Chloe Bailey understood her assignment and did not disappoint at the 2021 Video Music Awards. The 23-year-old shut down the VMA stage in her first solo performance. Chloe performed her single “Have Mercy,” wearing a hot pink corset number with a fiery backdrop and her name spelled out in flames.
Sunday’s performance was full of #blackgirlmagic energy, a twerk circle, and a sultry microphone lick. Simone Biles said it best when she tweeted, “I wanna be Chloe Bailey when I grow up.” I think we all do.
City Girl rapper Yung Miami co-signed and said that Chloe “ate” that performance. “Sheesh,” the rapper tweeted with flame emojis.
Earlier that week, Chloe debuted the super sexy, steamy music video for the single, which featured Beyonce’s mother, Tina Knowles-Lawson. As of Sept. 13, the video has over 8 million views on YouTube. It also sparked a new dance challenge, #havemercychallenge, on TikTok. While most of us were snatched by her performance, others criticized the 23-year-old on her sexuality. The Grown-ish star gracefully responded to the backlash in an Instagram live.
“Why are you showing so much skin?” Chloe smiled and replied during her IG Live session, repeating a question a fan left in the comments. “Because I can. It’s my body and I’m so proud of it, and I hope you’re proud of yours too.”
This is not the first time critics have come for Chloe about her sexuality. Back in February, critics accused her of being too proactive and seeking attention after posting Tiktok videos of her doing the “Buss it” and “Silhouette” dance challenges.
“I’ve been insecure for a long time and I’m finally at that place where I have self-confidence,” she responded in a tearful IG video.
In a recent interview with MTV, Chloe further elaborated and explained why she is so open to showing her melanin.
“Men can glorify ass in their videos, I want to do it with this in a really artful, fun, beautiful way,” she said in the Sept. 10 interview. “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!”
Watch the VMA performance below:
Chloe’s solo debut was also a tender moment between two sisters. Halle Bailey introduced her big sister’s star performance.
“It’s incredible to watch your sister and collaborator find her voice,” the 21-year-old said. “This year she has stepped into her own artistry, sharing a message of self-expression and self-love. I’m so so so proud of her, I love you sis.”
Chloe has an equal reason to be proud of her little sister as well. Halle will make her big-screen debut in Disney’s live-action of The Little Mermaid in 2023.