MNEK on Grindr racism: ‘Change starts in the people’

Queer pop star MNEK doubted the impact of Grindr’s recent move to quash racism on its platform.

Following Grindr’s launch of Kindr, the singer told PinkNews: “It doesn’t change the fact that there are people out there who see black people or people of colour as accessories to their sexual fantasies, which is harmful to someone’s relationship with sex, or casual sex, or intimacy, because they just have this wall that has just been created by other people and their ignorance.

“The change starts in the people – the apps are going to be what the apps are. Grindr can do everything they can to help lessen the impact these things have but it does come from the people.”

Activist and model Munroe Bergdorf has recently been in talks with the platform to discuss ways the app could “become something positive and inclusive for the LGBTQ community in the future.”

Grindr has announced it release a Kindr version of the app, set to launch in September 2018 with the tag line: “It’s time to play nice.”

MNEK also spoke to PinkNews about being a queer pop star in a “heteronormative” music industry.

We face a lot of just criticism and people look at us with a different lens, just because it is something different, something they’re not used to,” he explained.

“They’re used to seeing quite heteronormative ideals from pop stars, male and female, and so when it’s someone who straddles the line or does something different, yeah, it can be looked at as wrong, which it isn’t, of course.”

He admitted to “even self-censoring” at times, by changing pronouns in songs after coming under pressure to match heteronormative ideals.

MNEK (PinkNews)

I know that I was probably self-censoring myself from using male pronouns and deciding to go for genderless songs to consciously trying to not reveal anything,” he said.

“Now I don’t care because all I can do is speak my truth and it will help someone else figure out their truth, which I think is important. The more it gets normalised the better.”

MNEK joined Russian band Sado Opera at Expression Uncensored, a panel discussion on censorship in the music industry, organised by Sonos’ Listen Better initiative.