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Singer Tinashe says her feature in the swimsuit issue of Sports Illustrated made history for two reasons:
Not only is she the first-ever independent artist to feature in the magazine, but she is also the first-ever swimsuit model to rock braids in the magazine.
“I feel like I manifested this because I’ve wanted to be in the swim edition since I was a teenager !! Thank you @sportsillustrated ❤️🔥 pretty cool to be the first independent music artist in the magazine and also the first woman with braids 😍” she captioned the stunning pics of her gold bikini shoot.
Tinashe went independent after major label, RCA, finally agreed to liberate her from her long-term contract.
“There’s obvious difficulties and hurdles and things that aren’t as easy to accomplish as before when you have a machine working on your behalf,” Tinashe told Indie Magazine. “They’re important things, but they’re less tangible for me as a creative person. The things that I’ve gained from this experience are freedom and confidence and inspiration and creative energy, and those things are really invaluable to someone like me. You lose out on budgets and marketing teams, and so, that can be difficult to navigate. But for me, what I gained through it all makes up for that difference.”
The new issue of Sports Illustrated was one of many firsts.
Megan Thee Stallion became the first rapper to appear on the cover. Leyna Bloom also made history as the magazine’s first-ever transgender cover girl.
“This moment heals a lot of pain in the world. We deserve this moment,” Bloom said on Instagram. “… Many girls like us don’t have the chance to live our dreams, or to live long at all. I hope my cover empowers those, who are struggling to be seen, feel valued.”
Bloom previously made history as the first trans woman of color on the cover of Vogue India and the first trans woman of color to star in a movie at the Cannes Film Festival — “Port Authority.”