HomeUncategorizedRina Sawayama Calls Out Music Industry Misogyny and Racism

Rina Sawayama Calls Out Music Industry Misogyny and Racism

Rina Sawayama has expressed her vehement disappointment towards misogyny and racism in the music industry, writing on Instagram that she “can’t release an album under my current conditions.”

For International Women’s Day on Friday, March 8th, Sawayama was one of several female artists interviewed for The Independent’s piece about the misogynistic conditions that women in music work through. For her part, Sawayama immediately references her seething call out of Matty Healy at Glastonbury in June 2023, where she told the crowd “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.”

Speaking to Chloe Little and Roisin O’Connor, Sawayama confessed: “Since summer last year, I’ve felt intense racist misogyny in a way that I’ve never felt before. 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.” She continued, saying “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.”

Sharing the quotes from the Independent article on Instagram, Sawayama elaborated on the toll these macro and micro injustices have had on her mental health. “It’s the first time I’ve been honest about my past year (or to a level of detail I feel safe to). Honestly my mental health has been awful and though I was able to complete my 2023 commitments I can’t say it’s been the same this year,” the pop star wrote. “I’ve been lucky to have found ways to keep my business afloat and support myself as well as my team, but when it comes to new music I can’t release another album under my current conditions. I feel really trapped and don’t know what to do.”

Sawayama continued, writing “I’ve felt enlivened by the strength in this article, but I’ve also cried at how truly rotten the industry is. This is just a FRACTION of what actually goes on… There are men who have done horrible things to multiple women who have very secure jobs in high places. It is truly terrifying.” She ended her post with a call to action: “The music industry is absolutely due a MeToo movement and we need your amplification. Otherwise these artists will disappear from the industry… This is our workplace and women don’t deserve to be treated like this. This is not some rite of passage and this needs to stop.”

Rina Sawayama released her last album, Hold the Girl, in September 2022, and has been on the label Dirty Hit since she signed with them in 2020. Matty Healy of The 1975 was previously the creative director of Dirty Hit before resigning (amidst backlash) in August 2023, and is a shareholder of Dirty Hit alongside his bandmates — so technically, he still owns her masters.

Meanwhile, Sawayama shared a deluxe version of Hold the Girl in December 2023. Read our essay from last summer about the next generation of nu-metal, which includes Rina Sawayama.

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