Twitter users were shocked to discover that many of the "black" Instagram influencers and YouTubers they followed were white women who had significantly altered their features. When confronted, these women said they "just had a tan." 

I really am not here for these ridiculous excuses. The modification of features is so blatant. Actions do not exist in a vacuum. Your actions and behaviors are contextualized in history and the current social climate. We live in a Western world founded on the oppression of basically everyone besides land-owning white men. 

Maybe these women just like how black women look. Maybe they just covet these features. Maybe they're wholly uninformed about the history of anti-blackness in the world. That's not the point. Intentions don't matter much when the result is the exploitation of another group of people. 

When you hit someone with your car when you're drunk, and you weren't in your right mind, well, you still did it. You're still held accountable; not the alcohol industry or the culture that promotes it, even if they should be too. Just to be clear, these women didn't apologize when confronted. They said "it's just a tan," and kept doing it. 

If you love looking like a black woman, but you don't show black women love, then you're nothing but a colonizer.

It all began when a Twitter user asked to start a thread about white women posing as black women. The thread went viral because there were so many examples. 

This is not a black person. This is not a non-white person. This is a white woman from Sweden. 

Want to know what she actually looks like? 

This is the real Emma Hallberg. Do not come for me with this "she's just tanned" BS. She is working overtime to appear a certain way, and that way is as a person of color. 

First off, she used the outdated and offensive term "colored person." A Twitter user messaged Hallberg to confront her on the issue. She claimed she had a natural tan. So I guess she only posts photos on Instagram of when she has a tan? A tan also changes the aesthetics of her face? Gimme a break. 

photo: Twitter

Meet YouTuber Mika Francis.

Many black women follow her because they, too, think she is black. 

It's just so utterly transparent. 

This is Francis four years ago.


Meet Jaiden Gumbayan. Perhaps one of the most egregious offenders and the only one who has changed ... sort of.

After being called out last year, Gumbayan stopped darkening her skin and wearing black hairstyles. 

She more frequently embraces her natural aesthetic... 

But as recently as a month ago, she posted this image that resparked the controversy. It's hard to believe this woman and the woman above are the same person, right? 

Then there is dirtyyhippie_ ... sigh.

View this post on Instagram

Fave girl ????

A post shared by Hannah Winifred Tittensor ???? (@dirtyyhippie_) on

This is her four years ago. Back then she didn't post many photos. 

A year after that, she looked pretty tan, but nothing to be alarmed about. Some people like a tan. 

View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Hannah Winifred Tittensor ???? (@dirtyyhippie_) on

Other people like to pretend they are black. 

There's absolutely nothing ambiguous about what these people are doing. 

View this post on Instagram

Love of my life ????????

A post shared by Hannah Winifred Tittensor ???? (@dirtyyhippie_) on

There are honestly too many examples of this to include in one article. These people are everywhere. This is a white woman. 

Why is this a problem? Black women have been condemned, excluded, and punished for their features for centuries. The audacity of these women to profit off our struggle. 

Sara Baartman was enslaved and put on display in the 18th century because she had a large bottom. People paid to see her, but she didn't get paid; the white men who "owned" her body did. 

Is this just a tan? Minstrel shows took place well into in the 1950s. White people darkened their skin, made their lips bigger, and wore curlier wigs. What are these women doing? They're enlarging their butts, getting lip injections, darkening their skin, and wearing black hairstyles. No, these women aren't putting on a minstrel show, but they are profiting from blackness that isn't theirs, much like those who participated in minstrel shows. They're putting blackness on like a costume, reaping the benefits, then shedding the skin when it becomes inconvenient. I don't get to do that as a black woman. 

If you want a more in-depth take on why people might pose as black/brown, read my article on Ariana Grande.