princess nokia blackfishing

@princessnokia/Instagram Cecilia Lenzen

Tumblr sleuths say side-by-side photos prove Princess Nokia is blackfishing

The New York rapper identifies as afro-indigenous.

Oct 7, 2020, 2:09 pm*

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Cecilia Lenzen

Princess Nokia is being accused of blackfishing.

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Social media users say the New York rapper, whose given name is Destiny Frasqueri and who previously went by Wavy Spice, changed her appearance over the years to look Black. She is known to be of Puerto Rican descent and has said that her ancestors were Taino, an indigenous people of the Caribbean. 

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Celebrities including Ariana Grande and TikTok star Dixie D'Amelio have previously been accused of blackfishing, which means using makeup and modifying their bodies in other ways to appear Black or ethnically ambiguous.

This week, Twitter users posted old photos of Princess Nokia with light skin and compared them to recent photos that show her with darker skin and makeup that exaggerates her lips and eyes. "Why did we let princess nokia get away with this," one user wrote.

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In a 2017 interview with Teen Vogue, Princess Nokia said she has "always identified as afro-indigenous." The rapper, whose mother died of AIDS when she was 10, was raised until the age of 16 by foster parents, including a foster mom who Princess Nokia said was a "very proud black, afro-indigenous, Puerto Rican woman."

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Princess Nokia told Teen Vogue at the time that in Puerto Rico, "Afro-indigenous identity has been swept under the rug for a long time." She also acknowledged that her "intersections as a privileged, lighter-skinned afro-indigenous woman, differs from other people."

But now Princess Nokia's background is in the spotlight. On Sept. 28, Tumblr user wickedghastly posted allegations that the rapper has blackfished her fans. “Literally if you just look at images of her you can physically see her morphing herself over the years into looking Black," wickedghastly wrote.

The user said Princess Nokia “obviously” uses tanner to make her skin darker, wears "fake Afro wigs," and has lip injections to make herself appear Black. (Princess Nokia's team did not immediately respond to the Daily Dot's request for comment.)

Twitter user @camerouninema tweeted the Tumblr post with the caption, “Oh in other news, Princess N*kia has been blackfishing.” The tweet received over 6,000 likes but was met with mixed reactions. 

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https://twitter.com/Namastaywoke/status/1313861608901402627
https://twitter.com/arxhiiie/status/1313630618442493952
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https://twitter.com/_zolarmoon/status/1313591344615563269

Princess Nokia’s lyrics also highlight her identity as a Black, indigenous woman from Puerto Rico. In her 2017 song Brujas, she raps:

I'm that Black a-Rican bruja straight out from the Yoruba / And my people come from Africa diaspora, Cuba / And you mix that Arawak, that original people / I'm that Black Native American, I vanquish all evil / I'm that Black a-Rican bruja straight out from the Yoruba / And my ancestors Nigerian, my grandmas was brujas.

The song was featured on Princess Nokia's album 1992 Deluxe, which helped propel her into the New York hip-hop scene. But following the accusations of blackfishing, one Twitter user said the verse is a lie.

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*First Published: Oct 7, 2020, 2:08 pm