Words by Rosanne Stewart
Palm trees are attracted to humidity, to the heat; it’s where they thrive. With that in mind, it’s hardly a surprise to see the tropical leaf making a fierce appearance on one of the hottest, highly-anticipated albums of the year, A Seat at the Table. Solange’s delicately-angered 21 track masterpiece landed last month, scoring the new-fangled R&B sensation her first number one album on the American Billboard Chart.
Debuting music videos for the exquisitely dreamy Cranes in the Sky and the electro-funk, head-bopper, Don’t Touch my Hair, Solange’s creative process continues to hold our interest. And you could be forgiven for not noticing the palm’s fleeting but iconic moments.
Often evoking images of the long, tree-lined streets of Beverley Hills, one might argue that the palm has lost its identity somewhere along the way. Imported to the cities, the tree is still most commonly found in the wettest parts of the tropics. Its motherland is in fact, in the deepest shades of the rainforest, lining the edges of babbling streams and fighting to find its way amidst the larger trees of the jungle.
Taking it back to its humid roots in Don’t Touch My Hair, we see the palm in its natural habitat, the wilderness’s reclamation. With rain hammering down and a palette of glorious greens providing as a backdrop to Solange’s honeyed, soulful tones, the tree takes on a whole new persona; one it struggles to emit watching over the beach-side glamour of LA.
In an enchanting contrast, Cranes in the Sky plates up the palm in a new light, at the forefront of white spaces and accessorising naked bodies. Experimenting with texture, layering and depth of field, the exotic green is a bold component in a music video littered with forces of nature, including Solange herself.
It’d be easy to bypass its involvement in the pieces, but we shouldn’t. Stylistic choices matter, never more than in Solange’s case. This is a woman with something to say and she is going to make damn-well sure we all sit up, look and listen. The palm might not be a symbol, but it’s a tree with a deep history, a changed story and its own character, and that means something. Whatever your take, we’re pretty sure it won’t be long before Solange has the whole world eating out of her palm.
Ignite your inner Solange with Grace & Thorn’s indoor Kentia Palm.