- Moellyn Ramos Yetsko
Blackfishing: 'I want to be black, without actually being black'
Updated: Feb 24, 2022
"People have no respect for Black culture -- they think it's up for grabs and will take and participate in it and exploit it because it has been commodified"
Still have no clue what Blackfishing is? Basically, it's when someone who is not of Black culture is tanning or painting themselves, taking melanin pills, wearing hairstyles and clothing trends that have been pioneered by the Black community, using Black mannerisms, etc. to give the appearance that they're Black. It's when people want to be identified with the trending parts of Black culture without dealing with the real issues that come with being Black.
Are you, Keeping Up With The Kardashians, fans ready for me to kill your hype? The Kardashians are a prime example of Blackfishing in real life context. An Armenian family that has taken on physical characteristics Black people without actually being Black, and built fame and a career off of it. That's straight up stealing. Blackfishing is a lot more low key than cultural appropriation. It could be something as extreme as, surgery, to something as simple as, over-lining your lips.
You see the with getting products for that dark summer tan or getting a semi permanent lip filler? The problem is that this creates a dangerous paradox where we applaud Black beauty and culture but, only when popularized by White people. That's pretty fucked up if you ask me. Black people don't have the privilege to choose when they want to be Black. The Kardashian's cherry-pick the aspects that they find the most attractive from Black beauty without having to actual deal with any of the day-to-day inequalities that come with being a Black person. As the Kardashians thrive and are praised off of their resemblance to Blackness, the Black community is confronted with lack of opportunities, low income rates, less access to education, and the list goes on.
As a community, we have to do better. It's simple. Instead of showing our appreciation by taking from Black beauty and culture, let's share what makes the Black community so beautiful and inspiring by focusing the spotlight on them, not some knock off version, (no offense) .
Cover image courtesy of ("Iggy Azalea - Irving Plaza NYC" by Laura Murray is licensed under)