Chloe Bailey Deserves Better — All Black Women Do

Photo: Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images.
When the world was first introduced to duo ChloexHalle in 2012, we first met them as a pair of bright-eyed preteens belting out their favourite songs on YouTube. Over the years, the sisters have grown up, producing and releasing music that touches on everything from partying, romantic relationships, and self-love. But even though Chloe and Halle Bailey are all grown up now, the world isn’t allowing them to come into their own — like clockwork, here comes the misogynoir. 
Chloe and Halle have always been promoted as a package deal, but as of late, the sisters have been forging their own path. To make sure that fans can still keep up with the sisters even while they’re apart, the singers have created their own individual Instagram accounts. Since creating the page two weeks ago, Chloe’s personal page has gone viral. The public’s response to each of the 22-year-old’s updates has been mostly positive, but as usual, there are those insistent on using their energy to be especially disgusting and rude towards the young singer.
Chloe posted a photo of her in a sexy cutout dress, and people attacked her. She participated in TikTok’s popular #BussitChallenge, and they came for her in the comments. She shared some sultry choreography on the feed, and they called her “thirsty for attention.” Are you seeing a common pattern here?
Chloe isn’t the first young Black woman in the entertainment movement to be villainised for embracing her sexy, and she unfortunately won’t be the last. Throughout history, specifically within music, Black women’s bodies and actions have been heavily policed. When Beyoncé first went solo, it didn’t take long before the haters turned out by the masses, incensed by her uniform unitard, her dance moves, and her lyrics. Fellow Houston hottie Megan thee Stallion has been consistently slut-shamed since her career went mainstream. Lizzo’s harmless court side twerking at a 2019 Lakers game had Twitter clutching its pearls. Remember Nipplegate? Janet Jackson was the one punished for it, even though it was all Justin Timberlake's fault. And that's just the famous women; the negativity is even more harrowing for the Black women who don’t have the shield of status and influence to (just barely) protect them. 
Society is intrinsically misogynistic, so Black women aren't the only ones who are heavily hyper-sexualised on a daily basis. But while women like Kim Kardashian and Bella Thorne have been able to lean into their sexuality on their own terms and even capitalise on it as part of their brand, the Chloe Baileys of the world are rarely ever granted that same opportunity. From a young age, everything about Black girls is placed under an intense sociocultural microscope. The way we dance, the clothes we wear — even the way that we style our hair can be seen as “grown” or “fast.” Lust is thrust upon Black girls early on without and follows us throughout the rest of our lives, but racist and sexist social norms don't allow to fully embrace our sexy side even when we're full grown adults. So how can one come of age if they were never allowed to be a kid in the first place?
Thankfully, Chloe is wholeheartedly rejecting those limitations. For her, sexual expression is about her personal journey and nothing else. The "Ungodly Hour" singer revealed that what people might see as a brand pivot has nothing to do with getting attention (especially from men) and everything to do with her own path towards self-love and acceptance.
"When I perform, and make music, and dance, that's when I get to tap into the sexier side of myself," the R&B songstress explained during a 31st January Instagram Live. "That's where I find my confidence. So it really means a lot to me when I can finally get to a place where I share who I really am because I've been really insecure for a long time."
"I'm really happy that I get to share that with you all," Chloe continued tearfully. "I think it's so important and so special when a Black woman can be strong and stand in her power in every single way...I feel so badass when I just own who I am in my body."
In a perfect world, she wouldn't have to explain why she's using her Instagram the way she wants or why she's dressing or dancing in a certain way — her body, her business. But because we live in a culture where policing the lives of Black women is still the norm, Chloe felt like she had to address the haters. Fortunately, she's also got a team of proud Black women all over the industry and the internet standing in support of her. The world may have something to say, but so do we: go off, sis. Go off!

More from Pop Culture

R29 Original Series