Rina Sawayama Speaks Out Against Music Industry Misogyny: “I Can’t Release Another Album Under My Current Conditions”

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In June of last year, Rina Sawayama called out Matty Healy while on stage at Glastonbury, saying, “Tonight, this goes out to a white man that watches Ghetto Gaggers, and mocks Asian people on a podcast… he also owns my masters… I’ve had enough.” Yesterday, an article about misogyny in the music industry was published on The Independent for International Women’s Day, and Sawayama discussed the difficulties she’s faced since that call-out.

“Since summer last year, I’ve felt intense racist misogyny in a way that I’ve never felt before,” the pop singer explained. “In public and private I feel as though I’ve been repeatedly gaslit, disrespected, ignored, even cyber-bullied for calling out blatant racist and sexist behaviour. It’s horrifying seeing how the forts around men get built overnight and the techniques used to try to discredit and confuse the narrative. It’s been wild to see men and women around me turn.”

She continued:

I just want to leave this world a fairer, safer and kinder place for future generations to live in. That’s always been my mission from the start and I’ve always used my voice for this, but time and time again, women are punished for inconveniently holding a mirror up to men who were not willing to be held publicly accountable. My peers and I share stories and it’s clear there are a lot of men working in this industry who continue to get away with awful behaviour.

People feel like they can’t speak up. I don’t blame them – we’ve all seen what happens to women who do. But something needs to change.

Read it in full here. On her Instagram Story, she added:

So much love to the brave women who have shared their experiences on the article.

Sometimes the bigger you get, the more misogynists you have to work with. The bigger you get, the less you can say, the more there is to lose, the darker it gets, honestly. I have been shocked and disheartened to learn from artists much more successful than me that it does get worse at the top. It gets worse because you actually get to see how many misogynists make it through in higher positions of power. So many men you’ve heard awful things about are there, near the top in every single section of the industry.

I’ve often wondered if the key to women succeeding in this industry in its current state is not just about being talented and hardworking, but also being able to work despite the rampant endemic misogyny and racism. You have to have a lot of mental strength (or just be able to not engage with it) to carry on doing this work.

A lot of artists start young so perhaps have almost no context as to how unique this industry is in that way. I signed my first album deal at 29, I’ve worked in other industries before then. This is not normal. It’s fucked up.

She posted another Instagram Story this morning, welcoming DMs if you are “a woman in the industry and want to connect,” she wrote. “Men and women in the industry feel free to dm me if you want to know how you can help.”