Saturday, September 18, 2021

Music Exec Said ‘Pretty, Light-Skinned’ Mya Would Outsell ‘Big, Black, Fat’ Kelly Price [VIDEO]

*Kelly Price is speaking out about the body shaming and colorism she’s experienced in the music industry.

In a candid new interview with The Core 94, the singer noted the success of Lizzo, who has also caught heat over her size but the songstress has worked the hate into her body positive campaign which has scored her tons of fans and adoration.

Here’s what Kelly had to say about the issue (via MadameNoire):

“I recently read an article that talked about the success that Lizzo is having. And before her, it’s been so hard for women of size to be viewed as anything other than matronly, gospel singer, House music singer, or opera singer. But you were not allowed to come across as having too much confidence or to believe that you were sexy or that you could compete with the skinny girl.

And with Lizzo coming out so hard, saying this is who I am and by the way,  ‘I will take your man. You better watch him around me.’ But this writer mentioned me and Martha Wash. I have to say as far as Bad Boy is concerned, if you read the liner notes, I was credited as a background singer. If I was a songwriter, I was credited. But there were other times as a songwriter, if I would demo the record, my vocals should have come off.

I’ll never forget sometimes riding in the car and hearing a song that I’d written for another artist come on and it’s pretty much all me, even on the leads.

There was a lot of body shaming. If we had the phrase body shaming when I was coming along, hell. You know how much further I’d be.

I’m happy people are growing up. I can’t even say evolving. It’s just like grow up. The world is big and it’s round and there are so many different types of people in the world with so many different facets of beauty and what’s beautiful to me don’t have to be beautiful to you.

I’m glad that the world is finally catching up. There is no one standard of beauty.”

OTHER NEWS YOU MIGHT HAVE MISSED: Magic Johnson Says Kobe Bryant Doc On Final Lakers Season ‘Definitely Going To Happen’

Kelly Price (Getty)
Kelly Price (Getty)

When asked about how her first solo deal went down, Price explained: 

You know our industry is monkey see, monkey do. The very first deal I had on the table was with Jive Records. I love that I can say this now cuz back then, I wouldn’t name names. But hell, I’m almost 30 years in. Who cares at this point. It was actually the second deal. I had. Jive was really more interested in signing me as a writer. They sweetened the deal with a record deal because they knew I wanted to record. After months and months of negotiating this record deal with Jive, I’m on my way to sign the deal. I take the train into Manhattan. And my lawyer says, ‘Hey before you come by here, they want to take you to the offices at Jive. They want to introduce you to all the heads of whoever.’ And it was the biggest blessing for me. I got by Jive Records before I go sign the contract at my lawyer’s and I walk into a conference room. And sitting in there is the head of every department. So I walk in and it feels really weird. So they invite me to sit down and it’s quiet.

They’re like, ‘We’re glad you could come by. Today’s signing day.’

I’m like, ‘Yes!’

So they say, ‘We have some things we need to talk about.’

And I’m like, ‘Sure, what do we want to talk about?’

And someone says, ‘So we need to talk about this weight.’

And my eyes got big. And they said so, ‘We think you have an amazing pen. You’re probably one of the best pens in the industry right now. And your voice is unmatched. But you are going to have to lose a significant amount of weight before we put a record out on you.’

Now mind you this was the first time this had come up and we had been negotiating my deal for months. So I’m sitting there and my heart falls into my stomach. I’m getting warm and my eyes want to water. And I’m like you better not cry in this room. It’s awkward silence and finally somebody says, ‘Come on. We knew we had to have this conversation. We’re not going to put the record out unless you lose a massive amount of weight.’

And so I choke it back. I suck it up and I say, ‘Okay, well. I’m a big girl. We know that. We’ve known that. I’ve been big my whole life. I come from big people. What if I get to a weight and I feel that I’m comfortable and I’m healthy and I’m happy with that and you decide that that’s not enough? Who gets to decide that? If I feel like I’m okay and you don’t, do you still put this record out on me or not?’

And someone says, ‘Honestly, we don’t know.’

So I looked at them and I said, ‘Thank you gentlemen.’ I stood up and walked out of the room and I cried all the way to the train station.

So after that, people started hearing my name and connecting a name to it. Then other offers started coming in. Puff offered a deal. And I didn’t sign to him because I felt like I would fall through the cracks because he already had Faith. And even though we’re not the same, we were too similar in what we did and I felt like one of us was going to be neglected. I said no to his deal. And he was very not happy when I said that I wouldn’t sign to Bad Boy. MCA put a deal on the table. I declined that deal.”

RELATED: Kelly Price: Grammy Nominated Singer Discusses Losing Grandfather to Covid-19 (WATCH)

Ron Isley (Getty)
Ron Isley (Getty)

But then Kelly met music icon Ronald Isley and ultimately became his vocal producer. He eventually took her to Island Records and they put together her debut album “The Soul of a Woman.”

“Here I was with the opportunity to step out front and be seen unapologetically. I wasn’t being asked to be something I wasn’t. I wasn’t asked to look like something that I wasn’t. And every step of the way Ronald Isley and Hiram [Hicks] celebrated the Kelly that I was. Because I had my days where I would want to cry and I would hear what other executives had to say about me.

There was a bet that was out on me between two executives. I promise to God. I want to make sure this is said correctly because this is not about the other artist. Mya and I released albums on the same day. An executive at her label made a bet with an executive at Island that—in his words—his pretty, light skinned thin girl would outsell the big, Black, fat girl that could sing circles around her. That’s what the executive at MCA said.

I was broken a lot of the times but I wore this responsibility. Hiram and Ronald used to tell me all the time, ‘If you’re not confident. The world will see it and they’ll eat you up. So you gotta walk around and represent our sisters. You look more of our women than these other girls do. More of them will relate to you when they see you than they can to anything else because you are the girl in the choir. You are the girl next door. You’re the auntie, you’re the sister, you’re the cousin. You’re the girl at church who can sing circles around everybody but nobody will ever know who she is. They get to live through you now.

There were lots of derogatory things written about my appearance in the earlier years. I had to suck it up, take it on the chin, take it like a soldier and stand in their faces and go but I’m still here.

I say shout out to everybody who can come out and be all of the things that I couldn’t have been back then even if I wanted to be because it was too early in the fight.”

Ny MaGee
Ny MaGee is a screenwriter and freelance reporter from Chicago -- currently living in Los Angeles and covering A-list entertainment for various outlets, including Emmys.com. She has worked for: Miramax, MTV & VH1, The Jim Henson Company, Hallmark Channel, Paramount Pictures, and for iconic indie film producer Roger Corman.

YOU MAY LIKE

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

- Advertisement -

SEARCH

THE CULTURECALENDAR: WHAT'S NEW & BLACK ON TV


TRENDING