Tinashe is trying to figure out her place in music.

Tinashe is trying to figure out her place in music.

She’s had an uphill battle getting her forthcoming record Joyride out (she still has no idea when it will drop). Some suspect RCA isn’t prioritizing the rising pop star because she hasn’t secured a mainstream smash since “2 On.” Personally, I disagree with that, but I also understand music is a numbers game.

How is the singer making sense of things? Part of her believes colorism and racism in the industry have pigeonholed her, and that’s blocked her from becoming a household name. Speaking to The Guardian, Tinashe says:

“There’s colourism involved in the black community, which is very apparent,” she said. “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.”

She’s also calling BS on the idea that there’s only room for several black pop super stars. “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 sport; people feel like they have to pick a side. There are hundreds of [male] rappers that all look the same, that sound the same, but if you’re a black woman, you’re either Beyoncé or Rihanna. It’s very, very strange.”

The interviewer suggests Ciara has also shared a similar fate. “I’d agree,” Tinashe affirms. “It felt like they almost had to sacrifice someone because there wasn’t enough room, which isn’t true. Ciara’s an amazing artist, Beyoncé’s an amazing artist, Rihanna’s an amazing artist, and they’re all very different!”

Because the Internet can be a terrible place, her comments sparked a wave of backlash. A lot of the comments look similar to this:

It’s worth clarifying that Tinashe is relaying her experience, not crying about being denied success because she identifies as a black woman. Others are arguing her status has nothing to do with race – she just hasn’t permeated a genre the way Rihanna and Beyonce have. It just doesn’t make sense Tinashe hasn’t neared superstar status by now.

Thoughts? Let us know in Exhale.

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