One Night Only in London with FLO

FLO, The 20-something-year-old group is composed of Reneé Downer, Stella Quaresma and Jorja Douglas, who have been deemed as the “ultra-hyped new girl band” by The Guardian, producing what is described as “dreamy music” by Dazed Digital with their music producer MNEK. Whilst that is true, there is more to them; I believe they are the future of Black women’s empowerment.

FLO, the band

I remember waking up in the early hours of my 20th birthday to secure three pre-sale tickets to see Flo for my friends and me for their first-ever show for their headlining tour. Little did I know that this would be one of the best shows I ever attended.

I had heard of the up-and-coming girl band through a slight murmur on various social media platforms, mainly Twitter. Still, my initial introduction was through a music video of their single called Cardboard Box on TikTok. I was immediately hooked on the song and began my search on Spotify, sprouting my love for them. As I listened to their discography, they had something unique and something different about them that I had yet to see many artists do.

So then, the more I listened to them, the more I realised they had brought back a TLC/Destiny Child’s-esque feel into the music scene. An old school, R&B, soul, timeless type of music that my generation yearned for, giving me all the more reason to be excited to go to their first-ever show, with the unity of three Black women from the UK.


As moments drew closer until they came on stage, it was a literal “Lights. Camera. Action!” moment with lights flashing to energise the audience, cameras recording to capture the first few moments of their one-night-only show in London, and then the show began as they strutted onto the stage.

Flo began to sing one of their most recent singles called ‘Not My Job’- a song that Clash Magazine has described as an “impeccable pop-laced R&B re-tooling Millennial tropes for a 2k22 vantage point”. A strong sense of cultural effervescence was rife; the crowd was deafening and invoked some deep emotions that everyone at the venue felt.

The song urges self-realisation and not to accommodate yourself as well as your needs for the benefit of other people (mainly men); as the song says, “It’s not my job to make you feel comfortable … it’s not my job to make you feel like the man.” A genuinely feminist anthem, empowering song to be selfish and to prioritise yourself.

Next were two songs from their EP ‘The Lead’ called Immature and Another Guy, in which they deplore their irritation with indecisive, (ironically) immature and emotionally unavailable men. I see these songs as songs that demand equality and balance in romantic relationships and, more importantly, standing up for yourself when a relationship is one-sided.

Immature pushes for people in a relationship to realise that to love someone shouldn’t be a chore, and you need to walk the walk if you want something. Whilst Another Guy vocalises their discernment in relationships where you hope someone would better themselves, you have wasted your time because you were taken for granted.

You build the courage to leave because they aren’t mister right. To hear this song live, with choreography, showed the talent of these young Black women to write songs that are vulnerable to their young audience to know their worth and what they deserve.  

As the previous songs ended, up next was Feature Me. I personally think of sultry, sensual and seductive when I listen to it. With lyrics like “He’s my forbidden fruit”, “He’s got me actin’ like I’m some kind of animal”, and “Arch my back like it’s supposed to be”, of course, this had the crowd feeling confident, animalistic and sexy.

This song had some of the crowd swaying their hips, grooving to the rhythm of it, whilst some were mesmerised by Flo’s dancing. All in all, this song exhibits nothing but sexiness and sensuality. The Intersectional Feminist woman in me could not help but see that three Black women owned their sexuality and confidence, all against the notion of Black people being subjected to hyper-sexuality in the media.

To me, I saw their performance as a slap in the face to these remarks, and Flo allowed Black people to have fun and embrace themselves even if this wasn’t their intention.


After a few songs, Summertime played, which is not only a summer anthem but a song about enjoying and understanding the importance of friendships. It is evident that Downer, Quaresma and Douglas have a friendship, but their friendship transcends into sisterhood, which is prominent in the Black community.

I often think of Treva Lindsey’s work on how ‘Beyonce’s Lemonade Isn’t Just About Cheating, It’s About Sisterhoodand how sisterhood “interweaves the intimate experiences of black women with the political experiences of black women (the fact that our sons and our daughters are getting killed)” as well as how it “compels viewers to witness the beauty and dynamism of the multigenerational spaces black women create and inhabit, spaces where #BlackGirlMagic thrives”.

But I think more of  Amanda Mitchell’s article for COSMOPOLITAN, where she draws on her own experiences of being Black but also Black sisterhood and learns that “sisterhood means going hard for your people and that “sisters” aren’t just a group of Black girlfriends nor are they defined by gender.”

This is the embodiment of Flo: it’s who they are, what they do and what they represent. We saw this sisterhood with TLC, with Destiny’s Child, and now with our very own Flo. The importance of Black sisterhood will always be needed in a world that does not value or appreciate them. 

I say this because:

  • London School of Economics reports that “UK-born Black women are the most under-represented in the top percentile of incomes, as compared to all other women and men” and quantify this by showing that whilst women are underrepresented overall, Black women only make up less than 1% of top earners with the University of Manchester saying that Black women “face an almost impenetrable ‘concrete ceiling.’ because of misogynoir; an intersection of racism and sexism. 
  • A House of Commons Committee reports, “Black women were 3.7 times more likely to die than White women, and Asian women were 1.8 times more likely to die than White women.”
  • King’s College London says that in a study of South London patients, “Black women have the most long-term health conditions of any ethnic group” and “t compared to other ethnic groups experiencing multimorbidities, Black women have the highest disadvantage.”

This is the dystopian reality that Black women live with. So to have a new group of young, tenacious Black women that can induce a specific type of cultural enthusiasm in a small venue of 2000 and can empower their audience too, which is to say they won’t change the world as they have with the music scene. 

Flo are game changers, creating a positive and welcoming environment for their Black fans, and I could sense it at their One Night Only show in London.