One half of the R&B sister duo ChloeXHalle found herself trending on social media following a racy rendition of “Feeling Good,” the 1965 record made popular by singer and activist Nina Simone.
Chloe Bailey took to the stage on Friday, June 18, to perform her latest song, “Feeling Good,” for the ABC special event “Juneteenth: Together We Triumph – A ‘Soul of a Nation.” However, it wasn’t her impressive vocal technicality or the sequined one-piece that had folks buzzing, but instead was her dance routine that opened the floodgate of discussion.
Mixed reactions stormed the Twitter timeline. While many appeared to have enjoyed Chloe’s provocative choreography, others deemed it inappropriate for the moment and the song — especially given its tie to Simone.
“Umm no. it was very Beyonce, but not appropriate for the theme of the night/ event “Soul of the Nation,'” one Twitter user wrote. “Because it was so overtly sexual and we should be able to say well done but that was not appropriate for the event, anywhere else like her own concert sure. Kids were watching!”
Another person commented, “Her performance was completely inappropriate. Why can’t singers really on their singing ability and not grind on the ground, twerk and all that other mess during a song.” They added, “Chloe is a very talented woman but that performance came across as very desperate for attention.”
Soon afterward, Simone’s granddaughter RéAnna Simone Kelly came to Bailey’s defense. “Everyone coming at @ChloeBailey for her performance of my grandmother Nina Simne’s song ‘Feeling Good,’” she tweeted. “But what y’all don’t understand is that grandma was a free spirited woman herself!! She would’ve loved that performance as much as I do! Relax. Chloe killed it. #NinaSimone.”
She continued, “Grandma was unapologetically herself. She was a muhhhf-ckin badass woman who did what she wanted when she wanted. She was a sexual woman and she expressed that. Educate yourselves !! If grandma could she probably would’ve done that performance herself.”
Simone-Kelly shouted out the 22-year-old actress before imploring everyone to watch the Netflix documentary on her grandmother, “What Happened Miss Simone,” to better understand who the star was. “Happy Juneteenth y’all!” she concluded.
This wasn’t the first time Chloe has had to defend herself against critics who shamed her for being overtly erotic. Earlier this year, while talking to fans on Instagram, the “Grownish” star revealed she struggled with accepting her body and natural curves, but performing has been helping her overcome it. “When I perform, and when I make music, that’s when I get to tap into the sexier side of myself, and that’s where I find my confidence,” she said at the time.
Check out Chloe’s performance down below.