Solange Knowles
Solange Knowles (Photo: Thierry Chesnot/Getty Images)

To celebrate the two-year anniversary of the release of her fourth studio album, When I Get Home, Solange Knowles is taking it back to BlackPlanet, a social media platform celebrating the vastness of the Black experience. Two years ago, the LP was accompanied by a visual component, a 33-minute film set to the songs on the album, shot by mostly Texas-based collaborators like her ex-husband, Alan Ferguson, Terence Nance, Jacolby Satterwhite, and Ray Tintori to bring to life certain aspects of life back home that the musician had trouble describing otherwise. The screening for the visual component was streamed onto BlackPlanet from Houston. “We’ve had to rewrite what Black history means for us since the beginning of time,” Knowles said in 2019 during the screening of her visual at Houston’s Shape Community Center, where she often hung out as a child. Her visual component to When I Get Home is meant to express the culture that shaped who she is as a person. “It’s not just an aesthetic, this is something that we actually live.”

“BlackPlanet will be live all week celebrating the When I Get Home anniversary,” Knowles wrote on Instagram on Wednesday, March 3, captioning graphics of the fan mail she’s received about the album. She continued: “There’s a couple lil tings on there for ya if u refresh the page….but none greater than this gift of letters from you guys on what the album means to you. I read (and deeply cried) w each and everyone of them, and held them all so close to my heart feeling infinite gratitude for the community this project has birthed.”

“Solange actually first tweeted about BlackPlanet in February of 2018,” digital and political strategist Lula Dualeh tells Grazia USA about how Knowles’ album When I Get Home came to live on BlackPlanet. “Someone asked when she was releasing new music to which she responded saying that she wanted to release a song on BlackPlanet but she couldn’t figure out how to navigate it. Naturally, my mind was blown! I immediately reached out to her team to see how BlackPlanet could be a lending hand in supporting her and any of her upcoming projects. Almost a year later, her team reached out to me saying, her project was completed and she wanted to launch her visuals on BlackPlanet. The rest is history.”

Lula Dualeh
Digital and political strategist Lula Dualeh (Photo: Courtesy of Lula Dualeh)

BlackPlanet brought on Dualeh to revive and manage the platform in 2018. “I remember creating a 90-day plan almost immediately to do just that because I knew BlackPlanet was the future, not a social media relic,” she recalls. “I think it’s always important to create meaningful and safe spaces, even digitally, for Black people especially for Black women. We give credibility to every space we decide to be in, so, personally, I wanted to redirect our magic to a platform that not only was created with us in mind, but centered us as well.”

BlackPlanet was created September 1999 by internet analyst Omar Wasow. So, that’s before Myspace, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, Dualeh reminded us. “Black people create trends and shape social discourse which naturally translates online,” she said. “Simply put, we are culture, nothing moves without us so I always knew that to have a space online shaped in our likeness like BlackPlanet in the 21st century could be a game changer.” For Dualeh, she is most proud of the fact that the project was completely managed and led by Black women. To her, it was also a reminder that when Black women’s ideas are centered and valued, incredible things can emerge. “Solange believed in BlackPlanet and the outcome was beyond my wildest imagination.”

Click here to visit the community Knowles built on BlackPlanet celebrating When I Get Home.