Tinashe Speaks on “Colorism” and Being a Black Woman in Music Industry

Tinashe Speaks on “Colorism” and Being a Black Woman in Music Industry

Photo credit: Getty images/ Jeff Hahne


Twitter is dragging Tinashe this morning for something she said in an interview with The Guardian.  The 24-year-old singer has gained success from singles, like “2 On,” but noticed how oppressive the music industry is for black women.  As a woman in music, she had to work harder to gain credibility.  “I had to work twice as hard for people to take me seriously,” Tinashe said in an interview with Teen Vogue last August.  In her interview with The Guardian, she touched upon how her bi-racial genes and being black are a disadvantage.

As a black female in the music industry, it’s especially difficult to flourish because of the racial bias.  She claimed that it seems like there can only be a certain amount of successful black female artists.  “Recently, my cousin was with a friend of a friend, who was in high school, and she was, like: ‘I’m a fan of Kehlani,’ but in a way that was, like, ‘So I can’t be a fan of Tinashe, too.’  Then my friend posed the question, ‘Why not be a fan of both?’  It’s kind of like sports; people feel like they have to pick a side.  There are hundreds of [male] rapers that all look the same, that sound the same, but if you’re a black woman, you’re either Beyonce or Rihanna.  It’s very, very strange,” she said.  Being a black female isn’t the only oppressive factor in the music industry, either.  

Tinashe said she struggles with acceptance from the black community.  She explained that “there’s colorism involved in the black community, which is very apparent.  It’s about trying to find a balance where I’m a mixed woman, and sometimes I feel like I don’t fully fit into the black community; they don’t fully accept me, even though I see myself as a black woman.  That disconnect is confusing sometimes…I am what I am.”  This pissed off some individuals on Twitter.  Tweets assumed that Tinashe was blaming the black community for her lack of success, but she was just stating facts.  

Although Tinashe was highlighting some factors that make it uneasy for an artist like her to make it, she was not using those as reasons why she’s not hitting no. 1 on the charts.  Yes, it is an advantage to be light-skinned in the industry.  That doesn’t discredit Tinashe’s struggle with being mixed race.  Because she’s half white, it’s harder for people that are black to empathize with her, therefore, making it hard for her to fit in.  Because she’s half black, the color of her skin doesn’t allow her to possess the same amount of privilege that other white people receive.  All her life consisted of not being accepted in either community, which is not something new.  Many people of mixed race find it difficult to identify with the cultures that they are a part of.  Tinashe’s interview with The Guardian really drew a light upon an issue not everyone understands and the savages on Twitter confirmed that. 

Concert Calendar

No events are currently scheduled.