The Nicki Minaj and Jesy Nelson Blackfishing controversy shows how Black culture is abused

Asia's Tech News Daily

Who has the power to define Black narratives? Too often, it’s non-Black celebrities who play with images of Blackness and then discard them.

When singer Jesy Nelson, originally a member of popular British girl group Little Mix, released her debut solo single “Boyz” last week, she did it with help from American star Nicki Minaj, who provides a guest rap verse for the song. Now Minaj is also aiding her defense against accusations that the music video shows Nelson engaging in Blackfishing.

Blackfishing and Blaccents are just the most recent incarnations of minstrel shows and the use of blackface — and inevitably, they leave Black people feeling inadequate.

Blackfishing — when non-Black individuals alter their appearance to try to appear more Black for profit, with that profit often coming from regurgitating stereotypes about Black people — is on display throughout the video. The production features colorful wigs and white individuals in dreads, gold teeth and hoop earrings, all in an attempt to replicate early 2000s hip-hop culture.

The costumes decorate Nelson’s generic, auto-tuned R&B track about loving the bad boys — the ones her mother distrusts, the ones with “them tattoos and them gold teeth” that make her “feel like a baddie.” In the video, Nelson, a Caucasian woman, has skin the same color as Minaj, a much darker tone than we’ve seen on her previously. (Nelson stated this came from tanning while on vacation.) The video features several other aesthetic choices associated with the Black community.

When the charges of Blackfishing erupted, Minaj jumped to back Nelson, stating that “singers tan a lot” and that’s “different than when someone comes out and pretends to be Black.” Nelson herself denied the allegations, stating simply that she was praising what she loves.

But the controversy around Nelson’s video spotlights a much larger issue than a mere difference of opinion. It’s a question: Who has the power to define Black narratives? Too often, it’s non-Black celebrities who play with images of Blackness until they no longer find them interesting, perpetuating negative stereotypes about Blackness along the way.

In the video, Nelson has chosen to display Black aesthetics in a vein that reinforces negative, time-worn beliefs. She loves the “bad boys,” the ones who are “so hood” and “a little taboo.” She herself wears a bandana around her head and chains around her neck. There’s no reason the video needs to use these styles to convey the theme of the song, but they’re the ones she chose to illustrate her picture of bad boys.

Kim Kardashian under fire for allegedly darker skin tone on magazine cover

Dec. 20, 201904:28

Just as troubling as the use of these stereotypes is the fact that the endless love of Black culture they are supposed to convey dries up when the performer using them becomes a bigger star. That, of course, undermines the claim that they were merely intended as tributes rather than exploitation, all while reinforcing that Black culture is less than — and disposable.

Think of Miley Cyrus. In 2013, the former Disney star was looking to rebrand. She released a hip-hop album, “Bangerz,” and called her style choices in that era “a dirty-South vibe, a little ATL.” “Bangerz” went platinum, but Cyrus then left the hip-hop scene, blaming racist stereotypes about rap music being too misogynistic and materialistic. After making money off the aesthetic of hip-hop culture, she essentially rejected an entire, complex genre for being uncivilized.

Or think of Awkwafina, rapper and actress in hit films such as the Marvel movie “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings.” She adopted a “Blaccent” (the use of African American vernacular speech) for comedy roles like the one she played in the hit 2018 movie “Crazy Rich Asians” — and then promptly dropped it for more serious performances, like her Golden Globe-winning turn in 2019’s “The Farewell.”

Or think of Gen Z pop star Olivia Rodrigo, whose Instagram lives using a Blaccent went viral just this summer. Fans quickly noted her accent was absent when meeting President Joe Biden to encourage younger audiences to get vaccinated.

Celebrities have long adopted traits of Blackness to seem funny and entertaining only to move on to something else when they want to be seen as “respectable.” Blackfishing and Blaccents are just the most recent incarnations of minstrel shows and the use of blackface — and inevitably, they leave Black people feeling inadequate. Black kids everywhere ask, “Why is the way my mother talks a joke? Why is the way my sister talks a voice you use to make your friends laugh?”

