Rita Ora accused of 'blackfishing' after fans shocked to realise both her parents are white

Rita Ora accused of 'blackfishing' after fans shocked to realise both her parents are white
Getty Images

Rita Ora has been accused of ‘blackfishing’ on social media.

“Blackfishing” is used to describe the process by which (often) white people use makeup, cosmetic procedures and more to paint themselves as racially ambiguous, often as a way to make themselves look more “edgy” or for a perceived level of clout. Other people who have been called out for similar behaviour include Kim Kardashian (and a lot of) the rest of her family, as well as Ariana Grande.

While some elements of “blackfishing” seem to be part of a larger trend towards racial ambiguity as opposed to specifically trying to seem “Black”, the overall issue is that of someone trying to dress up as another ethnicity.

People on Twitter were newly surprised that Ora is not Black or mixed race, but rather of white Albanian heritage.

People pointed out that she’s previously posted images of herself wearing braids as well as an afro, which as a white person inevitably constitutes cultural appropriation.

Others said that they were surprised that she’s not biracial or mixed race.

Some suggested that Ora leaned into her ethnic ambiguity on purpose.

However, other people pointed out that Ora herself has never claimed she is Black, and that they were surprised other people felt that way.

This isn’t the first time that a reaction on social media has occured. For months at least, people have been posting on social media about their surprise that Ora isn’t mixed race – such as this Reddit thread from February.

It’s worth pointing out that Ora has been vocal about her Albanian identity for years, often discussing the fact that her parents had to flee persecution in the Balkans in the 90s, and has previously posted photos of herself and her family on social media.

She’s also been outspoken about the difficulties that come with starting a new life as a refugee in the UK, where her parents moved in the 1990s.

Some people also pointed out that Ora has even gone on talk shows and clarified that she is fully Albanian.

In an article from 2013, in The New York Times, Ora says that she is aware she looks “ethnically ambiguous”, although she doesn’t clarify whether she has emphasised these features at the behest of her label (Roc Nation, owned by Jay-Z) or her own decisions.

But, even if Ora didn’t intend to blackfish, the fact that she’s previously posed fo photos in braids and an afro makes it understandable that some people might assume that she was biracial.

indy100 has reached out to Rita Ora for comment.

The Conversation (0)