Over the past few months — perhaps even years, really — there has been a disturbing trend of ostensible music journalists outright disrespecting interview subjects for content. These podcast and radio hosts have crossed boundaries, making artists — especially women or femme-presenting ones — visibly uncomfortable during interviews. Fortunately, with social media, those artists have the capacity to stand up for themselves, which is what Kehlani did when Morning Hustle Show hosts Lore’l and Headkrack misgendered and insulted them during an interview they called “cringy and invasive.”
While on their press tour to promote their new album, Blue Water Road, Kehlani appeared on the show but became visibly agitated after the hosts seemed to mock their pronouns, folding their arms and offering short, clipped responses to questions like whether they were “scissoring with SZA.” Afterward, Kehlani responded to the interview on Instagram, writing, “This is why your favorite artists always stop doing interviews or people don’t want to speak anymore. I’m only speaking to [a] select few folks anymore who really care about me deeply and have always been in my corner.”
In a video on social media, the host called out Kehlani for being “rude” and not having respect for urban media. “You feel like you don’t have to come to platforms like this and do interviews because you have Cosmopolitan and MTV and Vanity Fair that will feature you,” Lore’l said — accurately, I might add. “Good luck with your album, I heard it only sold 21K copies,” she added, spitefully. No artist is obligated to give any platform an interview, even if they are ostensibly “for the culture” — especially if they can’t be bothered to treat their interviewees with the bare minimum of human dignity.
Kehlani shot back on Instagram, pointing out, “I have kept it calm, collected, mature in the face of blatant disrespect when I could’ve went off. I finished interviews strong while being poked and prodded at. I JOYFULLY met thousands and thousands of fans this week, joyfully did many interviews very much available on youtube. if you know me you know I’m HIGH BRIGHT ENERGY until F*CKED WITH! stretching this situation for clout when it’s evident i was energetically RESPONDING to what was being thrown at me, and still at it was quiet, short & protective of my energy. y’all need this tho i get it.”
Lore’l violates Kehlani for her cringey interview on the Morning Hustle Show. “Good luck with your album, I heard it only sold 21K copies.” pic.twitter.com/ImcPKMlJFV
— IG: VideoMixtape (@videomixtapetv) May 9, 2022
For what it’s worth, there has been an ongoing discussion about artists in Black music foregoing Black outlets when it comes time to promote their work, preferring outsider outlets like those mentioned above for glowing profiles and uncritical reviews. However, it’s also understandable; artists are people too and are entitled to their legitimate feelings. No one wants to feel disrespected by invasive questions or mocked for their missteps. Obviously, there’s a balance to be found in which outlets can ask intimate questions in a much more empathetic way. Plenty of folks on Twitter seem to agree, as you can see below.
See, there’s an actual music journalist out there that would have LIVED for a chance to interview Kehlani. But instead it was you. Sorry to that journalist. Sorry to Kehlani. These two took up space they ain’t have any business being in. Get a new job. https://t.co/UkzXjvYT8b
— Synae (@synaemusic) May 9, 2022
You have no right to talk about professionalism, if all you can do is ask sexual questions and insult your guest to the point of making them physically uncomfortable & shut down. Its clear this Lore’l woman is the one who needs additional training. Kehlani did not deserve that. pic.twitter.com/9VmaQDhAH8
— Fez (@Wonder_and_live) May 9, 2022
How she need media training when you as the interviewer created an uncomfortable space for her? She literally asked all these invasive questions that had NOTHING TO DO WITH HER MUSIC!
— The Icarus Complex. (@icarus_belle) May 10, 2022
i hate women like her bruh! you didn’t ask her if she was smashing nor fucking… you asked if she was scissoring sza? like how many straight male artist have you asked “are you giving this artist backshots?” like go to hell bro https://t.co/6LxtHr3gLe
— sunshine on me. (@fathermellz) May 10, 2022
You can watch the full interview above.