She’s been demanding respect as a pop artist for years, but Tinashe has vocalized that she’s struggled with being accepted in the industry. Her 2014 release Aquarius was critically-acclaimed and is still hailed as a fan favorite, and her recently released Songs for You shows that she deserves to be considered a pop princess. However, Tinashe stated that her previous label, RCA, didn’t know how to market her as a pop star and if you put the keys in the singer’s hand, she would drive down a road where genres didn’t exist.
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In an interview with Rolling Stone, Tinashe shared that when she first stepped into the music scene, she felt immense pressure to be “an R&B girl.” She added, “I’m going to go as far as to say we need to abolish genres in general. I think that the way that many of them came to be and have continued to progress is very much so based on race and the segregation of music based on race. By putting artists either in an urban category or an R&B category or rap category, a hip-hop — these really general umbrellas that we use to define different genres — it creates a huge sense of isolation for the creative when they’re trying to experiment, especially for creatives that don’t necessarily feel like they fall into one of the genres, which was my experience.”
Tinashe also said when she was on a major label, she noticed how differently executives moved for “urban” artists and that genres were split into “teams” that didn’t communicate with one another. “I think changing the name from, like, urban contemporary to R&B or whatever is just like a new title for the same issue,” she said. “It doesn’t get rid of the problem of categorizing people and putting them into places where there’s just less promotion, less mainstream f*cking respect. It’s deep.”