Blackfishing has apparently become an internet phenomena and the entire concept is leaving a lot of people in confusion, namely Black people.
Blackfishing is a mashup of the words “Black” and “Catfishing.” You know the MTV show Catfish, extended from a movie of the same name where Nev Schulman goes on a journey to meet the woman face-to-face that he’s been talking to online and on the phone. Any time Nev tried to connect with his computer love either in-person or via Facetime or some other technology that could prove a person is who they say they are, there would be some type of excuse. And now, we have catfishing, a word to describe someone who pretends to be someone else online in order to woo them into an emotional connection with no real intentions of ever meeting up face-to-face.
Blackfishing is a little different. Writer, Wanna Thompson first called it out on Twitter, asking people to put these white women who parade as Black women on social media by using darker makeup and various other enhancements, on blast. People began sharing photos of various white women in what seemed to be some new type of blackface, but make it fashion. So apparently, Blackfishing is a thing.
Jesy Nelson pic.twitter.com/eAxj1MeO6B
— Thank You Roman (@IoDaTiger) November 7, 2018
When confronted, most of the white women in question didn’t admit to doing anything wrong. They chalked it up to tanning, being naturally curvy or naturally dark. Reportedly, these white women who Blackfish online are reaping benefits of sponsorships, brand deals, etc. Many of the people who are calling out these women are also highlighting that brands are quicker to work with women like Emma Hallberg, a Swedish Instagram influencer who’s skin appears melanated on her YouTube tutorials.
Hallberg told Teen Vogue, “It makes me sad that I have offended people. My goal and intention is to look like myself and to share my makeup looks and outfits. My intentions have never been to look like a Black woman.”
However, many of us just can’t get over just how dark these white women appear to be.
Is Blackfishing a modern-day blackface? Check out The OverExplainer to see me unpack the weird trend.