So, you want to be Black, huh? Shocker.
The Black community has always been the blueprint for colonizers to do what they do best, steal and try to mimic the style and mannerisms of Black people in hopes of creating a persona deemed “cool” or “popular.” From the array of hair colors that only we can properly rock, our nails, and jewelry, our slang, and our fashion; the whites have been trying to copy our style since the beginning of time — and have been failing miserably.
What’s not surprising is that they keep trying to find new methods to successfully become Black — minus the struggle aspect of course. I introduce you to “blackfishing.” The newest popular way of white social media influencers altering the way they look to appear Black. Not to be mistaken for blackface, which was primarily used to ridicule and mock Black people, blackfishing isn’t doing that, but it is still wrong.
Danielle Bregoli, more famously known as “Bhad Bhabie”, is the most recent celebrity to be accused of blackfishing. On April 6th, the 17-year-old rapper uploaded a video to her Instagram account showcasing her sporting a noticeably darker foundation color and a black lace wig. She’s mostly known for her disgusting and disrespectful behavior on the television show Dr. Phil when she was merely 13-years-old. There, she could be found saying the foulest things to both the host and her mother with clearly no remorse. Fast forward four years and she’s still here being her controversial self. (I blame y’all for hyping that video up).
Immediately upon posting the video in question, she’s been called out for trying to emulate the Black culture due to her new appearance. This, of course, was met with immediate push back and she quickly took to her Instagram Live to address the slander. Aside from her new look, some of the slander was calling her out for the way she behaves and deeming that “Black.”
I will say this, what we need to stop doing as Black people are feeding into the stereotypes placed upon us and generalizing what Blackness looks like overall. There are too many layers of Blackness to just pinpoint one particular way as the only option.
The way she’s behaving is ghetto. That’s it. But for the sake of the topic, we’re just going to merely talk about the physicality of it all.
On her Instagram Live, she can be found constantly reciting the words, “who wants to be Black?” with genuine confusion as if it isn’t already apparent. She isn’t the first celebrity to be called out for mimicking Black culture. The Kardashian empire built their entire brand off of doing the same thing she is. The plastic surgery to accentuate parts of their body to appear more voluptuous, like a Black woman. Instilling lip fillers to plump up, or in some people’s cases, create a feature that never really existed before. The array of wigs and weaves in rotation that they never would’ve worn before if it wasn’t for Black women. Taking all of that to then market those same strategies back to the community they took it from in the first place.
Essentially, these white women are profiting off presenting themselves as racially ambiguous when they obviously are not.
Another IG model, Emma Hallberg, can clearly be seen on her page rocking a deep tan, teasing her naturally straight hair to achieve struggle curls, all to come off as mixed race. Whether these girls genuinely have identity issues, which I doubt, it speaks a lot to just how influential the Black community is. That average white girls are ditching their natural standard of beauty to come off as something they aren’t for monetary advances and social gain.
Blackfishing isn’t just prone to your everyday Instagram model and the Kardashians. Plenty of A-List celebrities have been called out for their culture appropriating ways. Ariana Grande got backlash after people noticed she visibly gets darker and darker at each red carpet appearance. Selena Gomez posed for the cover of Interview Magazine with the most atrocious baby hairs, a look she’s never tried to pull off before. Even Justin Beiber had his little “Black Phase” as some would call it.
What we do know for sure is, everyone wants to be Black until it’s actually time to be Black. They want the aesthetic but can’t handle the very real pain, trauma, and discrimination that we face on a regular basis.
Where’s your unnerving passion for this look that you so badly want to achieve?
Y’all can’t even do it right.
Aaliyah Fisher is a staff writer for The Paradigm Press. For more information regarding this or other stories, email firstname.lastname@example.org.