After learning that George Floyd died in police custody, Tinashe knew straightaway that she had to take action and join the protesters in her community.
“I was just seeing everything that was happening, and posting on Instagram just didn’t feel like enough,” the “Save Room for Us” singer, 27, told Us Weekly exclusively. “I felt like, ‘What could I do to actually, physically put myself into this narrative?’ And so I went down, and that was the first day of protest. And ever since then, they’ve just gotten bigger and bigger and more unified. And it’s just really been amazing to see.”
While some demonstrations across the country have gotten out of hand, Tinashe has generally seen peace on the streets of Downtown Los Angeles.
“The environment that I felt that I was in while I was actually at the protest didn’t feel scary and it didn’t feel violent,” she told Us. “There were obviously moments where that really escalated. When the police would step in and use their unnecessary force, that was really called out, which is amazing that we have the use of cellphones and we have all these ways to share that, because I think that that helped people really see that the protesters themselves weren’t the ones that were the agitators. … It was never a fear energy, it was never an energy of anger. It was always like, ‘We are here, we are one, we are brave, we’ll stand together.’”
The R&B star explained that seeing “friends posting about the looting and rioting” in some cities has been “really frustrating” because videos depicting violence and destruction have detracted the “real unity” of the Black Lives Matter movement.
“[I’m] trying to help people understand that this never came from a place where we have to be afraid to speak out,” she told Us. “We should be loud, we should be bold. This is absolutely the time.”
And Tinashe has done just that. Over the past week, she has used her voice to call out artists including Diplo and Lana Del Rey for the way they have responded on social media to the protests and movements.
“We have a responsibility to call out our peers who are using language that maybe isn’t helpful to the cause at the moment,” she told Us, naming journalist Elaine Welteroth and fellow singers Kehlani and Lauren Jauregui as some of the people she recommends following on social media to stay up-to-date on current events. “This is an unprecedented moment in time where we can really come together. … We can’t post dangerous content at this time. It’s just not worth it.”
The entertainer — who urged fans to “hold their friends and family accountable and look at their own white privilege” — also spoke to Us about Hannah Brown. The Bachelorette alum, 25, recently came under fire for singing the N-word on Instagram Live while dancing to DaBaby’s song “Rockstar.”
“I understand how people can find it confusing to love pop culture and black culture and to want to be a part of it,” she said. “In their own way, they think it’s probably harmless to say in their safe spaces. But it’s important to know that that goes way beyond your safe space. And if you feel comfortable saying it in your safe space, then what does that say about what you would do outside of that safe space? I think that’s what we really need to start thinking about, is how are we looking at black people, black culture, when black people aren’t around?”
Although Tinashe has primarily been focused on combatting racial injustice in recent days, she has also had music on her mind. She revealed that she has not “written any songs” lately, but she “definitely [wants] to release an entirely new project” before the end of the year.
“I will, I promise,” she assured Us.
With reporting by Brody Brown
For more information, visit Blacklivesmatter.com.
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