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Singer Tinashe Says Music Industry Makes Room for Only One Black Girl at a Time

“There can’t be five black girls winning,” she said in an interview with xoNecole.

In an interview with xoNecole—an online platform whose mission is to “promote positive images of women”—pop singer and actress Tinashe spoke frankly and brashly about the challenges of being a black woman in the music industry. She told interviewer Soraya Joseph that she believes the industry makes space for only one black woman at a time—in her case, she’s often made to feel that she must compete with pop stars like Zendaya.


“I think it comes from a place of there is only room for one,” she told xoNecole. “Or there is only room for two. Again, the way I see it, obviously, is if a black girl is winning—whether she is light-skin, dark-skin, or any type of shade in between, that should be a win for the black community, period. But it’s not necessarily always perceived as such. It’s like ‘Oh, she’s on the more lighter spectrum, so that is why she wins.’”

Tinashe says she feels an onus to be an ambassador for the black community, a responsibility that is not imposed on white or other non-black artists.

“For me, I feel like I still have to represent the [black] community,” she said. “That has been what has been my struggle because people do feel like there is only room for one. There is a Beyoncé, there is a Rihanna, there is Zendaya, there is a Jourdan Dunn. There is a black girl in all of these positions and we don’t need another one.”

Worse, she says, is that these structural problems make women feel like they have to compete with one another, rather than collaborate as peers.

“It’s just kind of ridiculous because there are like a hundred blond, white actresses and leading ladies,” she said “There are a hundred rappers that all virtually look the same, sound the same, and dress the same, and no one cares. But for some reason, when it comes to young women, they want to pit them against each other. There can’t be room [for us all]. There can’t be five black girls winning. It’s weird.”

You can read the whole interview at xoNecole.

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