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How a Houston beauty salon inspired Solange Knowles, influenced her artistry

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HOUSTON – While many Houstonians proudly claim the city as their home, musician and artist Solange Knowles proudly boast about her upbringing in a beauty salon.

In Harper’s BAZAAR digital cover, Knowles reflects on her childhood and how the women of a Houston beauty salon impacted her life and inspired her artistry.

“All of the women had their own stories to tell. Women from every background, name and face in Houston, Texas came to transform within the safety of themselves,” Knowles said.

The beauty salon or “the shop," as Knowles refers to it, became the star’s after school care. A choice made by her mother who saught to surround her daughter with a tribe of women to care for her.

“Regulars would greet me with a big hug and ask me how school was ... or ask me to show them the latest dances," Knowles said. "I took dance classes weekly, but it was in that shop that performance really began ...”

In the essay, Knowles goes on to discuss being raised by the beauty salon, learning from the women there.

“I watched and studied my favorite women -- the way they walked, dressed, moved their nails when they turned pages. They paid attention to me, celebrated me, and always made me feel safe,” Knowles said.

With support and encouragement, the shop became a stage for the star-to-be; a place where Knowles' storytelling became more vivid, elaborate and exaggerated, she said.

“My dances soon turned into monologues, and soundtracks soon followed. It was there that performance thrived and became alive,” Knowles said.


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