The Thought Leaders Issue: Mariah Carey

The singer talks identity politics, Black Lives Matter, and health care access.

This article appears in V127’s Thought Leaders Issue, available for pre-order now.

“Voting is so important because it is one way to show up for ourselves and our communities. It’s an opportunity for us to honor our ancestors—those that were unable to vote because of racism and sexism—and elect people that we can hold accountable. I am so proud of the young people organizing, particularly Black people, who are leading this movement. Everything feels so hopeless, but when I see the organizing power and the people who are leading this movement, I am hopeful because this is the future of our world.

“One of the very reasons I wrote my memoir was to ‘emancipate’ my racial identity—it has been a source of misunderstanding and near-debilitating pain. There was no ‘one way’ to talk about it. It’s very complex. It’s not just about Black and white—which isn’t ever just Black and white. For me, it’s also been about class and abandonment. Identity politics are so personal and so pervasive—it’s not just what you look like, it’s about how you’re able to—or unable to—move through the world. I grew up as an outsider, and yet there are so many people who are still looking for a space that will accept and honor them as they are. The amplification of the racial justice movement, with support from a mosaic of backgrounds and identities, has been long overdue.

Mariah wears top MICHAEL Michael Kors, earrings Cartier

“We’ve been socialized to believe that poverty is a personal failure rather than our systems failing us. My upbringing was unconventional, to say the least. We had little structure and little money, and little social support to feel grounded. There are times I cannot believe I was a little girl who lived in shacks, who always felt unsafe, under-cared for, lonely, and perpetually scared. There is a villainization of those who have unmet needs, whether that is access to health care (including mental health care), financial aid, affordable housing, let alone the opportunity to laugh and find joy beyond work.

“In 2016, almost half of eligible voters didn’t vote. Each day since that election, we have lived with the consequences of that inaction. We need leadership that is ready to step up. We have to fight for each other and our shared futures.”


Discover More