Tinashe’s new philosophy may be “No Drama,” but it wasn’t that long ago she was embroiled in a little bit of controversy online for some statements made in an interview with The Guardian while expressing her frustration with her sophomore album delays. It’s been a while, but she finally addressed the backlash to her comments in an interview with Hot 97’s Ebro Darden and Peter Rosenberg yesterday to promote Joyride, which you can view above.
In the prior interview, the mixed-race singer talked about colorism in the Black community and how it affected her upbringing:
“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.”
However, due to the quote’s placement within the original story, and the breakouts that resulted in other blogs and publications, her statement was read as an indictment of her lack of traction in the music industry. Just before the quote in question, she interrogated the music industry’s tendency to sideline female Black performers as though there was a cap placed on the number that could be promoted at any one time. However, since the colorism comment immediately followed it, many fans took it to mean that she was blaming her musical difficulties on not being accepted due to her lighter skin.
In her interview with Ebro In The Morning, she says that the quote was taken out of context and that Twitter ran with it, as it so often does. “The initial conversation was just about my experience growing up in a mixed family,” she explains. “It kind of got misconstrued to being that was what I was blaming my career trajectory on. Leave it to the internet.” Her explanation prompts show co-host Rosenberg to contribute a joke that “sometimes we so woke, we gotta go to sleep.”
The discussion turns to Twitter’s tendency to possibly overanalyze any racial discussion, especially with regards to people’s personal experiences. Tinashe relates growing up in a mixed-race family (her father is Nigerian, her mother is of European descent, and both parents are college professors), learning her own identity, and being forced to “choose a side” by outsiders who want her to “check a box” when presenting her racial identity.