The crisp musical talent of R&B songstress Tinashe emerged through the industry scope in 2012, when the 24-year-old dropped two well-received mixtapes and inked a contract with RCA Records. Her sound would continue to be matched beside some of R&B and hip-hop’s most gifted, like Schoolboy Q and A$AP Rocky as well as Nicki Minaj as an opener for the femcee’s $22 million-grossing The Pinkprint Tour.
But according to her latest dish in The Guardian, her hugest career setback comes from limitations that Black songstresses face when their star quality is matched up against R&B’s leading ladies of today: Beyoncé and Rihanna.
Elaborating first on the pervasive sexism saturating the music industry, Tinashe explained that not only did she experience it firsthand when her label spotlighted Zayn Malik, causing her sophomore album’s delay, but in terms of male artist co-signs, too.
“Male artists don’t really co-sign female artists like that, and if they do it’s always like, ‘Are they f**king?,’” she said to The Guardian. “It’s never, ‘Oh, I really like her music.’”
Seguing into the issue of Black female artist success being able to exist in the same space at the same time, she shared a story about a friend connected to her cousin. This friend expressed fandom for fellow R&B singer Kehlani, presumably the reason said friend couldn’t be a fan of Tinashe as well due to “picking sides.” The Aquarius artist then highlighted her major point that female artists aren’t granted the same luxuries of being individual artists without comparison like males are.
“There are hundreds of [male] rappers that all look the same, that sound the same,” she declared, “But if you’re a Black woman, you’re either Beyoncé or Rihanna. It’s very, very strange.”
Handing off her kudos to Bey, RiRi and Ciara, who was thrown into the equation as an artist subjected to two-sided comparision also, Tinashe added that her heritage as a mixed woman had exposed her to colorism within the Black community. Tinashe’s mother is a white woman and her father is Black, but she expressed that she’s always felt like the oddball when it came to the Black community.
“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,” she said. “They don’t fully accept me, even though I see myself as a black woman. That disconnect is confusing sometimes.”
In a surprise conversation twist, Tinashe did confirm funny business from the bad gal with respects to the “Joyride” title track of her sophomore album that was snatched for RiRi’s possession. However, she doesn’t solely place the blame on the Roc Nation singer, either.
“But I don’t know if it was personally Rihanna, like, ‘I’m taking that from Tinashe,’” she said in the interview. “I don’t think that’s how it worked. But it’s back now.”
Now that the interview has gone live for all of the internet to tap into, see the bones that Black Twitter had to pick with it (and each other) below.
Tinashe told the Guardian that she isn't doing well because the black community do not accept her as a lighter skinned black woman. pic.twitter.com/mZaMbbbMuT— Stephanie Yeboah (@NerdAboutTown) June 13, 2017
What is tinashe on? A light skin mixed chick blaming colorism for the lack of success in her career. pic.twitter.com/btEuiGF7Di— Chateau Thelma (@Forslaytion) June 12, 2017
I have so many thoughts about that Tinashe interview, ranging from "bless your heart" to "oh, girl" to "you needed a Black interviewer."— Michael Arceneaux (@youngsinick) June 13, 2017
wait.... tinashe blamed colorism for why she doesn't have a career? pic.twitter.com/A5Q053UO4Y— some MILQUÉ (@kelloqqz) June 12, 2017
Tinashe's remarks about colorism were dense. I wish she had used that time to talk about her privilege as a light skinned, mixed woman.— 🍒 (@delafro_) June 13, 2017
Tinashe JUST came on the music scene like 2 or 3 years ago. Like girl, you gone have to WORK to get at least half where bey is. pic.twitter.com/QQ5Hkba7qo— Sza Kyd (@SzaKyd) June 13, 2017
just because you're talented doesn't mean you're entitled to shit. sorry to break it to y'all. pic.twitter.com/LX20bylftR— . (@_Vaun) June 12, 2017
I'm sure her success, or lack thereof, isn't to do with her complexion. Personally, I don't think she has that 'X factor'.— Stephanie Yeboah (@NerdAboutTown) June 13, 2017
Tinashe , a victim of colorism ... pic.twitter.com/9AXcB3n8Ou— Adeline (@Meggz_Smith) June 12, 2017
Tinashe just used the wrong argument. Colorism isn't keeping her from shining, it's probably whats keeping her as relevant as she is— Angel of Color (@johanamamaa) June 13, 2017
Colorism is def a thing but the way colorism works, Tinashe SHOULD be winning. But her music really isn’t that good so…. https://t.co/0nFLVXxgP5— Candyce (@CandyceRox) June 13, 2017
Dear Tinashe,— april♡Mae♡june (@Prettyy_THICK) June 13, 2017
It's not a colorism issue. That fact is, we just don't see it for u sis.
Why are yall twisting Tinashe's colorism when she was referring to the struggle of it in her school years, not her career as an artist... pic.twitter.com/snAsm7nhtX— 🌚 (@spxcetime) June 13, 2017
(Photo: Ilya S. Savenok/Getty Images)