Throughout 2021, Chlöe Bailey has faced waves of criticism over both her online posts and live performances, mainly in the form of trolls arguing that the 23-year-old artist is essentially acting “too sexily.”
During a recent appearance on Taraji P. Henson’s Facebook Watch series, Peace of Mind with Taraji, Bailey began reflecting on her growth in the face of her online criticism. While she continues to address the matter head-on, she also shares insight on how social media hate can feed into personal insecurities and how young people can overcome these feelings.
“They were talking about me posting my body. And ever since I was a little girl, I’ve always been curvy—to the point where sometimes it was my biggest insecurity,” Bailey began. “I remember the first time I got stretch marks. I was 12 at this field trip, and we were hiking. I’m like, ‘What is this?’ I still have them all on my thighs.”
After acknowledging that she’s still “very insecure,” the singer started by connecting the backlash she faces to past insecurities she had about her body.
“But as I’ve gotten older, I have learned to really appreciate my curves,” she continued. “I love my stretch marks. Every time I have a photoshoot, I’m like, ‘No, don’t airbrush the stretch marks—’cause I like them!'”
Bailey then shared that while she has grown more accepting of her body, she is still not entirely immune to the online hate she receives.
“I think there was a collective of them, and I can’t sit here and lie and say, ‘Oh, I’m bulletproof, nothing hurt me,’ because it honestly did,” she revealed. “And I think what hurt me the most was when I would see some post saying how I’m doing this for male attention, or I’m just trying to sell sex to get attention for myself.”
“At first, I was really getting sad about it. But then I told myself, ‘Why would I let that control my thoughts and feelings when I know it’s a lie?’ So, it’s like I kind of had to give it not so much power,” Bailey continued. “I’m not doing anything crazy—I’m just loving and appreciating my body, and I don’t think that there’s any problem with that.”
“There were moments where it made me feel less than. I was like ‘Well, what is wrong with me? Because this is completely me—I’m being authentic,'” she shared. “But I love God. I’m very spiritual, and I just pray and close my eyes, and I’m like, ‘I’m pretty proud of myself.’ So, I didn’t really mind after that, but it’s like I kind of have to do soul-searching every now and then.”
The “Have Mercy” artist reinforced that it’s important for people, particularly young Black women, to “find [an] outlet” to serve as an escape from criticism.
“Social media, it’s such a love-hate thing,” Bailey remarked. “I feel like especially with this generation because I’m a part of it. You’re constantly comparing yourself online with other people.”
“It’s so important for us to have conversations like this, so people understand that it’s real and it’s OK to feel the way that we’re feeling,” she added.
Bailey then wrapped up her interview by acknowledging that the entire experience has taught her about her strength.
“I used to think that I wasn’t very strong. But I’ve learned that I’m a pretty strong woman,” she said. “I’ve learned to say no to things that I don’t agree with, I’m learning to find my own voice, and it is so powerful and liberating. And it’s only going to get stronger and louder.”