By Terrance Turner
June 26, 2022
Tonight, singer and actress Chloe Bailey steamed up the BET Awards with a sultry medley of her singles “Surprise” and “Treat Me”. In a revealing leather black ensemble, Chloe opened with a version of “Surprise” in which she mounted a muscular, blindfolded man seated in a chair. “If you be good to me, then I’mma be great to you. If you stay down for me, then I’ll stay awake for you,” she sang. “Surprise! Slip my panties to the side.”
Then she segued into her (frankly incredible) song “Treat Me”. Released in April, the song garnered immediate attention not only for Chloe’s deft, dulcet-toned vocal but also for the in-your-face lyrics. “You know you’ll go broke tryna handle me/Take it from someone who know how to handle me/I’mma need that real grown kinda energy,” she sings.
In the song, Chloe demands respect (and satisfaction) from a potential lover: “Treat me like I treat me: exceptional. Anything less is unacceptable,” she insists. “Don’t get me wrong, I’m flexible/But only in all the ways my legs can go.”
“Confessional/I’m skeptical/’Cause being on my level is difficult/You better wake up and put me on a pedestal,” she states emphatically on one verse. Then, on the pre-chorus, she ups the ante, explaining exactly what she wants from the relationship:
Do it every night
Show me a good time
You can do, I let you (try try, try, try, try)
This right here your chance
Learn it from the best
Here’s what you gotta do…
“Treat me like I treat me.” The chorus bursts forward with a sped-up sample of rapper Bubba Sparxxx’s “Ms. New Booty” as Chloe floats above the melody in her upper register. “Treat me. Love me how I love me — completely and deeply,” she sings, in what is a very personal statement for the singer. Bailey co-wrote the song in the midst of a breakup.
“I was getting out of a relationship, and I was just really feeling like I shouldn’t have to tell someone what I need,” she said on the PEOPLE Every Day podcast. “It’s time for me to just give myself the love that I’m looking for. So that’s really where the inspiration behind [the song] came from.”
It’s hard for me to speak up sometimes, and I’m really trying to learn how to do that without hesitation,” she admitted. “It’s important for us to not put ourselves on the backburner, or let someone treat us any old way…We all deserve the best.”
Bailey conveyed that sentiment with a provocative video. Directed by filmmaker Diana Kunst, it features a team of backup dancers and a slew of steamy scenarios. Clad in a black metallic leather outfit, Bailey opens the video with a leopard (!) by her side, in black-and-white shots vaguely reminiscent of mentor Beyonce’s “Single Ladies” music video. But there are also some sultry shots of her in a pool filled with honey, against a deep red background.
The setting reverts to black-and-white during the chorus, when Bailey and her dancers execute some intense choreography. But in the end — wearing only a thong and a giant black coat that evokes Missy Elliott’s “Supa Dupa Fly” — she showcases her incredible voice. In a nearly a cappella coda, she layers the vocals so that she’s harmonizing with herself, decorating the now-sparse track with some spectacular vocal runs.