No Bra? Not Your Business: Singer Tanérelle Claps Back at Breast-Shamers

Tanerélle attends the 2019 BET Awards on June 23, 2019 in Los Angeles, California.
Photo: Aaron J. Thornton (Getty Images for BET)

Singer-songwriter Tanérelle would like you to know that her breasts—and how they hang—are none of your business, thankyouverymuch.

The musical artist joined fellow entertainers on the BET Awards blue carpet on Sunday, wearing a block-printed, open-backed, low-cut dress by Batani Khalfani that displayed her cleavage with no assistance from underwires or artificial lifting. It was a look that showed off her natural beauty, but when she proudly posted to social media, more than a few commenters felt the need to weigh in on whether she needed foundation garments to pull off the look.

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But as Tanérelle clarified on Instagram, her au naturel look was not only deliberate; it wasn’t anyone’s damned business but her own.

According to some I missed a critical step yesterday when getting ready. What they don’t know is I literally had a fat ass piece of tape stuck from the bottom of my left boob to the top of my shoulder, looked at it & made a conscious decision to take it off because I actually loved the way my natural breasts looked in comparison to the “perfect” option....last time I checked what I thought about how I look was all that mattered, so I’m gonna keep going with that cause it’d be fucking impossible to please EVERYONE when it comes to ME. I can’t be everyone’s favorite and I don’t wanna be, but as long as I’m able to go home and feel yummy about myself, especially from the self hate that I’ve spent my life growing out of...I’m fucking GOOD. What I do care about is noticing that so many women are still stuck in a daze of self hate, people pleasing and projecting how you feel about you in an attempt to make someone feel the same. What I care about is that there are women out there still allowing the male gaze to determine their worth and what they can and can’t do. This reminder of socialized minds in regards to a woman’s body always rocks me a bit, but it’s not gonna knock me down. It just intensifies my mission of pushing self care and self love even more. You owe it to yourself to at least try to embrace the parts of you you don’t like because someone else said you shouldn’t. Your body, no matter what it looks like is doing all it can everyday to keep you alive and thriving, that to me deserves all the fucking love and care I can give, so I’m gonna. Cheers to the tits!!! small tits, big tits, fake tits, no tits, all tits! And cheers to being a fucking woman. InWomenWeTrust

As someone whose (well over a D-cup) breasts haven’t pointed toward the sky in over a decade, I applaud Tanérelle’s stance—and her bravery, since comfort hasn’t allowed me to go braless since the early aughts, let alone the inevitable and aforementioned male gaze (I just don’t want to be bothered, tbh). But despite the endless fascination and sexualization of them, breasts are ultimately like hair; how you wear them is up to you. And yes, I say that understanding that some hairstyles naturally get more attention than others; that does not, however, make them fodder for public criticism or debate.

As Tanérelle writes, “focus on better things.” Because my eyes are (still) up here.

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About the author

Maiysha Kai

Maiysha Kai is Managing Editor of The Glow Up and your average Grammy-nominated goddess next door. Minneapolis born, Chicago bred, New York built. Nuance is her superpower.