Tinashe Jorgenson Kachingwe has sparked a pretty big debate. The R&B singer and songwriter spoke about the ways that “colorism” (discrimination based on skin color) has dampened her success as a black female musician.
For those who do not know, Tinashé is an American singer-songwriter, dancer, actress, and former model. She began her entertainment career at the age of three when she began modeling and acting. Her parents, Michael, who is from Zimbabwe and her Danish mother, Aimie moved to Los Angeles to keep up with her auditions.
“I was very aware of my parents and our financial situation,” she says of the pressure. “We always figured it out, but I knew we couldn’t afford to live in Los Angeles. My parents are from Iowa, and we were barely getting by in LA.”
After learning how to produce and engineer her own music, Tinashe released many mixtapes (2015 mixtape, Amethyst; the 2016 mixtape, Nightride) before being signed to record label RCA Records. She also released her popular debut album, Aquarius. Her career seemed very promising and bright but ended up in a stagnant position.
With so much time and history behind her talent, many of her fans wonder why her career has come to a steady pace, not necessarily going down but most certainly not progressing.
In an interview with the Guardian Tinashé said:
“There’s colorism involved in the black community, which is very apparent,” Tinashe 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.”
While she has received many offers and invites to perform for artists like Janet Jackson and Nicki Minaj, Tinashé feels like there is some sort of limit on artists who are women of color in the music business.
“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.”
In a 2015 interview with xoNecole she had this to say:
“For me, I feel like I still have to represent the [Black] community. 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.”
The interview initiated a fierce debate on Twitter, with users arguing whether her critique held any weight.
It seems twitter may be on the fence, some agreeing and others disagreeing.
Whatever the opinions or thoughts may be, twitter users have definitely made her more relevant. If you weren’t popping then… Tinashé you are definitely poppin’ now!
Meanwhile Beyoncé and Rihanna continue to… you now the rest.