When I Get Home was an ode to Houston and it took a village to pull it off
No woman is an island, and even though Solange is undoubtedly a creative genius, her most recent album and short film, When I Get Home, is the culmination of some impressive collaboration.
Sonically, the album features the input of other music heavyweights like Gucci Mane, Sampha, Playboi Carti, The Dream, and Pharrell. However, there’s an impressive list of creatives behind the scenes that helped bring the stunning visual film together. Ranging from budding animators to Instagram pole dancers.
Here’s whose names you should know from the most talked about album visual this year.
KYLE LUU, STYLIST
Having worked with Tinashe and Travis Scott, Kyle Luu has become Solange’s regular stylist and was notably responsible for her heavenly look at the Met Gala 2017. Their close relationship made her the perfect choice to style Solange for her ambitious film. She tells Dazed that as well as a few of the extra’s looks, she was responsible “for 90 per cent of Solange’s looks” in the visual. “Solange is very specific when it comes to her visuals,” she says recounting how she’d received directions from Solange before trying out many options on a fit model for the singer to make the final call. “This is a project we put 120,000 per cent into,” she added. Kyle and Solange’s working relationship has been pretty symbiotic with both of their tastes fusing together over time, for example, they both felt that Jennifer Fisher’s jewellery was a must-have. “I try to speak her language creatively and we both just understand. When asked what she has coming up she says she doesn’t know: “I never know what I have coming up then Solange will call me and we’ll start all over again.”
NEYON, PERFORMANCE ARTIST
Three years ago, Neyon quit her job to dance, and set up her Instagram page where she posts videos of her pole skills. After Solange followed her on Instagram, she was one of the creatives asked to collaborate on the When I Get Home visuals. The image of 28-year-old dancer Neyon was one of the most stand-out moments of the album launch on the 00s social media site, Black Planet. She told Vogue that she arrived at the set in Houston with very little idea of what she was going to do, and soon she found herself twirling on a pole. “All the movement you see is totally freestyle. I had no idea I would be poling on camera! I didn’t practice before,” she added. “I’m still in shock.”
MECCA JAMES-WILLIAMS, STYLIST
Joined by a number of other stylists, Mecca brought Solange’s cowboy vision to life by fusing her own personal style with the Houston culture. She told Essence magazine how she scoured local vintage stores for 100 boots and suits with her assistant. “It was very creative and on the fly which was the best part about it. Like the experience, I can’t even describe,” she explained. Mecca personally spray painted every single brown boot worn by the black cowboys.
ZOLARMOON, MODEL AND TWITTER ROYALTY
Zolar Moon’s thread from when she was a Hooters waitress is still one of the best Twitter anecdotes of all time. Over the course of 150 tweets, she recalled how she met a wild customer named Jessica, and they both convinced each other to go to on a stripping road trip to Florida to make some money – and madness ensued. It was rumoured back in 2015 that the story would be adapted into a film (and we made some pretty great suggestions as to who should be part of the cast). In the meantime, Zolar – who is now releasing her own music – made a cameo in When I Get Home, dressed in an ensemble by Tina Knowles.
Keep your eyes peeled for more of her story – the last update we had in 2018 was that James Franco had purchased the rights to the story, and it would come from the same studio as Moonlight (A24). Taylour Paige and Riley Keough are set to star alongside each other in the saga.
JACOLBY SATTERWHITE, ANIMATOR
South Carolina-born Jacolby Satterwhite animated, directed and produced the futuristic segment of the visual soundtracked by “Sound of Rain” (produced by the singer John Key, and Pharrell Williams). It’s a major divergence from the scenes where Solange or her dancers are the focus. Suddenly, naked 3D men writhe rhythmically while on fire, and cowboys ride flying mechanical horses.
Satterwhite told Complex it was a chance to add his afro-futurist twist to the project: “You know, like entering a futuristic unreal space as a form of escapism.” Even if it feels like we enter a stranger, more whimsical realm, Satterwhite’s visual still contains nods to Texas, specifically Houston’s Third Ward. Usually, his work creates virtual bright worlds that incorporate influences from his schizophrenic mother’s drawings, queer performance, and sexuality. Satterwhite’s work will be included in the upcoming Is This Tomorrow? Exhibit at Whitechapel Gallery.
KENDALL DORSEY, HAIRSTYLIST
The album is clearly the culmination of experimentation and in many ways defies expectation. So, naturally, Dorsey channelled this in his approach to his styling, crowning the singer with the standout floor-length straight hairstyle in the visual, and wig that appears on the cover.
“I really wanted to change the subject of her from her other albums to now,” he told Out. He went on to work with the singer for seven months calling on inspirations from his own life from his mother, black women from his church congregation, and performers in the ballroom scene in New York where he has lived for the past four years. When he got the phone call asking him to work with Solange, he cried.“I got a chance to invite myself into her space and listen to who she is now. I wanted to represent that in the hair so it’s soft and billowy, with a little bit of sex. It’s just clean.”
Aside from his work with Solange, Dorsey has worked on editorial shoots for Dazed, styled Lizzo’s tresses for her nude album cover for Cuz I Love You, and is responsible for Nicki Minaj’s 50-inch wig at the Met Gala, which has become a trademark look for him.
YEHA LEUNG/ CREEPY YEHA, UNDERWEAR DESIGNER
Yeha Leung – who happens to be in Luu’s orbit from the time they’ve spent in similar circles in New York – made a beguiling sparkling silver look for Solange’s film. Paired with sheer cowboy boots, Leung’s lingerie fetish looks are delicate and debauched, and this look reinforces the soft sensuality of the album. She’s built a strong brand, making custom garter belts, harnesses and other bondage looks and has worked with the likes of FKA Twigs. Read more about her underwear empire in this Dazed interview.