Nearly every industry has been tremendously impacted by the pandemic, and sex work is no exception. Since the onset of the coronavirus, sex workers around the world have seen nearly all their avenues of income disappear in a matter of months. Now, one prominent musician, FKA twigs, is stepping up to raise money for this vulnerable and all-too-often villainized community.
The R&B singer announced the launching of a GoFundMe campaign on Instagram on Tuesday, as Jezebel points out. She also explained her connection to the sex work industry, noting how she learned her first pole dancing move from a stripper.
“i was 19 when i learnt my first pole move, i learnt a back hook spin from a stripper when i was working as a hostess in a gentleman’s club,” the MAGDALENE artist wrote. “for those of you who don’t know, hostessing is when one person pays another person for their time, anything from a conversation over dinner to sex work, and the club gets a cut of the fee.”
“my lived experience as a very young woman in these environments has not only informed the strong and formidable woman that i am today,” she continued. “but also a lot of my work as a music and visual artist – sometimes even subconsciously.” (If you’ll recall, FKA twigs has incorporated pole dancing moves in her own live performances and music videos, such as “Cellophane”. )
Because of this, FKA twigs said it feels like “now is the time for me to step forward, pay respect, and shine a light on the challenges facing sex workers, especially during these uncertain times.” She added, “sex workers I know and have met have discipline, craft, talent and work ethic – not only do they deserve better long-term, but their income has been wiped out by the lockdown and many are invisible to the financial aid available to others.”
The GoFundMe benefits US sex worker collective and mutual aid fund Lysistrata, the SWARM sex worker collective in the UK, and the East London Strippers Collective. FKA twigs herself is contributing £10,000 ($13,000) to kick off the fundraiser, and she hopes to bring in a total of £30,000 ($40,000). As of today, the campaign has almost £15,000 ($19,000).
Additionally, FKA twigs will hand over her social media accounts to these three collectives in order to further elevate their platforms.
Find FKA twigs’ full statement below.