In my spare time, you can find me re-watching Solange’s “Don’t Touch My Hair” music video. Although 2016 feels like a weird Goosebumps episode (the horrors of Donald Trump, the large number of hate crimes against Muslims, police brutality against black people), I feel like Solange has brought a slice of sanity to Earth.

The following are things that make me feel better after hearing something that should scare me but that I’m desensitized to, due to how bizarre 2016 has been:

  • Solange. Her name speaks for itself—it’s so complete. When I feel sad, or as if I have to escape my timeline, I listen to “Cranes In The Sky,” “Don’t Touch My Hair,” or “Weary.” The latter especially, sums up all that I feel but can’t express to other people. When Solange sings: “But you know that a king is only a man. / With flesh and bones, he bleeds just like you do. / He said, ‘Where does that leave you, and do you belong? / I do, I do,” it feels as though at least Solange understands my thoughts.
  • Whatever Happened to Mason Reese. This short film, made by Brett Ratner (director of the Rush Hour franchise), is one of the special features on my Rush Hour DVD. Whatever Happened was made in 1990, and it’s said to be the first “real” film he directed, produced, and wrote. Whenever I’m sad, I watch it on YouTube and it makes me cry even more. By the end, I always feel better because I’ve released all of my sadness and negative emotions. I won’t ruin the film, because you may want to watch it, but all I will say is that the theme of role models and placing people on a high pedestal really resonates with me since I tend to do this with the celebrities whom I like.

Listening to Solange, I feel encouraged. What I like about her, and many other artists of colour that I’m fond of, is that after accepting that they have been labelled as outcasts, they take what they have and make something extraordinary. ♦