Plenty of female pop stars have actively avoided the label "feminist." The sad but somewhat valid fear is that it carries too much weight. So it's refreshing anytime an artist—especially a new one—outright embraces it, like Tink does in her cover story for the Feb/March issue of The Fader.
Tink, who's from Chicago and signed to Timbaland's label Mosley Music Group, has made a great first impression so far. Take a stroll through her Soundcloud for a sec and listen to "UFO" with Andre 3000, an honest record about infidelity, and her remix of Dej Loaf's "Try Me" where she makes metaphoric birthing threats. She's also destroyed disloyal dudes on "Don't Tell Nobody" and appeared on Future Brown's "Room 302." She raps in a tone that's almost child-like and yet ferocious and thought-out at the same time.
Anyway, this Fader story simultaneously pegs Tink as one of rap's next chosen ones and "a new voice for proudly imperfect women."
There's no confusion about whether she's a feminist or not. Tink tells writer Jenna Wortham:
"I'm definitely a feminist. The industry made me that way. I had to grind so hard to be taken seriously, had to work twice as hard to get here." In identifying as such, Tink might serve as a voice for women who call themselves feminists but don't identify with the 24/7 flawlessness of Taylor Swift and Beyoncé or see themselves among the cast of a Lena Dunham show. "I'm in my own little lane, doing just me." Here, she does a cute little body roll in her chair. "I don't have to fit in."
She also talks about her initial approach to music and why she chose to disown the "bitch" epithet:
"I had to cut off calling myself 'bitch.' And I cut out some of the songs where I was degrading myself. When people do that, of course it's seen in a fun way, but at the same time it's sending the message to everybody else to look at you as a bitch. I want to dig deep into bad relationships, molestation, racism, and not feeling pretty. I want to get under people's skin."
The fact that her music is both personal and aware of external influences easily distinguishes it from the more consumerist raps of Nicki Minaj or goofy ass Iggy Azalea. Tink says:
"There's a broad range of male rappers, so if they're going out on a limb and they sound different, it's okay because we have twenty other rappers doing what the radio wants. As far as females, there aren't as many, so if you want to compete, you have to sound just like this because that's the only thing hot right now. If you want to compete, you have to look like this."
Cue The Facts of Life theme song. Tink says:
"Having to deal with social media is both good and bad. I'm brown, I don't have a big ass, my lips are full. I'm not the ideal pop star, not what you see on TV. I look like I could be your best friend. I would rather impress you with my storytelling than with the size of my waist and my hips."
The full cover story is here.
Images via thefader.com