At the same time, Black people themselves are regularly penalized for their Blackness. In just one example, a study by economist Jeffrey Grogger found that “black workers who were perceived as sounding black” earn 12 percent less than “similarly qualified” white workers. This drop in pay was not present for black workers “whose race was not distinctly identifiable by their voice.”

For generations, Black activists have fought to have more positive representation in the media. Yet celebrities often choose to ignore the many, many critiques of their behavior. For example, pieces have long been written about Akwafina saying her Blaccent is offensive. When asked about it recently, she stated that she is “open to the conversation.” The issue is that the conversation has been had. Celebrities simply have the power and influence to ignore these critiques and prioritize their own comfort.

The question of Blackfishing and Blaccents is a question of power. Denouncing non-Black people’s use of them gives Black people more control over the narrative surrounding our culture. It’s a small sign of respect, and one that shouldn’t be so hard for the celebrities who claim to admire that culture to express.

Internet Explorer Channel Network
Asia's Tech News Daily
News Related

OTHER NEWS

How to use emoji as your Apple ID picture

How to use emoji as your Apple ID picture Using Memoji as your Apple ID profile image is fun and gives you an option to prevent your real face from ... Read more »

Jagran Explainer: 10 steps to take immediately and 5 things to avoid as world races against time to control Omicron

© Provided by Jagran English New Delhi | Jagran News Desk: The Omicron variant of COVID-19, identified as B.1.1.529, has sparked concerns across the world with countries rushing to reimpose ... Read more »

Incredible pictures show the London Underground tunnels where the Windrush arrivals lived

In 1948, an advert appeared in a Jamaican newspaper announcing that there were 300 places aboard the Empire Windrush for anyone who wanted to travel to Britain. All 300 places ... Read more »

'I'm a Kate Middleton lookalike and I travel the world with doubles of Prince William, the Queen and even Harry Potter'

Heidi Agan was working as a waitress in 2011, around the time of Prince William and Kate Middleton’s royal wedding, when the same thing started happening. Handing out drinks at ... Read more »

Life under the Heathrow flightpath from being woken up at 4.30am to being able hearing the birds sing in lockdown

Flights have started to pick up and a return to pre-pandemic levels is in sight. In some cases, there are many who are anxious. The reason for this anxiousness is ... Read more »

Erneut starker Capela kann Atlantas Niederlage nicht verhindern

© KEYSTONE/EPA/ERIK S. LESSER Nach sieben Siegen am Stück müssen die Atlanta Hawks das Parkett in der NBA wieder einmal als Verlierer verlassen. Trotz einem starken Clint Capela verlieren sie ... Read more »

Pius Suter trifft und siegt

© KEYSTONE/AP/Duane Burleson Pius Suter erzielt beim 3:2-Sieg der Detroit Red Wings zuhause gegen die Buffalo Sabres sein fünftes Saisontor in der NHL. Einen Abend zum Vergessen erleben Roman Josi ... Read more »

New Zealand politician cycles to hospital in labor, gives birth

New Zealand politician Julie Anne Genter rides a bicycle to the hospital while in labor in Wellington, New Zealand on Nov. 28, 2021. REUTERS MELBOURNE – New Zealand Member of ... Read more »

I'm a mum-of-eight & I have to use foodbanks to feed my kids… no one will give me a job they think I'm a scrounger

A MUM-of-eight has told how she is forced to use food banks to feed her kids after her benefits were cut. Marie Buchan, 39,  from Selly Oak, West Midlands, says ... Read more »

Schoolchildren as young as TWELVE could get Covid booster jab as UK launches fight against ‘horrific' Omicron variant

HEALTH chiefs are considering whether to give school kids as young as TWELVE another jab as fears about the Omicron variant grow. With two cases of the super strain confirmed ... Read more »

Harrison Spinks mattress Black Friday deals 2021: Save over 30% on the opal 7250 model

Rest easy with this great offer (iStock/The Independent) The Black Friday weekend is in full swing, with discounts on everything from iPhones and tech to beauty products, perfumes and more. ... Read more »

Best air fryer deals for Black Friday 2021: Ninja 9-in1 air fryer and Philips offers

