Brilliant works of Black literature have existed for years on in yet access to those works have been limited. With accessibility at its forefront Saint Heron Community Library believes in getting the materials in the hands of the community. This collective library is for us, by us.

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