Monday, January 18, 2021

Mariah Carey on Being Racially Ambiguous in a ‘Male-Dominated Industry’

Mariah Carey

*Mariah Carey chopped it up with Questlove (né Ahmir Thompson) for a new episode of his podcast Questlove Supreme, during which she opened up about growing up biracial. 

“When people years from now tell my story — hopefully that happens — they’re gonna have to use that book as a template,” Carey told Questlove, of her memoir “The Meaning of Mariah Carey,” per PEOPLE. “This is my actual story. I look at a lot of people that I admired who didn’t get a chance to do that. They may have told their stories through their music and people interpret their stories.”

She continued, “I know some people, Ahmir, like to have everybody else’s input and their perspective. But what I wanted was to tell my actual story, which doesn’t begin with, ‘Mariah Carey put out Vision of Love in 1990.’ No, it doesn’t begin with that. It begins [with me] coloring in the ‘wrong’ crayon with a brown crayon for my father, so they all freak out at me.”

READ MORE: Mariah Carey Opens Up About Racism During Childhood and More in New Memoir

Mariah-Carey-The-Meaning-of-Mariah-Carey

“It begins with, ‘I don’t understand my hair because I’m [half-black],'” recalled the star. “It begins with all these identity issues, these issues of race, these struggles. Then it goes to the issues of control.”

The five-time Grammy winner said her identity crisis heightened once she entered the music industry, noting that “there’s a thing where there’s a constant theme [with] being a woman in a male-dominated industry. Then [I was] a woman of color with all this ambiguity and [had] people deciding how they’re going to market me [at the time].”

We previously reported, in her new book, the 50-year-old writes about several incidents that opened her young eyes to bigotry and racism.  One incident that stands out was when she was a young girl and one of her grade school friends came over to the house for a visit.

“The parents didn’t know I was Black.  They didn’t know that she (their daughter) was going to go into a Black man’s house,” Carey writes.  “They’d only met my mother.  The girl burst into tears because she was so freaked out.  Mind you, my father is this gorgeous, tall man that looked like a movie star to me and then to see that happen.  It just changes your perspective on things, and it twists it.  It was just heartbreaking.”

Part one of Carey’s Questlove Supreme episode dropped today! Listen here. 

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.

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