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Tinashe speaks out against music industry racism

‘There can’t be room for all of us. There can’t be five black girls winning. It’s weird’

Tinashe has hit out at music industry racism in a new interview with xoNecole magazine. The “2 On” singer – and current Dazed cover star – opened up about the difficulties many black artists face when trying to break into the business, as well as the media’s counterproductive tendency to pit women against each other.

“For me, I feel like I still have to represent the (black) community,” she told the site. “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.”

“It’s just kind of ridiculous because there are like a hundred blonde, white actresses and leading ladies. 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.”

Tinashe – who is often compared to Disney star Zendaya despite looking and sounding completely different – also touched on the industry’s issue with colourism: criticising the way it measures and divides blackness by skin colour. 

“I think it comes from a place of there is only room for (black woman),” she added. “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.’”

The full interview can be read here on the xoNecole website, and you can read our winter 2015 cover story with Tinashe here.