Although Solange Knowles is a lot of things—mother, musician, artist, globe-trotter, and fashion icon—she is herself, above all else. In the May issue of ESSENCE, Knowles opens up about taking style risks, the importance of being confident, and the beauty of being a woman.

Solange Knowles Essence

Greg Lotus/ESSENCE

“As women we have the choice of how we want to look and how we want to feel, and that’s the beauty of being a woman. We all have the option of how we want to express ourselves through our life, hair, style or whatever we decide.”

The issue gives three natural beauties—Ledisi, Solange and Erykah Badu—her own cover moment. See how each woman gives her own definition of style and beauty in the latest issue of ESSENCE, hitting newsstands on April 4th. Visit ESSENCE.com for more details.