Singer Chlöe Bailey debuted the title song of her album “Have Mercy” and has since received a mixture of support and criticism from fans. The 23-year old went on the Mike Muse Show to talk about the recent controversy. (Courtesy photo)

By Nadine Matthews
Special to the AFRO

In her recent appearance on The Mike Muse Show on Sirius Satellite Radio to promote her album Have Mercy, singer and actress Chloe Bailey  discussed how she’s been dealing with both criticism from detractors and encouragement from fans. Bailey with her sister Halle make up the singing duo Chloe x Halle. Discovered by superstar songstress Beyonce, they are signed to her Parkwood Entertainment label, contracted for six albums.

Invoking the names of legendary singing sex symbols Grace Jones, Madonna, Janet Jackson and Tina Turner, Muse inquired about audience backlash to Bailey’s Tonight Show performance of her first single, “Have Mercy.” The 23- year-old beauty replied, “It’s always shocking when a Black woman is confident in the skin that she’s in and isn’t afraid to show it.”

Bailey has been forced to learn lessons at a young age that some women twice her age still struggle with. “I’m learning that my voice matters. And I have to believe in myself before anyone else will, because they won’t. And no one will fight for you unless you fight for yourself.” She went on to declare that she doesn’t care what anyone thinks of her. “And I will love who I am, and I will be proud about it and speak up loudly about it.”

She also pointed out that she is still very much a work in progress and does have her moments of weakness when the criticism gets too toxic. “You’re looking in the mirror and it’s like, ‘Is who I am right?’” she stated. “Like, is there something wrong with me?” 

Bailey indicated she was  a bit surprised at the outpouring of support she received and the confidence she seemed to inspire in others in the midst of the controversy. “I was just being myself. And when I realized ‘okay, this is bigger than me,’ is when beautiful women of all ages, all sizes, all shapes would say to me, whether it’s to my face or even online, how I have inspired them to love their bodies. I think it’s more than me.”

Muse also asked if she looked at her arguably racy Tonight Show performance as a rebellious act. “Being myself isn’t a rebellious act,” she countered. “Maybe because I’m kind of tearing down society’s norms. Maybe that is a rebellious act. But it wasn’t intentional. If being yourself is being a rebel then yeah.”

Bailey also alluded to the value of being criticized and being underestimated. “Underestimation is the best. It is the best feeling when you can prove someone wrong. And I think anyone, no matter what their profession is, all of our challenges are the same. We constantly have to prove ourselves. As long as we keep our heads held up high and don’t listen to what anyone’s saying outside of us, we’ll kind of be okay.”

The Atlanta native, who plays recurring character Skye Forster on Freeform’s comedy series Grown-ish, and a leading role in the upcoming thriller Jane, also went into detail about her album. She admitted that she knew from the very beginning that it would be an album about heartbreak because that was the emotional space she was in at the time. What she particularly loves about the album, she declared, is its vulnerability. “Whether I’m talking my s***, or whether I’m singing about something really sad, I’m being honest. And I can’t wait for people to hear it whenever it’s ready, because they’ll get me completely Chloe 360.” She hints that that entails some surprises for her fans when they listen to it. “I don’t think if someone was like, ‘Oh, this would be the next song that I hear from Chlöe, I don’t think they’d be able to pinpoint it. And I never want to be predictable ever.”

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