Air fryers may very well be the modern day cult. If you’re friends with the owner of one, you’ll no doubt have heard them endlessly praise the virtues of their ... Read more »

'It's all lies'; migrants stuck at Polish border feel cheated by people smugglers

© Reuters/LUKASZ GLOWALA Volunteer of The Grupa Granica poses for a picture in Grodek By Yara Abi Nader and Joanna Plucinska ORLA/BIALYSTOK, Poland (Reuters) – Syrian friends Anas Kanaan, 34, ... Read more »

Kyrgyzstan holds parliamentary vote amid rising tensions

© Provided by Al Jazeera While polls show that Japarov’s government still enjoys popular support, critics say he is repeating the mistakes of predecessors [Vladimir Pirogov/Reuters] Kyrgyzstan is voting in ... Read more »

Australia detects first Covid Omicron infections

SYDNEY: Health officials in Australia said Sunday they had detected the Covid Omicron strain for the first time after testing two passengers from southern Africa who flew into Sydney. The ... Read more »

QC eyes 150K COVID-19 jabs in 3-day national vaccination drive

Quezon City Hall thumbnail The Quezon City  government is targeting to vaccinate around 150,000 residents during the three-day national vaccination drive “Bayanihan, Bakunahan” from November 29 to December 1. In ... Read more »

Toothless Juve fall to Atalanta at home, take huge hit in quest for top four

© Photo by Sportinfoto/DeFodi Images via Getty Images There will be a significant amount of people who say that it’s too early for me to say what I’m about to ... Read more »

Fruit galore: Thai monkey festival returns as tourists come back

1 / 5Fruit galore: Thai monkey festival returns as tourists come backAnnual Monkey Festival resumes in Thailand’s Lopburi province LOPBURI, Thailand (Reuters) – Watched by tourists and locals, thousands of ... Read more »

A man was found in an American Airlines landing gear compartment after the flight landed in Miami

© William Perugini/Shutterstock American Airlines Boeing 767 William Perugini/Shutterstock A man was taken to the hospital for evaluation after he was found a plane’s landing gear compartment. CBP officers apprehended ... Read more »

Thomas Wells death: Former X Factor and The Voice USA contestant dies in tragic workplace accident, aged 46

Thomas Wells death: Former X Factor and The Voice USA contestant dies in tragic workplace accident, aged 46 Thomas Wells, a former X Factor USA contestant, has died, aged 46. ... Read more »

Tripura civic polls: BJP sweeps 8 municipal bodies, leading in 6; TMC finishes second in Agartala Municipal Corporation

© Provided by Hindustan Times The counting of votes began at 8am on the day amid tight security measures provided by the Central Armed Police Forces (CAPF) and the state ... Read more »

Bangladesh police bust Pakistan-run fake Indian currency racket, Rs 73.5 million seized

© Provided by WION Acting on a tip-off, Dhaka Metropolitan Police (DMP) recovered fake Indian currency notes (FICN) valued at Rs 73.5 million from a house in Dhaka on Saturday. ... Read more »

News updates from HT: PM Modi pays tribute to armed forces on Mann Ki Baat and all the latest news

© Provided by Hindustan Times Prime Minister Narendra Modi. (File Photo) Here are today-’s top news, analysis and opinion. Know all about the latest news and other news updates from ... Read more »

23 arrested in connection with UPTET 2021 paper leak: Report

© Provided by Hindustan Times UPTET 2021 will be conducted again within a month, UP basic education minister Satish Chandra Dwivedi said.  (HT Photo) At least 23 people have been ... Read more »

Lockdown-like restrictions in Maharashtra? CM Uddhav Thackeray to take BIG decision as Omicron fears increase

© Provided by DNA Amid rising concerns over new COVID-19 variant ‘Omicron’, Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray is set to hold a COVID-19 review meeting with all Divisional Commissioners and ... Read more »

18 Killed, 5 Injured as Vehicle Hits Truck in Bengal's Nadia District; CM Banerjee, Governor Offers Condolences

© Priyanka | India.com News Desk The people were on their way to the Nabadeep crematorium to cremate someone from Bagda of North 24 Parganas. I offer my deepest condolences ... Read more »

