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Saweetie Reflects On The Early Days Of Her Career After Facing Difficulties: ‘I Miss College Saweetie’

The life of an entertainer isn't as glamorous as it seems.

Saweetie

As the saying goes, “the grass isn’t always greener,” which is something Saweetie is finding out now as she continues to reach new heights in her career. The Bay Area rapper recently announced her partnership with Champion as a global cultural consultant and she is nominated for her first Grammy for her hit song “Best Friend” featuring Doja Cat.


But she wants fans to know that the life of an entertainer is not as glamorous as everyone thinks. Saweetie talked openly about challenges she’s faced and more on the PEOPLE Every Day podcast. “I just feel like as artists, you know, we have it tough. I feel like we have all the spotlight on us and people think that it's glamorous when in all actuality there are a lot of difficult things that happen behind the scenes,” she said.

She continued, “Hopefully you have a great team. Hopefully, the creatives that you're working with, aren't overcharging you ... It's like everyone who's around: You have to pay for this. You have to pay [for that] …”

It appears that the Grammy-nominated artist does have a great team behind her. She’s been able to secure several brand deals from MAC to Crocs and even hosted a show on Netflix. And she arguably has some of the best content on social media, but even with all the creative projects she has been a part of, she admitted that it doesn’t feel as authentic as it did when she was first trying her hand at a rap career.

“I miss college Saweetie, and me meeting other creatives,” she said. “I just wanted to make something else. Now everyone wants to charge for every second and it kind of just takes the art out of it.”

Reflecting on college Saweetie, she shared advice that she would give her knowing what she knows now.

“Take your time. And don't [jump] at the first opportunity," she said. “I felt like those tough lessons definitely made me a wiser woman, but I think I would've just taken my time ... Who [you] surround yourself really, really affects the trajectory of your career.”

As of late, Saweetie has been vocal about her struggles with mental health and being overworked. In December, she cut off all of her hair as a way to “start fresh” and she even began meditating and praising its positive effects. In a February 2022 interview with Power 106, she explained, "I wanted to start over and I did research about hair and hair holds a lot of energy. And I really wanted to just feel new and fresh with this new music. I won’t say new me. But elevated me. I really just wanted to start over again."

Here are other things the rapper has said about mental health and how she is navigating it all.

On Being Overworked and Finding Balance

"It's like I live, sleep, eat and breathe music and business. My team is really small, so I have to take on responsibilities that eventually somebody else will, but because my team is small, I have to help them out."

"It's just trying to find balance right now. I have no balance. Everything is just work, work, work and I don't have an outlet. I don't have a therapist. I don't hang out with any of my friends because I work so much, so it's just trying to thug it out into until the New Year."

"Balance needs to happen. I feel like I'm being run down to the ground right now and my body doesn't feel good. I've had mental breakdowns and it's just really stressful, but it's nice to be acknowledged because it lets me know that my hard work isn't going unnoticed," she said via PEOPLE.

On Meditating

"I'm just saying the peace you get, the clarity you get, it's really important for everyone to meditate. And I think the reason why I was so discouraged at first, I--- because I'm thinking that you have to be in a cream[-colored] room, like yoga-ish. But I meditate everywhere," she said via PEOPLE.

On What Self-Love Looks Like to Her

“Self-love is being conscious of self and making sure that you’re taking care of yourself. It’s almost as if it’s a high maintenance requirement to take care of yourself spiritually, physically, mentally. It’s about being conscious of all of the things that you intake, think and say. When you love yourself, you don’t want to pollute your mind, body, soul, and spirit and you protect yourself from the things that pollute the important things," she said via LADYGUNN.

On Her Definition of the "Elevated Saweetie"

“She meditates, she’s centered, she has clarity, she knows what she wants, she puts her foot down. I feel like before I discovered meditation, everything was, ‘Yes yes yes, I’ll do it.’

"No matter how bad my body felt, if the opportunity was great, I just said yes and I kept running down my mental, my spiritual, my physical. But how am I gonna continue to work if I’m depleted?" she continued via Power 106.

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Featured image by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images

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When I was ten, my Sunday school teacher put on a brief performance in class that included some of the boys standing in front of the classroom while she stood in front of them holding a heart shaped box of chocolate. One by one, she tells each boy to come and bite a piece of candy and then place the remainder back into the box. After the last boy, she gave the box of now mangled chocolate over to the other Sunday school teacher — who happened to be her real husband — who made a comically puzzled face. She told us that the lesson to be gleaned from this was that if you give your heart away to too many people, once you find “the one,” that your heart would be too damaged. The lesson wasn’t explicitly about sex but the implication was clearly present.

That memory came back to me after a flier went viral last week, advertising an abstinence event titled The Close Your Legs Tour with the specific target demo of teen girls came across my Twitter timeline. The event was met with derision online. Writer, artist, and professor Ashon Crawley said: “We have to refuse shame. it is not yours to hold. legs open or not.” Writer and theologian Candice Marie Benbow said on her Twitter: “Any event where 12-17-year-old girls are being told to ‘keep their legs closed’ is a space where purity culture is being reinforced.”

“Purity culture,” as Benbow referenced, is a culture that teaches primarily girls and women that their value is to be found in their ability to stay chaste and “pure”–as in, non-sexual–for both God and their future husbands.

I grew up in an explicitly evangelical house and church, where I was taught virginity was the best gift a girl can hold on to until she got married. I fortunately never wore a purity ring or had a ceremony where I promised my father I wouldn’t have pre-marital sex. I certainly never even thought of having my hymen examined and the certificate handed over to my father on my wedding day as “proof” that I kept my promise. But the culture was always present. A few years after that chocolate-flavored indoctrination, I was introduced to the fabled car anecdote. “Boys don’t like girls who have been test-driven,” as it goes.

And I believed it for a long time. That to be loved and to be desired by men, it was only right for me to deny myself my own basic human desires, in the hopes of one day meeting a man that would fill all of my fantasies — romantically and sexually. Even if it meant denying my queerness, or even if it meant ignoring how being the only Black and fat girl in a predominantly white Christian space often had me watch all the white girls have their first boyfriends while I didn’t. Something they don’t tell you about purity culture – and that it took me years to learn and unlearn myself – is that there are bodies that are deemed inherently sinful and vulgar. That purity is about the desire to see girls and women shrink themselves, make themselves meek for men.

Purity culture isn’t unlike rape culture which tells young girls in so many ways that their worth can only be found through their bodies. Whether it be through promiscuity or chastity, young girls are instructed on what to do with their bodies before they’ve had time to figure themselves out, separate from a patriarchal lens. That their needs are secondary to that of the men and boys in their lives.

It took me a while —after leaving the church and unlearning the toxic ideals around purity culture rooted in anti-Blackness, fatphobia, heteropatriarchy, and queerphobia — to embrace my body, my sexuality, and my queerness as something that was not only not sinful or dirty, but actually in line with the vision God has over my life. Our bodies don't stop being our temples depending on who we do or who we don’t let in, and our worth isn’t dependent on the width of our legs at any given point.

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TW: This article may contain mentions of suicide and self-harm.

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