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Chloe And Halle Bailey Are More Than 'Alright'

<em>A Wrinkle in Time </em>director Ava DuVernay approached Chloe and Halle to write "Warrior," a song they say they hope will inspire young black girls.
Robin Harper
Courtesy of the artist
A Wrinkle in Time director Ava DuVernay approached Chloe and Halle to write "Warrior," a song they say they hope will inspire young black girls.

It's a cliché, but it's true: Adults are always complaining about the next generation. Chloe and Halle Bailey have something to say about that.

The 18- and 19-year-old sisters have been singing together since they were little. In 2013, they caught Queen Bey's attention after they uploaded their YouTube cover of Beyoncé's "Pretty Hurts." Now the sisters are signed to Beyoncé's label, Parkwood Entertainment.

As Chloe x Halle, they released their debut album The Kids Are Alright in March. They also star in the Freeform show Grown-ish —for which they wrote the theme song, "Grown" — as college-aged sisters Jazlyn and Skyler, and were approached by Ava DuVernay to contribute "Warrior" for the A Wrinkle in Timesoundtrack.

On top of the world before they even complete two decades around the sun, Chloe and Halle spoke to NPR's Michel Martin about growing up singing and being role models for young black women.

Interview Highlights

On writing The Kids Are Alright 's title track

Halle Bailey:We were in our living room. My sister started playing these amazing chords and we sat with those melodies for a few days until the lyrics came to us. It was basically the message that we wanted to portray to the kids of today, to remind us all that no matter what is happening right now in the world, we're gonna be alright. Because for the youth, especially, it feels like there's the weight of the world on our shoulders right now; are we going to be okay with the future and what's to come?

On singing together for the first time as kids

Chloe Bailey: I was 7 and my sister was 5. We were singing "Summertime" at our talent show at Spelman College summer camp, and we actually won the talent show! When we saw our names under first place, I still remember seeing it in my mind. I remember being like, "Wow, people actually like us singing together. We could really do this."

On singing YouTube covers and being discovered by Beyoncé

Halle:We always sang around Atlanta and did these shows and club appearances — these little girls in these sundresses [ laughs]. And some people would tell us, "Oh, maybe you [should] also do YouTube covers?" We never took that too seriously because we heard of the rare stories where people would get discovered off of YouTube, and we were like, "Oh yeah, sure, OK"; we never thought that one day it would actually be us. And when we first posted our cover to "Best Thing I Never Had" by Beyoncé, we were just singing for fun.

Chloe:I remember we taped it and we asked mom and dad if we could post it. Next thing you know, all of these views came in and we were like, "Wow, what's going on? How is this happening?" And we just kind of kept that going. And then the Queen Bey came knocking.

On starring in Grown-ish and speaking up for young black women

Chloe: We have a laser focus on our dreams right now, and so we're not really worried about the validation from men or young boys. I think that's something that is really special, when you can love yourself. I was just grateful that we were given these roles, Jazlyn and Skyler, to portray what a lot of young black women go through all over the world. Sometimes it even expands from dating: with career jobs, and sometimes based on how your name is pronounced or the way your hair looks and what's acceptable in today's society.

Halle: It always amazes us when young black girls and all of these people come up to us and say, "That episode of Grown-ish really spoke to me. I felt like I was you guys. I've been through that when I'm in college and I don't see the majority who looks like me and I'm really not getting hit on or talked to and I see all of my friends getting all of this play." It is really inspiring when we hear that because that's so cool that we could be portraying this and doing our jobs and realizing that, hey, as long as I'm confident, I'm going to be great, no matter what.

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Corrected: May 6, 2018 at 10:00 PM MDT
A previous version of this story stated that the Chloe and Halle's cover of "Best Thing I Never Had" caught Beyoncé 's attention. The cover was to the song "Pretty Hurts."
Michel Martin is the weekend host of All Things Considered, where she draws on her deep reporting and interviewing experience to dig in to the week's news. Outside the studio, she has also hosted "Michel Martin: Going There," an ambitious live event series in collaboration with Member Stations.