Chloe Bailey’s Confidence Should Make Us Proud, Not Spiteful
The criticism toward her self-love says more about you than her
We are part of a community that would rather hashtag Black women than affirm them. This sobering truth took up residence like a lump in my throat as I watched Chloe Bailey trend on social media for two days. After reaching 1 million followers on her personal Instagram account, she posted her “silhouette challenge” contribution in celebration. This was days after she convinced us all that the “buss it challenge” was waiting on her to end it and just one day before she cleansed her space with sage and palo santo while wearing every Black girl’s favorite uniform: a T-shirt and underwear.
To know Chloe and her sister, Halle, is to love them. We’ve watched their endearing rise from YouTube sensations to Queen Bey’s protégés. With last year’s release of their sophomore project, The Ungodly Hour, several things became clear: The Bailey girls are grown. The lyrics and themes explored were a grand departure from their debut album, The Kids Are Alright, and you couldn’t really help but smile. They were becoming young women living, loving, and finding their way.
Young women like Chloe and others remind us of just how far we’ve come in a decade.
Perhaps that’s what’s most exciting for some of us about these social media challenges. Many of us know what it was like to spend our earlier years weighted by societal expectations, violent dogmas, and the unyielding pressure to be perfect. We couldn’t have spent our twenties truly enjoying them if we wanted to—and believe me, some of us wanted to. Young women like Chloe and others remind us of just how far we’ve come in a decade. There is an unapologetic ownership of themselves and their joy that is refreshing simply because the battle was long fought and hard won.
And yet, the responses and backlash Chloe has received prove just how far we have to go. A quick search of her name on social media turns up thousands of commenters suggesting that she is “doing too much” or is desperately seeking attention. These Twitter fingers admonish us that good, wholesome women don’t need to do all that to be respected or validated. Apparently, as…