FKA twigs have launched a fundraiser for groups that offer direct financial support to strippers and sex workers. The artist, who once worked as a hostess in a gentleman’s club, described the Instagram initiative as “a time for me to step up, pay respect, and shine a light on the issues facing sex workers, particularly in these uncertain times.” The fundraiser ‘s announcement comes just days after sex workers raised the issue with the profession ‘s representation of the singer-songwriter.
On July 9, twigs released a short film, We Are the Womxn, shot at Atlanta’s historic Black strip club Blue Flame. The project collaged together clips from a night at the club, scenes of twigs pole dancing, and shots of the artist’s 2019 Afropunk set. At the time of its release, the video seemed to be a logical extension of twigs’ exploration of sexuality, often exemplified through pole dancing. Last year, the artist told Rolling Stone that her album MAGDALENE was a reclamation of the “Madonna-whore” complex.
A few weeks later on August 1, twigs teased the cover art for “Sum Bout U,” a track by 645AR that she is featured on. The visual seems to parody “cam girl” websites, often a lucrative avenue for sex workers. Soon after, social media users criticized the cover art as well as We Are the Womxn for using sex workers as props. A lengthy post by @prettyboygirl, a stripper, juxtaposes Kehlani‘s approach to featuring sex workers with that of twigs, noting that the former tagged all the women featured in her music video for “CAN I” while twigs appeared to delete critical comments from her Instagram posts.