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51st NAACP Image Awards - Arrivals

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If you follow ChloexHalle, you may have noticed that each of the young ladies in the group have created their own separate Instagram accounts now. As we discussed during a recent interview with both Chloe and Halle, Chloe Bailey, one half of the dynamic musical duo, ChloexHalle has recently embraced her more sensual and sexual side. As a 22-year-old, she’s no longer a child and is exploring the fullness of what it means to be a woman, including her sexual energy and expression.

While this is every woman’s birthright, Chloe has found that her foray into sexuality has been met with mixed reactions. While many are celebrating her, causing her videos to trend on social media, there are others who are saying Chloe is “doing too much.” That she’s compromising her “true talents” by showing off her body in this way.

It’s typical behavior. First, men enjoy sexualizing you. But the more agency and autonomy Chloe exhibits in her videos, the more irritated and annoyed people—men and women alike—become by the imagery.

I don’t know if Chloe was catching some of the backlash in her comment section. But during a recent Instagram Live, she shared why she feels so empowered posting these videos after years of battling insecurity when it came to her body.

“The thing is you guys just get to see who I really am as a person. I’m really grateful for your support and love because it just wouldn’t be right of me to show an image of me that I’m not, like a made-up, clean cut image of me that I’m not. Inside, I’m such a nerd. I’m not worldly at all. But when I perform, when I make music and when I dance, that’s when I get to tap into the sexier side of myself.

Starts crying

It really means a lot to me when I can finally get to a place where I share who I really am. I’ve been really insecure for a long time and I’m finally at that place where I have self-confidence. And I’m really happy that I get to share that with you all. And I think it’s so important and so special when a Black woman can be strong and stand in her power, in every single way. I do it musically, with my songwriting, with my producing. I feel so bada$$ and I get the same feeling when I dance in my room and own my body. For so long, I used to think I was fat. I used to hate my stretch marks and my cellulite.

But now I really love who I am. I don’t post what I post for validation from anybody or even male attention. It’s just me. That’s how I find my confidence. It has taken me a lot to appreciate myself and my body. There’s been so many times when I felt I wasn’t preety enough. I have a lot of issues with my weight. I’m just now learning at 22-23 that it’s okay to be all that you are and stand in your power.

…I’m not going to change who I am. If I did, I would be a catfish and you all wouldn’t see the real me. I love you all so much that I want to invite you all in and show you who I am. It’s always been a part of me and you all are just now seeing it.

For every woman out there, don’t change who you are to make society feel comfortable. That’s not what I’m going to do.

…It’s really hard for me to think of myself as a sexual being or an attractive being, quite frankly. So when I see all the uproar about my posts, I’m a bit confused. I don’t really understand because I’ve never seen myself in that way or in that light.”

Any woman, specifically any Black women has the potential to have her sexuality policed. But this is particularly the case for Black girls, society has watched grow from teenagers. We saw this recently in the criticisms people shared for Zendaya being cast alongside John David Washington. We see it constantly with entertainers like Megan Thee Stallion, Cardi B. and Lizzo—to name a few. Men who have made entire careers rapping about their sexual behavior and even degrading women show their true hypocritical colors when they speak out about women speaking, rapping or showcasing their own sexuality.

And sadly, things are a bit exacerbated for Chloe. Not only were we introduced to Chloe and Halle when they were young girls, the two have also established themselves are particularly talented in the industry. Not only does Chloe sing with her sister, she’s a musician and is responsible for the production on both of their Grammy-nominated albums.

Society has regarded both Chloe and Halle as wholesome and musically talented. And that doesn’t fit in with the misogynistic notion that any woman who embraces her sexuality is a whore, thirsty for attention or somehow inferior.

Grappling with the fact that women are multifaceted has always been a problem for society. And instead of recognizing women as whole people, sexual people, we’d rather label them one way or another and refuse to contend with their humanity.

I don’t know if Chloe Bailey got on Instagram and cried because of some of the comments people have been directing her way or because she’s now enjoying the freedom of self-acceptance or a combination of both. Either way, it’s a shame she had to explain her decision to do what she wants with her own body.

Let Black women live.

Veronica Wells is the culture editor at MadameNoire.com. She is also the author of “Bettah Days” and the creator of the website NoSugarNoCreamMag

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