When it comes to interviews, it’s not often that Beyoncé is the one asking the questions. But thanks to Interview magazine, Queen Bey recently played journalist for the day, interviewing little sister Solange on everything from her fab new album, A Seat at the Table, to her hometown inspo to Mama Tina.
In addition to citing some big female influences, including Alanis Morissette, Minnie Riperton, Syreeta Wright, Aaliyah, Missy Elliot, and, of course, Beyoncé, Solange dished on the personal nature of her 20-track project, and delved into the story behind some of the more meaningful songs—like “Cranes in the Sky.”
Here are the biggest things that we learned from the sister-sister phone convo—and the one topic this duo steered clear of.
1. Bey is her sister’s “biggest fan”
Right off the top, big sister Beyoncé states that she is Solange’s number-one fan. The mutual admiration that these sisters have for each other’s work (Solange refers to Bey as a “master class” in being an all-around star) shines through the entire interview.
2. Solange has always been fashion forward
We’ve said it once, and we’ll say it again: when it comes to fashion, Solange slays. Beyoncé may have been awarded the CFDA Fashion Icon prize this past year, but it’s Solange who continues to excite and delight us with her ever-evolving style sense that plays with volume, texture, colour and silhouette—which according to this convo, is nothing new for the singer. While most of us were still rocking tie-dye t-shirts and scrunchies, Beyoncé reveals that Solange was already artfully mixing prints at the age of 10.
3. These girls got it from their mama
Beyoncé has credited Tina, or Mama Tina as she affectionately calls her, with being her inspiration, her motivation and her teacher—a sentiment that clearly rings true for both sisters. Beyoncé and Solange’s parents both make an appearance on A Seat at the Table, with tracks speaking about their personal experiences with racism and black culture. Solange tells her big sis that, “as far back as I can remember, our mother always taught us to be in control of our voice and our bodies and our work, and she showed us that through her example.” She goes on to say that the reason she was confident enough to follow her gut with her new album—writing the songs, co-producing the tracks, writing the treatment for the videos, staging and choreographing her performances, and playing drums and keyboards—was because of the example that Mama T set.
4. Speaking of moms, Solange is a fab one
The interview kicks of like a typical convo between grown-up sisters, talking about travel details and parent-teacher interviews. Solange is fiercely protective of her 12-year-old son Julez, repeatedly calling out haters on Insta, and tells Bey that she tried to get personal with this new album to help make her a better mother, sister, wife and friend. Bey prompts her sister to talk about the story behind “Cranes in the Sky,” and Solange reveals that the song, inspired by the masses of cranes creating new condos in Miami, is about rebuilding after her divorce from Julez’s father, her junior high-school sweetheart Daniel Smith.
5. Houston is a huge #inspo for both sisters
Beyoncé put Houston’s Parkwood Park on the map by using the name—and her childhood memories of running through that local green space with her father—as inspiration for her Ivy Park athleisure line. Solange shares similar fond memories of their hometown, saying that the diverse range of women she grew up around helped the sisters become “womanists” and “connect with women of all kinds.”
6. Solange is a RHOA superfan
Even Beyoncé was shocked to learn of Solange’s serious love of The Real Housewives of Atlanta. Solange told her sister that she watches the show “religiously” because it reminds her of growing up in Houston, and also because it makes her LOL more than any other show.
7. Both sisters are unapologetic boss babes
Following in Beyoncé’s footsteps, Solange tells her sister that she’s learned to fight for what she wants. Despite labels like “control freak” that tend to follow passionate women intent on seeing their dreams come to life, Solange says she is unafraid to say that she is the best person to bring forward her “distinctive, clear vision of how I want to present myself and my body and my voice and my perspective.”
8. …but even boss babes can struggle with owning their success
In what may be the article’s most candid moment, Solange confides in Bey that this interview is the first time she has said aloud that she wrote every single lyric on the A Seat at the Table—a fact she previously shied away from because she didn’t want to seem arrogant. Solange further explains the challenges in the industry by referencing a conversation she had with Björk, who warned her that if a man is involved with a project, he will likely get the credit. “And, unfortunately, that still rings true,” says Solange.
And now, for what they *didn’t* talk about (a.k.a. the Jay Z-sized elephant in the room)
While these sisters made nice during the interview, let’s not forget the fact that one of the biggest lessons Solange says she learned from Beyoncé is “getting to be in control of your own narrative.” The girls give us details on A Seat at the Table, their #inspo and how much they love each other, but sidestep Solange’s references to mistakes she’s made and the tougher times she’s experienced without giving us the details. Case in point, Solange says: “In the 30 years that we’ve been together, I think we’ve only really, like, butted heads … we can count on one hand.” Which leaves us to wonder, does that include Solange’s post-Met gala elevator attack on her brother-in-law Jay Z? Was it because of Becky with the Good Hair? The real takeaway from this interview is that we may never know.