“My goal has always been to redefine what it means to be a woman, especially a Black woman, and when I did come into the industry, I didn’t see people dressing this way and I felt as though there was going to be some some pressure to look like somebody else. And, I’m into fashion and I just think the tuxedo is cool; it also is paying homage to the working class. My mother, her last occupation, she was a janitor. And my father worked at the Post Office. So I like to pay homage to them and continue on that legacy to help the community, through music. And so it just keeps me humbled, it keeps me grounded. But my goal is never to dress up because I don’t want to show skin but it is to say I’m in control of my body. And as women I think we should be in control of our body, whether we’re naked or whatever. But let that be your decision, not, ‘these are the standards, you are a woman, you need to do this.’”
Her stance on clothing and perceptions of sexuality and objectification in the music industry. The fact that people continue to try to use her wardrobe choices—ones she CLEARLY stated are not about the politics of respectability—as some sort of faulty comparison to shame other Black women who CHOOSE to show more skin and are in control of their bodies, means that people really are willfully ignorant and are not engaging her words (and I know they aren’t; they think her music has no erotic power, for example) nor the words of the Black women that they choose to shame. By not engaging her actual message and using her as an object to shame other Black women, they objectify her and them.
This is misogynoir. It’s not what she’s about. It’s other people’s projection onto Black women through a very Patriarchal and White Gaze. Every time they use the word “classy” for her and immediately degrade another Black woman they juxtapose, they seek to degrade all Black women by denying our choices and agency and demanding we prove “acceptable” in the patriarchal gaze made of binaries, especially the cishet Black male gaze, for Black women. It’s tired.