Texas Tech Takes A Seat At The Table

On Sept. 30th, Solange Knowles — Beyonce’s sister — released her third album, with Texas Tech playing a large part in the visual representation of the music.

Portions of a music video from the album were shot at the Texas Tech Aquatic Center and two Texas Tech graduates appeared in it.

In a press release about the album, ” A Seat at the Table” is described “as a project on identity, empowerment, independence, grief, and healing.”

Kelsha Spencer, a member of the natural hair club Texas Tech Mane Society, said songs like “Don’t Touch My Hair” are particularly empowering for Black women.

“‘Don’t Touch My Hair’ is the natural hair woman’s anthem,” Spencer said. “Growing up, all people of other races wanted to do was touch my hair because it was different from theirs. They’d be so surprised that it was so soft, or that they could run their fingers through it. I want people to know that our hair is not on display, it’s not a show-and-tell project. Its our hair.”

Knowles debuted music videos via SaintHeron for “Cranes in the Sky” and “Don’t Touch My Hair.

According to a TTU Rec Sports post on Facebook, portions of the “Don’t Touch My Hair” video were shot at the Texas Tech Aquatic Center. Texas Tech alumnae RaShayla and RaSandra Daniels were also featured in the videos.

In an interview with The Hub@TTU, the Daniels’s shared their experiences on the set and in the Black community at Texas Tech.

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The Hub@TTU: How did you both get the opportunity to be in the music videos?

RaShayla Daniels: The day before the video shoot, the casting event manager called us and said she pulled our photo off of Facebook and asked if we could come to Lubbock for a video shoot. So we drove at like two in the morning from Albuquerque to Lubbock in order to make it in time. It was like 20 girls but only about five of us were featured. They were looking for girls with certain hair textures and not that many tattoos; so there was like a specific look they were going for. Originally we were only supposed to shoot “Don’t Touch My Hair” but we ended up traveling around with them for a couple days visiting different locations for “Cranes in the Sky.”

Hub: Have you guys ever done anything like this before?

RaShayla Daniels: We started acting about halfway through college. We’ve recently worked on shows like “Preacher,” directed by Seth Rogen, “The Night Shift,” and we were part of the ground crew in Area 51 on “Independence Day: Resurgence.” We’re represented by MGR Talent Agency, it’s a SAG-AFTRA franchised agency in Albuquerque so we hope to start getting speaking roles soon.

Hub: Before shooting, did you know that portions of the video would be shot on the Texas Tech campus?

RaShayla Daniels: Solange told us it would be at the leisure pool, but it got too dark outside, so we ended up moving to the indoor pool. I actually asked her how she came across TTU and she said that she just googled “cool pools in Texas” and Texas Tech was one of the first ones to pop up. I thought that was pretty funny.

Hub: As women who went to Texas Tech, have you ever had any good or bad experiences concerning your natural hair?

RaShayla Daniels: Well I don’t think I’ve had any. I switch up my hair a lot, I started to rock my natural hair my last year at Tech. I dyed it blonde and everything. My sister probably has more stories than me.

RaSandra Daniels: Yeah, I don’t know if you’ve heard the story before but, in the 3-D Annex building across from the Rec, I was taking Intro to Metal, and my hair caught on fire! I burned most of it off and eventually had to shave my head.

Hub: Are you kidding me?! How did that happen?

RaSandra Daniels: I was doing metal smithing, and sparks usually fly all around, but one of the sparks flew up and reached my afro. I felt it, so I kind of patted my hair, and thought it was okay but, I turned and asked the guy behind me, “Is my hair on fire?”. He screamed “Oh, shit”. Everyone is trying to help me and telling me to stop drop and roll. I blacked out and woke up drowning in the quenching bucket we used to cool our metals. I was in shock. I hopped up and started working on my project again then my TA was like, “Umm you were just on fire, you don’t have to finish, and you don’t have to come to class tomorrow”. It wasn’t until I got home that I saw how bad it was and just broke down crying.

Hub: Wow! That is crazy I’ve never heard that story. I’m in shock right now.

RaSandra Daniels: Yeah, and that’s why they have to wear cotton hats for that class now.


About Melanee Brown

Melanee is the Entertainment Reporter. She is a senior scheduled to graduate in December with a major in Electronic Media and Communications and a minor in History. She loves photography, history, and spending time with her family and friends.

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