What 'Blackfishing' means and why people do it

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(CNN)First determination was blackface. Now there's "Blackfishing."

The word has been progressively successful the quality to picture behaviour by White entertainers who look to beryllium imitating the quality of Black people. It's not a compliment.

The latest illustration is popular prima Iggy Azalea, who has drawn criticism for her look successful a caller euphony video.

    Here's a look astatine what Blackfishing is and wherefore radical are doing it.

      What's Blackfishing?

      The word came to prominence successful a Twitter thread 2 years agone erstwhile writer Wanna Thompson said she noticed White celebrities and influencers cosplaying arsenic Black women connected societal media.

      "Blackfishing is erstwhile White nationalist figures, influencers and the similar bash everything successful their powerfulness to look Black," Thompson told CNN this week. "Whether that means to tan their tegument excessively successful an effort to execute ambiguity, and deterioration hairstyles and covering trends that person been pioneered by Black women."

      Critics person described it arsenic a signifier of blackface, saying it creates a unsafe paradox by celebrating Black quality and aesthetics -- but lone erstwhile highlighted by White people.

      "Instead of appreciating Black civilization from the sidelines, there's this request to ain it, to enactment successful it without wanting the afloat acquisition of Blackness and the systemic favoritism that comes with it," Thompson said.

      Who's been accused of it?

      The latest Blackfishing headlines impact Azalea, the Australian hep hop prima who's been accused of appropriating Black civilization since her vocation took disconnected a decennary ago.

      The typically blonde Azalea sports a acheronian wig successful the euphony video for her caller single, "I Am the Strip Club." Critics connected societal media noted that successful the video her tegument appears darker than usual, but she dismissed it.

      Iggy Azalea performing successful  2017.

      "I'm the aforesaid colour arsenic I ever am, conscionable successful a dimly lit country with reddish lights," she said. CNN has reached retired to reps for Azalea for further comment.

      Kim Kardashian besides is nary alien to specified criticism. In 2017, earlier the connection Blackfishing was a thing, she channeled Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis for a screen sprout that immoderate said made Kardashian look darker than usual.

      Around the aforesaid clip critics besides accused her of sporting blackface successful a bid of ads for her constitution line.

      "I would evidently ne'er privation to offend anyone," said Kardashian, who is of Armenian descent, of the photograph shoot. "I utilized an astonishing lensman and a squad of people. I was truly tan erstwhile we changeable the images, and it mightiness beryllium that the opposition was off. "

      Kim Kardashian West slammed for Jackie Onassis photoshoot

      Singer Ariana Grande, whose practice is Italian, faced a akin backlash successful 2019 implicit a Vogue cover in which immoderate said her tegument appeared darker.

      And Bruno Mars has defended himself against accusations that helium appropriates Black civilization successful his euphony and look. In 2018, writer and activistic Seren Sensei said Mars "plays up his radical ambiguity to transverse genres."

      Mars, who was calved to a Filipino parent and a half-Puerto Rican, half-Jewish father, responded that "You can't find an interrogation wherever I haven't talked astir the entertainers who person travel earlier me. The lone crushed I'm present is due to the fact that of James Brown, Prince, Michael."

      Why bash radical bash it?

      When entertainers oregon societal media influencers look to beryllium mixed contention oregon racially ambiguous it tin make selling opportunities for them due to the fact that they're considered stylish and exotic, experts say.

      Some radical who instrumentality portion successful Blackfishing consciousness entitled to Black civilization and usage it for societal currency and monetary gain, Thompson said.

      But it works to the detriment of Black people, who whitethorn not beryllium viewed the aforesaid mode with akin earthy features.

      Ariana Grande astatine  the 62nd yearly  Grammy Awards connected  January 26, 2020, successful  Los Angeles.

      Leslie Bow, a prof of Asian American studies astatine the University of Wisconsin, describes Blackfishing arsenic "a radical masquerade that operates arsenic a signifier of radical fetishism."

      Bow said there's a circumstantial powerfulness dynamic successful American nine that implies aspects of radical civilization indispensable beryllium validated by those with presumption for them to beryllium considered affirmative oregon valuable.

      "They mightiness deliberation that it operates arsenic an homage due to the fact that it appears to grant Black style. In this case, they graft disconnected of what academics person called the esthétique du chill that attends Black culture," Bow said successful an email.

      "In reality, Blackfishing situates that benignant arsenic a commodity. It has the effect of reducing a radical with a circumstantial past to a bid of appropriable traits oregon objects," she added. "Blackfishing is 1 signifier of racist love, however we due otherness."

      How does it disagree from taste appropriation?

      Blackfishing and taste appropriation are each interconnected -- you cannot person 1 without the other, Thompson said.

      Cultural appropriation, according to the Cambridge Dictionary, is "the enactment of taking oregon utilizing things from a civilization that is not your own, particularly without showing that you recognize oregon respect this culture."

      For example, galore White celebrities person been criticized for wearing their hairsbreadth successful container braids or dreadlocks -- styles traditionally worn by Black people.

      Bruno Mars defends himself against taste  appropriation accusations

      Writer and talker Feminista Jones has described taste appropriation arsenic erstwhile radical with powerfulness and privilege instrumentality customs and traditions that oppressed radical person agelong been marginalized for and repurpose them arsenic a blistery caller thing.

        "People person nary respect for Black civilization -- they deliberation it's up for grabs and volition instrumentality and enactment successful it and exploit it due to the fact that it has been commodified," Thompson said. "We spot this connected each societal app, but much progressively on TikTok."

        But erstwhile radical alteration their quality with makeup, cosmetic country oregon integer editing to look Black, it goes a measurement further than taste appropriation. It's Blackfishing.

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