The singer’s cover of a Minnie Ripperton classic is further proof of her undeniable talent — but some haters can’t stop body shaming.
Newsflash to the small-minded: someone can be irrefutably sexy and unquestionably talented, without the former overshadowing the latter. Over the last few years, R&B rising star Chloe Bailey has faced undue criticism for simply being a young woman growing into her sexuality, and her voice has shattered all of those expectations of her.
Yesterday, Bailey decided to bless Instagram with a magnificent rendition of Minnie Ripperton’s classic love song “Lovin You” while wearing a gorgeous dress. The comments were full of people floored by how she could do justice to a song more than twice her age. But, because she didn’t sing it with her entire body covered from head to toe in fabric, there were people who only saw her trying to sell sex. Instagram user @che_gotthejuice complimented Hailey on sounding amazing, but only before expressing her wish “everything wasn’t so sexualized” and advising her to just sing. Instagram user @itspressure21 wondered “Why can’t she ever just be normal…like does everything have to be so sexual?” Then, there was Instagram user @bella_thaa_beauty who commented she “can do without the over sexualizing the song.”
Hours after posting the video, Bailey had enough of the unfair critiques. On her personal Twitter account, she killed her haters with kindness, tweeting, “I like how you can’t criticize my singing or who I am as an artist, so people find something else to find. That’s a compliment.” While internet trolls hiding behind anonymity are quick to reduce any of her public appearances as oversexualized cries for attention, Bailey has had a polar opposite view of herself. Last January, she gave an emotional Instagram Live speech about her struggles with seeing herself as a sexual being while being criticized for being one by society. At one point during the conversation, Bailey wiped away tears as she explained how she finds strength in both her musical abilities and her body after years of being insecure in her own skin, as is the case for most teenagers coming of age.
While opinionated naysayers think Bailey is oversexualizing herself because they’ve known about her since she and her sister Halle Bailey were fresh-faced middle schoolers covering Beyonce songs on YouTube over a decade ago, Bailey’s talents continue to outshine any preconceived notions. Two months after she wiped tears because people were body-shaming her, she and her sister scooped up multiple NAACP Image Awards for their scorching 2020 album Ungodly Hour. This month, Bailey told Yahoo’s In The Know “there has never been a point in time that society has ever been comfortable with the woman being powerful in the skin that she's in,” while also being featured on Gunna’s #1 album DS4EVER in the same month. And she’ll be looking to take home her first-ever solo artist awards at this year’s NAACP Image Awards in February, a month after a simple Minnie Riperton cover had Instagram commenters clutching their puritan pearls.
Bailey’s debut single “Have Mercy” is Gold-certified because of her talent, not her looks. She has a “fire lit under [her] ass” after losing in all the categories she was nominated in at last year’s Grammys. Female artists too often have to wait until people get past their looks before they’re respected for their talents. Bailey is anointed by the goddess Beyonce and has a voice that could make angels cry. She doesn’t need to cover up her body to get respect; the world just has to stop listening with its eyes.