GloRilla Is Over Comments About Her “Sex Appeal.” And We Are Too.

Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images.
GloRilla's "TGIF" is officially the song of the summer. It first became a trending audio sound on TikTok and has since become the hot girl summer anthem. The small snippet of the song initially shared on social media blew up as supporters recorded themselves dancing and singing along to the infectious hook. Once the full version was released on streaming platforms in June, the catchy lyrics have had music listeners in a chokehold for weeks. 
As "TGIF" ranks on the Billboard chart, its final stamp of approval came from Ms. Robyn Fenty. Rihanna posted a video of herself reciting the famous lyrics to her partner A$AP Rocky, who hilariously stood in disbelief as she acted out. The 20-second clip (which also has 165 million views) took the Internet by storm. GloRilla reacted to the nod from the megastar by freaking out, and posting a series of tweets expressing her excitement.
Photo by Rich Fury/Getty Images.
The joyous moment didn't end there. Rihanna DM'd GloRilla to ask about her album release date. The Memphis rapper shared a screenshot of the private message in the last slide of her Instagram carousel of highlights from the 2024 BET Awards weekend. Rihanna’s DM read, "You got all summer sis! I know this wild hypocritical, but when the album drop?" Given that Rihanna’s last album, "Anti," was released in 2016 and fans have been hitting her with the same question for years, the DM was especially hilarious and went viral instantly, boosting GloRilla’s already-growing status.
GloRilla's online interaction with Rihanna is another major win for the artist who, in April, took to Twitter to express her frustrations about the ongoing conversations about her not possessing enough “sex appeal.”
Instead of talking about GloRilla's co-sign from Rihanna, or her successful run as Megan Thee Stallion's opening act on the "Hot Girl Summer Tour," or her impeccable 2024 BET Awards performance, or her multiple viral hits, people are concerned over her level of sexiness as a female rapper. Not only does it reek of sexism (male rappers never get the same commentary), the constant criticism of GloRilla’s perceived  “sex appeal” is crossing the line, and honestly, it's an exhausting conversation even GloRilla is tired of hearing. As her career moves to another level, it's time to put this topic to rest.
The discourse kicked off after GloRilla's 2023 BET Awards performance of her song "Lick or Sum'' when she opted to show a more seductive side of herself that featured a red two-piece set, sensual dance moves, and a red love seat made of lips. Her set was immediately met with harsh comments from viewers about her stage presence.
The excessive amount of demeaning responses shed light on how often we box in  female artists — especially in hip-hop — to fit a preconceived image that society expects. Just because GloRilla emerged on the scene as a hardcore rapper doesn't mean she isn't allowed to show her softer, sexier layers, regardless of how others perceive her soft side should look like. GloRilla defended her 2023 BET performance on Instagram Live and explained how she chose to stray away from her go-to set. "Y'all wanted me to be up there dancing like Chief Keef," the rapper said online. "No. I told the choreographer I wanted to be sexy." 
As her onstage presence continued to be picked apart, she openly received the critics and later posted a lighthearted video poking fun at herself. "Y'all told me I need to work on my sex appeal, and I don't have none," the rapper jokingly said on Instagram. “Y'all said I need to be more feminine, so here goes nothing. I'm finna channel my inner Beyoncé and Sasha Fierce.” She proceeded to wind her hips and show off her body roll while Queen Bey's "Beautiful Liar" played in the background.
The chatter, however, didn't stop in 2023 and has become a topic that continues to resurface. As an emerging female rapper, GloRilla should be free to explore her creativity and not be forced (or bullied) to assimilate into an image that pleases the masses. Female musicians are often pressured to confirm to unfair beauty ideals or society’s standard of what they are supposed to look like. Atlanta rapper Latto recently shared on TikTok that her reason for getting a Brazilian Butt Lift (BBL) was that society made her feel like she had to. "I gained a little weight, and everybody on the Internet was calling me bad body, so I feel like that played a role," the "Big Mama" artist explained. "… I've been so loud and clear about a BBL I had four years ago when I was 21 that y'all [the Internet] convinced me I needed it, by the way." Latto isn't the first female artist to vocalize feeling pressured to change her body. K. Michelle, Cardi B, Queen Najja, Nicki Minaj, and others have shared similar experiences. The social pressure for female artists to look or perform a certain way is unfair to them — not just as women, but as artists who should be able to look, dress, and express themselves in whatever ways they choose.

The social pressure for female artists to look or perform a certain way is unfair to them — not just as women, but as artists who should be able to look, dress, and express themselves in whatever ways they choose.

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Like anyone else, musicians should have the space to explore all sides of themselves and reflect that in their art. Not giving them room to do so places limitations on their talent, which holds them back from genuinely discovering the type of artist they want to be. GloRilla's real, raw, and gender-nonconforming style is how she entered the music scene. But she doesn't have to present herself that way for her entire career. GloRilla has consistently proven that she knows what it takes to be a hitmaker and finish on top. Her breakout single "F.N.F," released in 2022, led the charts, making it the song of the summer back then. The rapper has since cemented herself as a rising star to watch with her other famous tracks, "Yeah Glo!," "Wanna Be," "Tomorrow," alongside others. Despite the harsh criticism about her "lack of sex appeal," the rapper manages to remain true to herself while also not being afraid to experiment with her sound and aesthetic. GloRilla is the creator of her image and won't allow others to dictate how she expresses herself in her music. So, fans can either support her through all her phases or move on. Either way, GloRilla is here to stay, and she’s in complete control.

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