It had been a banner year for Chloe and Halle Bailey, better known as the musical sister duo Chloe x Halle. The pair have come a long way from the YouTube cover videos they used to share as kids. After performing on tour with Beyoncé in 2018 and receiving two Grammy nominations, they sang at the 2019 Super Bowl, co-starred in ABC’s Grown-ish and landed upcoming movie roles.
And they were all set to release their sophomore album, Ungodly Hour, at the beginning of June. But as protests calling for racial justice and an end to police brutality erupted nationwide in response to the unjust police killing of George Floyd, they decided to delay their big sophomore release.
“It wasn’t right; we didn’t want the attention on us. We wanted to shine a light on what matters the most to us at this time,” Chloe Bailey explained during a TIME 100 Talks discussion. “These past two weeks have been very overwhelming; we’ve been hurting, we’ve been in pain. But we’re also very hopeful, because our peers are raising our voices and we’re letting ourselves be heard and not backing down and taking no for an answer. The injustices have been going on for a very, very long time, but I’m happy now the entire world is paying attention.”
The Baileys have been mentored along the way by Beyoncé, an icon who signed them as young teens and has continued to be an inspiration because of “how hard she works, how powerful she is, and how confident she is in her worth and her self,” as Halle explained. “It’s a reminder: I have the power in me, you have the power in you, we can do that too.”
Recently, they performed their new single “Do It” for YouTube’s “Dear Class of 2020” virtual commencement livestream, on which Beyoncé also delivered an empowering speech. “Everyone is born with a gift,” Chloe said. “My sister and mine is music, and to help inspire others to be more comfortable being themselves and to reach their highest potential.”
As for how quarantine has treated the sisters, they’ve been spending a lot of time home with their family and younger brother, bingeing reality TV shows, soaking up the sun — and turning to music as their emotional outlet.
“That’s immediately what we run to. So during these past few weeks, of course, that has been the number one thing,” Halle said. Besides the new album, Chloe and Halle also recently shared a set of covers of recognizable songs, or “songs of perseverance,” as Halle put it. “We think it’s beautiful that people are using their voices to speak out and stand up for what they believe in. And we want to be a part of that as well,” she added.
They also noted the importance of self-care when it’s needed. “It’s O.K. to take breaks from social media. Especially for our Black brothers and sisters: it’s traumatizing, some of the videos that you see. It’s O.K. to just step away, meditate, have prayer, turn to music, turn to healing, turn to some art form that brings you peace,” Halle said. For the sisters, of course, that is their work, too. “We truly believe music is a healer, and we hope that’s what our album can do for anyone who’s still feeling icky inside, and upset, and angry. For the 45 minutes that the album is, we hope our album can be a release, in a way,” Chloe said.
This article is part of #TIME100Talks: Finding Hope, a special series featuring leaders across different fields encouraging action toward a better world. Want more? Sign up for access to more virtual events, including live conversations with influential newsmakers.