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Natalie

Tinashe: 'If you’re a black singer, you’re either Beyonce or Rihanna'

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She is also calling bullshit on the idea, perpetuated recently by warring Twitter fan-tribes, that there’s only room for a couple of successful black female artists at any given time. “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.” Suddenly she springs forward, her default laid-back demeanour temporarily out of the window. “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.”

Ciara – another all-round performer with a handful of stone-cold bangers – has suffered similarly through comparison, I suggest. “I’d agree,” she nods. “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!”

Tinashe’s mixed-race heritage, which was used “as another example of why I was different” during those difficult school years, also remains an issue. “There’s colourism involved in the black community, which is very apparent,” she says carefully. “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.” A shrug. “I am what I am.”

She confirms the rumour that Rihanna, or someone from her team, heard Joyride’s title track and briefly swiped it for her own album. “Yeah, that’s true,” she says with typical breeziness. “But I don’t know if it was personally Rihanna, like, ‘I’m taking that from Tinashe.’ I don’t think that’s how it worked. But it’s back now.” Despite all these setbacks, all these things she can’t control, she’s adamant that she’s never once thought of quitting. “It’s definitely been discouraging, and I have days where I’m less confident, but at the end I know that I’m going to get to where I need to go.” She shuffles in her seat. “There’s doubt that seeps in, there’s self-deprecation, because you look to someone to blame and you can’t blame anyone but yourself, but I’ve never, ever thought, ‘I’m going to work in a mall.’”

 

 

Source: https://www.theguardian.com/music/2017/jun/12/tinashe-if-black-singer-either-beyonce-rihanna?CMP=twt_gu

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