Golf-Chan's par putt clinches win in first Asian Tour event of 2021

(Reuters) – Taiwan’s Chan Shih-chang rolled in a four-foot par putt on the final hole to win the $1 million Blue Canyon Phuket Championship on Sunday as the Asian Tour ... Read more »

Three players Ralf Rangnick could bring with him to Manchester United

Since it was announced that Ralf Rangnick would be taking over at Manchester United, there’s been a big focus on what he’ll do to improve the team. At the time ... Read more »

Behind Enemy Lines: Sevilla FC

© Photo by Angel Martinez/Getty Images Sevilla’s deeper squad The third season of Julen Lopetegui’s is going as strong as ever. They have finished comfortably in fourth place for two ... Read more »

Wisconsin's senators - a Democrat and a Republican - issue joint statement warning against politicizing the Waukesha tragedy

Community members mourn during a candle light vigil in Cutler Park after a car plowed through a holiday parade in Waukesha, Wisconsin, U.S., November 22, 2021.Cheney Orr/Reuters A man drove ... Read more »

Sens. Johnson, Baldwin condemn outside groups for trying to 'exploit' Waukesha tragedy

Wisconsin’s Democrat and Republican senators issued a joint statement Saturday warning of outside individuals or groups exploiting the Waukesha Christmas Parade attack for political gain and urged them not to ... Read more »

Ex-Trump adviser Steve Cortes is out of right-wing channel Newsmax for refusing to take vaccine, report says

Steve Cortes, the Newsmax host, is leaving the right-wing network after the organisation mandated Covid-19 vaccines for employees (Screengrab/YouTube/Fox Business) Donald Trump’s former campaign adviser Steve Cortes is reportedly leaving ... Read more »

Ravneet Gill's recipe for a Christmas baked alaska

A baked alaska feels really extravagant and full of effort. Truth is, though, it doesn’t have to be. A baked alaska is really adaptable to what you like, and can ... Read more »

Wisconsin senators ask outsiders not to exploit parade attack 'for their own political purposes'

Both senators from Wisconsin issued a joint statement on Saturday urging those considering exploiting the past weekend's deadly parade attack “for their own political purposes” to “cease and desist.” “It ... Read more »

Dasvi to OMG – Oh My God! 2, Yami has a promising line-up for films in 2022

© Provided by Mid-Day Yami Gautam, who tied the knot with Uri: The Surgical Strike director Aditya Dhar earlier this year, celebrates her 33rd birthday today. Unlike 2021, the coming ... Read more »

Alia Bhatt, Soni Razdan's birthday posts for Shaheen will make you go aww. See here

As Alia Bhatt’s sister Shaheen Bhatt turned a year older, the actress showered love upon her in a sweet birthday note. Mother Soni Razdan, on the other hand, penned a ... Read more »

Prabhas and Pooja Hegde`s first look from Love Anthem out

© Provided by Mid-Day Prabhas` pan-India magnum opus today unveiled yet another stunning poster and announced the teaser launch of their first Hindi song tomorrow. Having created a lot of ... Read more »

Comedian Munawar Faruqui on shows getting cancelled repeatedly: I'm done, I think this is the end

© Provided by Pinkvilla Comedian Munawar Faruqui has made headlines ever since he was arrested by the Indore police in January 2021 for jokes that “he was going to crack” ... Read more »

Baby elephant's cute peekaboo will make your Sunday brighter. Viral video

Videos showcasing any baby animals are a treat for one’s eyes. Many times, after a tiresome day, you probably find yourself scrolling through your social media accounts, looking for a ... Read more »

Laverne Cox confirms she's got a boyfriend who she 'met on Tinder'

© IANS laverne cox. Los Angeles, Nov 28 (IANS) ‘Orange is the New Black’ star Laverne Cox has confirmed she has a boyfriend whom she “met on Tinder”, as she ... Read more »
On free-english-test.com you will find lots of free English exam practice materials to help you improve your English skills: grammar, listening, reading, writing, ielts, toeic