Beyoncé proteges Chloe x Halle have quickly proven themselves on raw talent, collecting five Grammy nominations across two albums, while gracing the small screen on the Yara Shahidi-led Grown-ish for the last four seasons. On that show they play twins and that’s pretty much how they’ve been packaged and received by us since the beginning. We only ever saw them together: Chloe x Halle. So much so that when they decided to start their own separate Twitter accounts this year, it shook their fans. Then Halle was off filming the live action Little Mermaid and Chloe was living her best life on social media — showing a bit more skin and dancing a bit more provocatively than we were used to — and working on solo music. Now she’s 23 and ready to solidify her own image outside of Chloe x Halle. With the simpler moniker, Chlöe dropped her debut solo single “Have Mercy” last Friday.
She brought no mercy to last night’s MTV VMAs, performing the track live for the first time and she shut that show down! Dare I say some Beyoncé energy was present? She may still be working on getting to the high precision standard of her mentor but that will come in time. The most important Beyoncé factor was there: the hunger. Reaction to the performance is overwhelmingly positive. Everyone can see this girl has fully unleashed herself in a new creative direction and she’s taken off sprinting.
I wanna be Chloe Bailey when I grow up— Simone Biles (@Simone_Biles) September 13, 2021
On the red carpet, during the pre-show, Halle (standing next to Chlöe) was asked how she feels about seeing her older sister branching out on her own and she had nothing but great, supportive things to say about watching Chlöe develop her own artistic vision. Chlöe said it would be weird performing and not being able to look at her little sister next to her but said she’d be looking out at her cheering in the audience for support. But performing without your other half must have been nerve-racking. A fan captured Chlöe post performance, where it looks like she stops while exiting the stage to break down in tears. I think they’re happy tears, celebrating how she just absolutely crushed her first big solo gig.
She looks completely overcome with emotions in this clip captured backstage, showing Lil Nas X praising her performance.
Chlöe’s new solo image is without a doubt more sexual, with racier lyrics, while showing a lot more skin. The “Have Mercy” music video (in which Tina Knowles makes a cameo) was a blunt introduction to the new Chlöe for those who haven’t been following her on social media this year. The music video and the VMAs performance have people (who saw Chloe x Halle as an alternative to the typically-sexual superstars of today) asking why she’s showing sooooo much skin. Responding to a fan on Instagram this weekend, she said, “Because I can. It’s my body, and I’m so proud of it, and I hope you’re proud of yours too.” Ahead of her performance she also spoke on it with MTV News:
“Men can glorify ass in their videos, I want to do it with this in a really artful, fun, beautiful way. And I think it’s so great how women can claim their ownership of their bodies and not let the world do it. We get to do it in the way that we want to, and it was really fun!”
Artists have been evolving their image since Madonna. Why are people still shocked? It’s her art. She’s in control of it. And I’m living for it.