Solange Knowles made a surprise appearance at Sankofa Video Books & Cafe where she purchased 250 books for Howard University students and fans. The “Cranes In the Sky” singer visited the Black-owned bookstore in Washington, D.C., Friday, Jan. 20, the day President Donald Trump was sworn into office.
The singer’s Saint Heron Instagram page revealed Knowles would stop by the bookstore specializing in Black culture and encouraged fans to attend to pick out a title and talk with the star.
Hundreds of fans showed up at Sankofa, which is owned by Black filmmakers Haile and Shirikiana Gerima, and many of the attendees were Howard students. Knowles said she originally wanted to visit the historically Black university but could not due to its closure for the inauguration.
Of the hundreds of books the singer bought for guests, they included Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s “Americanah,” Frantz Fanon’s “Black Skin, White Masks” and almost the entirety of Sankofa’s James Baldwin titles, according to the Washingtonian.
Knowles shared a few words of thanks and encouragement with the crowd during her visit;
“Just remember through the midst of it all to look upward and forward,” Knowles told the crowd. “And that we have the power, in this room, in this space and amongst each other. Seeing all of you guys here as confirmation is really confirmation for me because I needed to see that and I needed to know that the work that we are all doing counts. So I really, really just thank you so much for being here.”
The “Seat at the Table” record maker reiterated her gratitude on Twitter later that night. Sankofa co-owner Shirikiana Gerima told the Washingtonian Knowles’ visit was an honor.
“For Solange to feel like [Sankofa] is a touchstone for when times get challenging is rewarding for us,” she said. “We hope to be the kind of place for anybody who needs to remember that what we’re facing is not new and that there are people who have stood up to harder things. They’ve left messages and symbols and signs about how to go about this kind of thing. They made it, and we can make it.”