The 5-Year old Model Who Slayed Solange’s Album Looks
Solange Knowles released her album, A Seat at the Table, on September 30th, and Black women flooded the Internet with praises of the cultural masterpiece. Not only did the singer drop music specifically to empower Black women—but, she accompanied the music with stunning visuals that had us typing “#BlackGirlMagic” on nearly every social media platform.
Young Ahnari Lemoine got in on the Solange frenzy with adorable recreations of Knowles’s album visuals. The photos—thought of by her mother, Michaela Lemoine, and Ahnari’s 12-year old sister, Aryonah—mimic Solange’s hair-pinned album cover, her green ensemble made of branches from the Cranes In The Sky video and her pink shroud look from the same video.
The Kindergartener began modeling at three years old with a Christian organization in Fort Lauderdale that teaches etiquette and cultivates young girls’ talent for song, dance, theater, and fashion. Ahnari has modeled in the Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale’s Rip the Runway and acted in plays such as “The Jungle Book” and “Toy Story 3.” “It’s all just her,” Lemoine says. “She literally models everywhere. She plays dress up and walks around in heels in front of the mirror. It’s just who she is.”
Jamming with her daughters to an album dedicated to Black womanhood meant the world to Lemoine. “Music has always been our thing that we do together,” she says.
“We listened to the entire album on shuffle. This is feel-good music for our family.” She even purchased the clean versions of the explicit songs on ASATT—specifically, F.U.B.U., Ahnari’s favorite album tune.
Lemoine made it her business long before A Seat at the Table to encourage her girls to embrace their Black Haitian heritage, and now has a teaching aid in her household’s favorite new album. She took time to explain their family background when Ahnari jumped into her car one day after school with the question “Mommy, am I Black?” Her classmates had been calling her white because of her lighter complexion. And like so many young, impressionable girls, Michaela also notices Ahnari’s fondness of the long, flowing locks she sees on the hair product packaging in stores. She responds by steering Ahnari into loving and embracing her Black features, even letting her pick out her own natural hairstyles and clothes. “It’s a struggle because you have to encourage them,” she says. “And you have to say ‘You are not your hair’.” And now Lemoine may couple these lessons about self-image and body autonomy with their regular singing sessions in the car—wailing the lyrics to records like “Don’t Touch My Hair.”
“I’m raising Ahnari to be a role model,” says Lemoine. “What I want her to get out of this later is that people are watching you and looking up to you just like you are looking up to and watching Solange now.”
And this is why Black women’s self-reflective art is so powerful. Sure, grown women are “Yasss-ing” to the album and retweeting the lyrics. And sure, Solange looked great on the cover. The lasting power, however, lies in what this visibility does for our brown babies.
Ahnari isn’t the only child recreating Solange’s hair-clipped look, Buzzfeed reports.
There’s four-month-old Clover Trotman in New York, two-year-old Jolie Dior from Virginia and seven-year-old Nilah Cheers from Illinois. All Black babies whose mothers were inspired by Solange Knowles’s visual and aural declaration of blackness. All Black children who will have their images contested countless times as they grow older, but have parents laying the foundation now for self-love and resiliency.
May Black women and children continue to look at themselves in the mirror and—in the words of Solange herself—declare, “We Belong. We Belong. We Belong.”