Kelela talks about the music industry’s #TimesUp failures in new interview

“It has historically been a white woman’s campaign.”

March 29, 2018

Kelela sat down with GQ , where she discussed group chats, helping younger people make music, and the Time's Up movement. When asked why she felt the music industry hasn't had "the same reckoning" as other industries, she explained that she thinks it's "because most popular music is based off of black women’s contributions."


"Most of our huge, white pop stars are profiting off of their white privilege [and] the pursuit of [vocal] runs," she continued. "I like to say, because it’s quite literal and it’s important to say, that runs come from black people and black suffering and triumph. I think part of the reason why it’s a difficult thing to dismantle is because so many white people are profiting off of that. I think that’s what’s going on. I would say that when it comes to the campaign against sexual harassment and sexism as a whole, it has historically been a white woman’s campaign. The thing that would make me feel safe is if the campaign’s centerpiece was about how black women are exploited and copied off of, and how their contributions quite specifically are profited from without including and honoring them. If that’s not the centerpiece of the campaign, I’m not really interested. In film, it’s harder to make the argument that it's black people’s contributions [that] are driving consumption. But it’s really simple when it comes to music, and that’s why there hasn’t been a #TimesUp moment in music."

She added, "I think if you ask any black woman, they’ll either agree with me or be like, “No comment.' Either you agree with me and you are over it and you are past the point of thinking that you have anything to lose by speaking on it, or you agree with me and you don’t want to lose the opportunities that you have."

Read the full interview here.