SZA Believes Being Black Is ‘The Only Reason’ She’s ‘Defined As An R&B Artist’

SZA is one of the defining R&B artists of our time. If you ask SZA, though, she wants to be more than that, and she thinks that it’s because she’s Black that some people put her in that R&B box.

In a new Dazed interview, SZA explains:

“The only reason I’m defined as an R&B artist is because I’m Black. It’s almost a little reductive because it doesn’t allow space to be anything else or try anything else. Justin Bieber is not considered an R&B artist; he is a pop artist who makes R&B, folk music, or whatever his heart desires. I simply just want to be allowed the same opportunity to make whatever I want without a label, [without it being] based on the color of my skin, or the crew that I run with, or the beats that I choose. I want ‘F2F’ to be seen as what it is. I want ‘Nobody Gets Me’ to be seen as what it is. I want ‘Kill Bill’ to be seen as what it is.

At the same time, it’s nothing to get bent out of shape about, because it’s just how people are processing you. As long as I don’t process myself that way. I don’t necessarily box myself into anything. I’m just trying to make music, trying to vibe out and enjoy the experience.”

She added, “Once we’re dead and gone, there will still be work to do in terms of how we’re seen in the world as Black women, and who we are allowed to be seen as — the multifacetedness and all our spectrums of expression. I think humanity will be constantly unfolding itself, and we will be showing each other who we are beyond the reductive labels our brains are regurgitating, from whatever we saw on the internet or learned in college or at home through socialization. We’ll get beyond that, and that’s just part of being human. I’m down to be human.”

Find the full interview here.