'I Was Quite Literally Fighting for My Life': Solange Reflects on New Criterion Collection Pick, When I Get Home

Solange Knowles attends the Lena Horne Prize Event Honoring Solange Knowles on February 28, 2020.
Solange Knowles attends the Lena Horne Prize Event Honoring Solange Knowles on February 28, 2020.
Photo: Jason Mendez/Getty Images for The Town Hall (Getty Images)

Solange Knowles is reflecting on the past two years—specifically, the day she released her fourth studio album, When I Get Home.


On Tuesday, The Criterion Channel announced that the remastered director’s cut of the interdisciplinary performance art film for When I Get Home has been added to its esteemed collection.

From the press release sent to The Root:

The album, which was written, performed and executive produced by Solange, and its accompanying art film, finds the multi-disciplinary artist’s deeply introspective vision of a spiritual expedition reckoning with the question, “Where is home?” The film taps imagery of her hometown’s (Houston, TX) culture with flights of surrealism spotlighting Black cowboys, space, futurist worlds, and ritualistic movements that characterize evolution as a recurring presence. Solange explores concepts of origin, fear, safety, and reclamation through the power of ancestral roots and the creation of one’s own kaleidoscopic universe. When I Get Home is a dazzling immersion into the imagination of an artist whose vision knows no bounds.

Since the album and film’s introduction to the world in 2019, When I Get Home has become a devotional classic, steadily inspiring a communal evolution among people of various identities who have used the film as a source of strength and meditation.

“When I first started creating When I Get Home I was quite literally fighting for my life...in and out of hospitals (s/out park plaza on Binz! :) with depleting health and broken spirits asking God to send me a sign I would not only survive, but that if he let me make it out alive, I would step into the light whatever that meant. He begin speaking to me. Half the time I didn’t know where it was coming from. I only knew I had to open the door and honor it,” Solange wrote in an Instagram post, celebrating the 2-year anniversary of the project.

In 2017, Solange opened up about her challenges living with an autonomic disorder that Paper Mag reported as “dysautonomia,” a complicated nerve disorder that could have varied effects on the body, including affecting heart rate regulation, blood pressure, body temperature and more.

“This project has shown me, once you open that door, you can’t go backwards,” she added. “Believe me I’ve tried saying ‘nah I’m just playing’ so many times, ha. I’m not a big fan of talking about shit I don’t know yet. I didn’t do much talking during this time because of that. I’m really down for showing the process, and staying quiet when it hasn’t all yet being revealed.”


Speaking of going through that door and moving forward, Solange has explored the concept of transitions by curating a program for Getty in 2019 that I had the honor of seeing in person called Bridge-s.

“I just want to thank you guys for allowing me the space to evolve, experiment and express new frontiers,” Solange said at the time of the program’s debut. If there’s one thing Solange does steadfastly is take stay true to herself in the spaces she is afforded, whatever that space is.


The performance art film for When I Get Home is now available at criterionchannel.com. Digital activations are available this week at Solange.BlackPlanet.com, which...here’s a reminder that Solange having a Black Planet page is very very Solange.

Staff Writer, Entertainment at The Root. Sugar, spice & everything rice. Equipped with the uncanny ability to make a Disney reference and a double entendre in the same sentence.


Babylon System

Damn, she kinda fine. At first I thought it was Angela Rye.