Last week, Black British Twitter was trending, with UK influencers such as Chunkz, Tion Wayne, Nella Rose, Oloni, IvorianDoll, Yung Filly, MR200M, Paigey Cakey and many more being involved in a scandal, in which their old tweets on colourism and misogynoir resurfaced.
Colourism is prejudice against people who have a dark skin tone or the preferential treatment of those who are of the same race but lighter-skinned. Misogynoir is misogyny directed towards black women, where race and gender both play roles in bias.
It all started with an unknown person on twitter screenshotting these offensive tweets and reposting them. These tweets ranged from “I hate Denise, with her default black lips” to “you look like walking darkness” to “white girls with black attitudes looooong” and many more. Black UK Twitter was not impressed with these tweets and many of these influencers were slandered and received backlash.
Some of these influencers such as Yung Filly, a youtuber, have previously taken accountability and apologized for these tweets; tweets which have resurfaced before. There is a saying that Black Twitter never forgets, which means past tweets that may have been previously deleted are never truly gone if the community has seen it. While other influencers like Nella Rose, a youtuber, have not had their offensive tweets resurfaced before so they have issued their apologies and have taken accountability.
2010-2016 was a period where offensive tweets on misogynoir and colourism filled the twitter timeline. During that time, many people, even black men, compared black women to animals and made rape ‘jokes’ about black women. To see such tweets resurface, I was completely mortified and disheartened, as they were directed at people like myself and this was, and is, internalized by black women.
For most people, myself included, the real surprise came from seeing Nella Rose and Oloni being a part of the influencers that made such comments, because these two black women inspire, recognize and uplift black women in their content. The situation for these two black women specifically is different to the other influencers mentioned, since their content opposes their old tweets that were made years ago. This highlights that whilst they should be held accountable for their remarks, they have learnt from the mistakes they made in their offensive tweets.
These women did not have actresses like Lupita Nyong’o, songs like Brown Skin Girl, shows like Black-ish, movies like Queen and Slim, writers like Yomi Adegoke and Reni Eddo-Lodge to help boost their self-esteem and confidence as black women. So, we should also bear this in mind, since it does have an influence on their actions and the reasoning behind their actions.
For the other influencers, I have not personally seen the support or encouragement of black women from them. So, it makes me question if their apologies were genuine or only made because they were caught. They have reinforced what Lupita Nyong’o calls ‘the daughter of racism’ and have hurt plenty of women by their comments. I do also believe that other influencers did not receive the same energy (uproar) that was given to Nella, even when she has proven herself through her Youtube channel over the past years, her sincere apology and the fact that those comments came from a place of internalized hate. She lost around 70,000 followers in a matter of days due to ‘cancel culture’ (withdrawing support for a public figure after they’ve done something objectionable) - which did not happen to other influencers.
Cancel culture is a different topic altogether and needs a separate article. However, I strongly believe that it doesn’t work and in the black community, we cannot afford to cancel one another because there is a minority of us on the big stage compared to our white counterparts. Now, this does not mean that anyone in the community has the right to solicit hate speech, but people who post such speech should be given the chance to learn from their mistakes instead of simply being dismissed altogether. We have ALL internalized colourism as a community and we can only help one another overcome this extension of white supremacy.
AUTHOR: Olamide Taiwo
My name is Olamide Taiwo and I’m 18. I have always loved to write whether it be poetry, reviews, essays etc. Becoming a blogger allows me to write and publish issues that I see and go through. So I hope the readers hold on because this will be a pleasant but bumpy ride😊.